Wild dialogue is about creatively entering into relationship with the land. If you have been moved to engage creatively with the natural world, please share...


WILD DOG

Dr Paul Pule - December 21, 2014

 

You dance

not going anywhere in particular

 

The wind instead lifts you

with the caress of a lover

 

Towards the heavens, no?

No. Towards the earthen self

that sanguine rock, the source of all things

 

With each bend of your back 

to the beat of air breathing you ask: Am I? Can I? Will I? Why?

perhaps the question is: why not?

 

In these fields of green, grasses pirouette 

because they can

 

They yield to a rush of water

cheered on by bellowing cows

carrying seed after seed to oceans of others

bleating the tears of land bleeding

 

You stop

there is no stillness here

great wafts carrying sounds, smells, tastes

the coolness touches you as if to say: “Stay … not all is lost” 

 

Burrows betray invisible bundles of fur

hunched over like these hills

announcing that they have never left

 

Butterflies skim your knee looking for you

tempting forth your wings so that you too might fly

insisting that you unfold

 

Bees drink from the blossoms of here and far without judgement

mining sweet gold

that currency of the tongue that defies men’s money by millennia

 

Some trees stand. Perched high, they watch, wait, hold and herald

what was, what is and what could be

 

You listen

between their creaks the silence is deafening

words do no justice here

 

There is instead the endless ebb and flow of shadows

that cast great arms of coolness between the burning sun

clouds gift you with theatre

pleading with you to join. To run across these hills free, unshackled by the bonds of “shoulds”

they promise you flight

 

You fly

down and down into the depths of the ancient valley

caverns mysterious dark, known and not

the answers you seek are there, waiting like meat in marinade

getting richer by the day

 

Take heart

mile upon mile of knowing awaits you

 

All that the dancing wind asks is that you yield

 

And as you do

Wild Dog, tail wagging to the gods

smiles at the meadow’s morsel, giving thanks for belly sated

soul nourished by this land, at this time, begging you to notice.


A Summers Brook - J. F. Sebastian - 8th March 2014

A summers brook…

Gone is the weight of its wintery self

Low on the banks

Thinner at its edges

A pebbled river-bed exposed

Quieter she flows

The gentlest of sounds as water trickles over stone

I sit on this seasonal island as water idles by

I sit and listen

She stirs questions in me

She stirs answers

But mostly as I sit and listen she empties me out

Balancing the unnameable parts that only nature seems to quell

Her quieter, summer self, soothes me

The effortless, effort of taking what comes

The flow and rhythm of water over stone

I am touched deeply by the simplicity of this gift

I am a witness but in my appreciation I become a participant

I offer back and a part of me flows on with her…

My gratitude feels endless for the nature of nature


Wild Dog Creek - Carla Van Laar - 2014

Wild Dog Creek - Carla Van Laar - 2014


A Reflection on Wild Dog Valley - Maya Ward - March 11, 2014

The ground, last night, was lumpy under me. But I moved my mat around, til I found a niche to fit my hip, a depression among the recently mown tussocks, and there I fit.  A small depression that I could use.

The land, last afternoon, we drove through it, along the ridge across the ranges. The lightest of rains softened the scene, the pretty pastoral scene, yet I knew enough to be shocked.

These hills here, divided into 100 acre lots, our ancestors, come over by boat, were given it for free, on one condition. They must clear the forest. All the forest. They had a short time to do it or they would lose their land, their chance for security, safety, a cessation of hunger, the hunger of the boats, the hunger of loss from their own old ancestral land, the lands they came from, where old monied power was implacably wresting place into product. The boat people, with saw and axe and fire, were to free the land from the forest, to make it useful for cattle and for sheep. They were making homes for themselves, in the only way they knew.

They cut and burned every single one of the tallest trees in the world. The only way we know this is that they sought out those trees, they cut them down and measured them and wrote those numbers down, a culture of competition to fell the greatest, the largest living beings on the planet.

This is how it was.

And this is how it still is. It’s no longer raw hunger, it’s now about power, but there is a world view war being fought. I don’t want to believe that Abbott is attempting to recind world heritage status from Tasmanias forests, to send them to the chipper, but yes, this is happening, right now.

There is, for me, a small depression that I can use. Perhaps it will help me to fit myself here, to be comfortable enough to be of use, to address the shame of not belonging. The shame can make in me a silence, unless I listen to the discomfort.  

I look to what is around me. I write what I see. Everything is a gateway, the whole earth is here to help.

A wombat shat on the boat paddle and the brick up at the dam. Wombats, doing what they do, make use of the high places. They make their mark, they tell the story of their passing by, information for those who walk  this way. Information for those who come after. If one is willing to learn from wombats, there may be rewards.

I’m not from round here. But some beings I know, and this is something worth knowing. I call out their names; blackwood and silver wattle, manna gum, tea tree and paperbark, and I listen for their greeting in return. Alongside them I call out the names of the pricky invaders, scotch thistle, blackberry. They’ve made their home here, the prickly invaders.

They made their home here, on cleared land, this beautiful bosomy land, high grasses thick on the hills, the shadows of clouds falling down, falling down their open faces, the patterns of wind waving the grasses, the faint contour line cow trails that wind around the peaks, shaping them into something like long-abandoned ziggurats, those ziggurats lost in the forests that regrew after their civilisations collapsed, collapsed utterly. They ate out their lands and lost what they loved; this happens, over and over, it’s no new matter.

Along the ridge across the range, this is the way we came to Wild Dog. The ridge ways were the old ways, the ancient tracks that passed between coast and plain. This land may be Gunnai land or Barrabanong land, or a shared zone between. They lived here 40,000 years or more, they lived here with the giant trees. I don’t know their stories. Coming here, I want to know.  But I am a prickly invader, cranky with the subtle closures of shame. In lieu of knowledge, I work with the song of myself, I try to listen for the short time I am here. The bird song where I sit by the dam is scant. There is the slow caw of crow. And the wattles are hiding wrens who call in their r2d2 chirps. But the king bird of this forest in ages past, I doubt he is sheltered in this narrow band of revegetation growing so luxuriantly here in this haven. That bird, the bird who twines the calls of all the birds into one long song, he sang the whole song of the forest, the lyrebird, he is gone. For now.

All of us want to be of use. So here am I striving to sing a vanished song, to call the old ones in, a song of returning, a plea for belonging.

And we can work, and we can plant, and we can sing him back.