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...
Dr Paul Pule - December 21, 2014
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
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
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
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
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
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.