Tag Archives: life

Its time

Just a poem about nature.

We battle our way on these tracks we call roads, following all the other sheep going who know where to do who knows what, until we use the same tracks to take us back to get fed and rested before we all do it again. We live in concrete towers, in boxes within them, we work to earn money for the right to live there and eat processed so call food with plastic knives and forks, and spoon or shovel dessert into the gaping hole in the front of our heads. We wear coverings called clothes and shoes from people who are clever enough to get us to part with our earnings for pieces of material held together by the flimsiest of threads.

Those pesky Ibises have come around again, making a mess of our manicured lawns and concrete parks. The try to deprocess the food so they can digest what goodness if any that has been left behind. Get out! We shout. Go back to where you came from. But, they say, this is where we came from before you knocked down out trees, filled in our lakes and built airports so you can fly free like we once did.

We don’t like where this river is going. The river doesn’t like where you are going. Fill it in and it will flood. Then the people complain. Their habitats are wet. Go live on the plain says the river. This mountain is in the way, lets blow it up. But that’s not what God meant when he said to move mountains. You change the water courses, you level the mountains, you build your palaces and expect nature to comply. Its not gonna happen.

Ghost towns pop up where resources have dried. Land is reclaimed and rivers gouge out the paths they were originally intended to take. Bend with the land or it will beat you down. Bend with the land and it will feed you, shelter you and care for you like its own babies. But cross it, continue to cross it and ask for devastation. Man is not going to win this war.

It’s time. Time to reconnect with the land. Time to listen and no longer demand. Time to give back and not just take, until your back aches. It’s time to plant and to grow, then later reap the harvest that was meant for you. It’s time to let the animals run free. To allow them to frolic and just let them be. It’s time to listen to what the land needs. It’s been shouting for years, it pleads, and it bleeds.

Will we shut up and let nature have it’s say? Before it destroys us all and calls it a day. We can blow bits off it and leave it barren and bare. We up and move house to another part where the leaves still grow and the meat is plentiful, before we destroy that too and then we may know.

Oh shit, what have we done.

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The Tree of Man: Patrick White

I have chosen this post as my best creative post in the course Reading Australia. It is a bit of a review on the book Tree of Man, but I think more it is a reflection on my homelife growing up. I used first person narrative, or recollections to write this piece of creative non-fiction,

Baz Luhrmann would have done well to choose this novel to base his movie Australia on, as it truly reflects life in Australia.

This novel follows the life of a man and his wife, Stan and Amy Parker, as they move from pioneers, breaking bush to establish a home, to the modern day, a world of machines and strangers.

There are various events through the book that expose what it must have been like to live in the bush, as a settler and a citizen of Australia. There is so much in this book that reminds me of my own experiences growing up.

You must go through the clearing of the bush to set up home,

When my dad bought the land at Blacktown for 500 pound, it was uncleared, full of ghost gums, tea trees, paperbarks and stubborn pine trees. They built the house with no neighbours around. Some moved in, but there was still space to play, to mow a cricket patch in the back yard, to raise goats and ducks and hens and children. We built a BMX track around the fenceline and later a car track as my brother and I learnt to drive and ride motorcycles.

We learnt to fight fires. We kept a stack of wet hessian bags by the back tap and at the first sign of smoke the alarm would be raised with the shout “FIRE!” Men and boys would come running, and the women huddled together and provided cake and tea for those of us who fought it.

We lived next to a creek, which flooded every year or so. It wasn’t much trouble though, except for old Mrs Ferguson, who still lived in her wooden house in the hollow, with the dirt floors. The only thing you had to make sure of was that you weren’t fishing for carp or eels when the waters were pushed downstream. We would watch out the kitchen window as the waters rose. The chicken coop was up high enough, the ducks and vegetable patch didn’t mind the extra water that splashed over the banks.

We learnt to read the wind, to know if it was going to be a problem with the trees falling on the houses as limbs separated from trunks. We tied the old ironbark back so if it did fall, it would fall to empty land, not in the direction of the house or chook pen. We shut doors and windows and felt the house shake as the sound of the wind roared through the leaves and branches of the trees.

We had loyal dogs. They respected dad and kept quiet around him but when it was just us kids, they became animated and excited to be included in our games or oversee us so we wouldn’t get into too much trouble.

Thankfully we never had to follow our mates as they march into war. We earned our pocket money doing chores and a paper run.

You learn to read the animals, to live with them, to put up with them or have them put up with you. Snakes? Turn around and walk away. They will go away, then you can come get your feed of blackberries. When the frogs breed, you know that there is going to be rain enough to fill that little natural trough and the frogs will grow beyond the stage of tadpole… if little boys let them. Magpies are homebodies, keep away from the trees where they are when they are nesting, better still offer them food and they will leave you alone, and even avoid your car when toileting from above. It’s the cockies you have to watch out for, they are just mad.

The book Tree of Man showed that one must marry, watch the children grow and have families of their own. Children make decisions and have lifestyles that you don’t necessarily agree with, but you have to shut up, and accept them because they are your kids. Parents can be proud about their children’s accomplishments and brag on those, while being humble about their own brave feats.

Patrick White shows us in this book that to be a spiritual being, one must learn how to read the land. In the book; Disputed Territories: Land, Culture and Identity in Settler Societies, By David S. Trigger, Gareth Griffiths , Neville White writes in chapter 7 how he had brought two elders from the Yolngu nation to Melbourne. The men complained that there was too much noise that they couldn’t hear the land. They couldn’t feel the breeze. they wondered where men lived, and how it was possible that some people in this land of plenty were hungry. “Where is his family?” they asked.

Image result for albert tucker paintings

The Horned Intruder- Albert Tucker

The white man, the settlers have intruded on the land, because they do not read it correctly, and try to manipulate it to their own ends. Nature still wins out. Look at Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. Look at the amount of homeless people due to floods in Bangladesh. These natural occurrences happen, and we as ‘man’ have to put up with it, to cope. Because life goes on.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on”. Robert Frost

For those who are not connected to the land, who are not spiritual beings, the day to day running of life can seem like a chore. Life goes on, day after day after day.

 

 

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Life Observations September 8, 2014

On the train I sat across from an elderly Chinese couple. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying but it was obvious from their interactions that they were still very much in love. The gentle touches, the smiles, the laughing at the quick wit each displayed to one another. It made me smile inside.

As I walked up the hill to my home after completing an early shift, I observed a tractor mowing the grass in the reserve. The ground was still moist from recent rain so the tractor left deep divots in its wake, but the smell of freshly cut grass was superb.

On my way back down the hill to the station later ( I had to work another shift), above the noise of the train I was supposed to catch leaving the station, I heard many different types of birds all enjoying the good weather and singing about it. It reminded me it is now spring… mating season.

The bright gold of the Wattle against the deep green of the foliage and the rich red of the flowers on the coral tree           (Erythrina crista-galli), were other reminders of the new season.

I saw a large black long haired Labrador have tremendous faith in the ability of its owner to throw the ball farther than the head-start it received after dropping the ball at her feet.

I saw a very large bra lying abandoned in the middle of the street and trucks running over it. The bra wasn’t there when I went past the same spot 3 hours previously. It made me wonder at the story behind it.

Due to my car being at the mechanics, I am forced to exercise, walking to and fro the train station or bus stop for my journey to work,. Today, a record for me, over 17,000 steps!

The things we miss when we drive to and from work, in traffic. The absence of a personal vehicle is a blessing in disguise.

I wearily drag myself into the shower and appreciate the hot water soaking into my muscles. As I relax on my bed with the doona pulled up high, I know I will enjoy the 5 hours sleep before I have to do it all again. Sweet dreams.

 

(no photos sorry, living life through my eyes at the moment instead of through a lens)

 

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Game rules

Upon reflection, these rules are my rules to the game which we call Life.

1. Have fun

Enjoy whatever it is you are doing. If you don’t, STOP. You have broken the rules and need to start over

2. Be considerate of others

Don’t stop others playing their own game, 

3. Help others play the game

Smile at them, share beauty, invite, pay for those who cant pay for themselves.

 

Thats all.

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Experience Life

At this time of year questions get asked from relatives who haven’t seen you for the year between festive events.

” So, what have you been doing with yourself?”

Doing; does this encompass all that has happened in one year? No. there is much more to life than doing. When asked at a job interview “Tell me about yourself”. It is a natural response to talk about the things we have accomplished by working or in education. Experiences in life are much more important.

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend…”. James Taylor.

I think the essence of mindfulness is experiencing life.

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I remember the first time I ever had Orange soft Drink (pop, soda, fanta, call it what you will). I experienced the love that radiated from my grandfather when he suggested that we walk across to the corner store to get one. When we entered the store and the little bell rang above the door to announce our entry, I was surprised. I had never been inside this shop and it was the first time I had experienced that sound.

My grandfather jiggled the coins in his pocket and bought out a few. We stood before the vending machine and I watched as he dropped the coin into the machine and I heard it clatter down inside the machine. Then a gear clanged, releasing the locking mechanism allowing my grandfather to shift bottles around inside the machine until he had the desired drink in place to lift it out.

From the view of a 4 year old whose eyes just saw above the lip of the refrigerated machine, it was a world of wonder. He lifted the bottle clear and the gears once again clanged to re-lock all other bottles in place. He held the bottle under the opener attached to the vending machine and opened the bottle for me. He reached onto the counter to get me a striped paper straw which he pushed in the neck of the bottle. Then he handed the bottle to me and told me to hold it with both hands as he lifted me into his arms to cross the road yet again.

I remember the smell of the soda, it was sweet and smelt of oranges. I heard the fizz of carbonated bubbles rising to the surface. I sucked on the straw and my small mouth was filled with the wonderful sensation of incredible taste and the bubbles swirling around my mouth, tingling my whole being. Then feeling the coolness as it slipped down my throat as I remembered to swallow.

My eyes crossed as I tried to watch the soda ascend the straw on the second suck on the straw. I saw the look on my mothers face and I saw her smile widen as I continued to consume my fruity delight. I was happy, so she was too.

A drink of soda, is more than just to quench the thirst. I felt love, I heard new sounds, I saw new sights, I enjoyed a new taste.

It is a time I remember in fondness. A time when I really experienced life.

Perhaps we need to approach life with the childlike wonder in all we do.

 

credit for picture… http://bonanzleimages.s3.amazonaws.com/afu/images/2708/8131/bon_003.JPG

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