An old pair of boots, cracked toes, bending upwards, “this must be an old workers camp,” says steve. “You can tell by all the tinnies and broken glass…”
We’re a night down the Nullabor road, and 5 nights past Melbourne; – The Nullarbor – terra nullius – I feel our colonial predecessors didn’t look very hard out here – a tropical island bliss- crystal (as they say) clear, blue, aqua waters, down a sandy track, sand, burning the soles off our feet – no one else around – a few boat trailers and some boats themselves ; – heaven in the heat of the day – the sun penetrating the ozone burnt through icing top layer –
Steve looks for shells, and rocks of peculiar, unique kinds – Mia and me grace the water with our skin – the water gracing our skin with itself… so– we fall into this ocean expanse thinking all the way to whatever country is connected by water connected down under there- the deep sea down there somehow…
It’s this trip of returning to the homelands that I haven’t written yet. 8.5 months down the sandy, dirty, muddy, asphalt, bitumen, concrete track – I got so much heart to talk of these minutes amongst the salty earth – I haven’t put pen to gritty paper or smudgy red-dirt-coated fingertips to keyboard very much – dissatisfied by the thoughts and mediocrity – the compliance of comfort for the questions of history – erase that, babe – I don’t think we need to know about that right now – you know good things happen in this life time too. I got some inkling you know that, sugar.
We fell asleep in a dry creek-bed, and we woke up in a river. we really should have guessed that the water from the hills and all that rain we’ve been having would flow down here into this river that looked like it had been flooding not long ago. We laze around a fire, sipping beers talking about painful ignorance and beautiful resilience- it starts to spit and we get under the tarp. awake to a shivering tully and an escaping mia; lifting the tarp over our heads we realise our feet are being hugged by a flowing river – steve steps out of his already sunken swag – by the reflecting glow of lights, moon under on clouds and back down here again – slosh slosh – “right you mob, lets move, she’s flowin” steve yells – we drag our things out – but too wet to attempt sleep again – bogged. sitting upright we try for sleep. early in the am we manage to retreat to the cafe in town. pies and coffee. a stranger offers an old section of the Ghan railway carriage for the next night – we’re thankful. dry our things out – rest. wander, dream. – the river is three times as wide now – i wonder if we kept sleeping. Would we be floating spinning to lake torrens?
These rememberings of heated-nostalgia over on the other side of the world – where I remembered the clichéd thoughts of pouring a jug of cold beer on a hot-day in summer Australia that I was missing when shit hit the fan/bottom of the lake over there in the continent some say is too hard to fathom, too complex to digest, too dark to know where to begin – there and then I think of home – motherland smells and comfort and all that we want sometimes far away –now I feel with my feet on the ground I just am beginning to understand my toe-tips here – and what they sing for sometimes…
So did the road heal the needs? The road west, south, north, desert –arid Australia, bushland, coastal, forest, dry cracking twigs? The needs to feel like I am part of a place, people, time, something to come back and kiss hug and sleep with?
Something that manifests a deep bag of clay ready for mixing in my guts liver kidneys left hand right brain there? Yeah. It did.
So, did the road heal the heart? – the heart of feeling like complacency – oh yeah there’s that word – I got it down down – – so the complacent heart the beaten heart listening to your woes and my woes way too much to process them with the open-heart that I was aiming for? – gotta go back now and re-listen –relearn what was said – how does one even take in half of what is said with a grain of salt – coz that food was so tasty anyway and shit… I could eat rice and beans every day.
I think I want to talk about this pumping blood that I think about a bit – this ticktiocking that I use over and over again to signify time, not sure if you got that bit by the way heartstopper.
Stay up with the moon all night. Talk life story with you – couldn’t let you breath alone there, fell into it with a whole lot of love of trust and unknowingly open heart.
The moon, ‘I’m watching you,’ it says, ‘I’m illuminating you, loookin at me, curled up n there, taking your heart for a ride – letting it fall with waves and tides, sand and mud and air.. and..
130710 – Inla, Yellabinna, SA
awaken out here – this mallee scrubland hundreds of kilometres spread across the land – sacred women’s places, repairing, birth, healing, got this heart all wrapped up amongst the night, howling winds, pushing each tree left, right, their crooked perfect shapes.
What people come back to… I named you here, she said, – your name, this road, leads to the fire. Leads to the big rockhole, they said I couldn’t give birth- but look, here you are, attached to my back, I can’t imagine this life without you –
I was talking about the wind, you know about it, I know the city got some wind sometimes, banging doors, breaking trees… People though, they think its not so normal that natural stuff sometimes, perhaps, – “close them windows! – they might yell. Got no windows here, babe, just the passing of the winter clouds towards the south, the wind, west wind, northeast maybe, – it’s sure windy out here, wintry too. Dingo tracks on the path this morning, running with the father of the boy, with the middle name that leads to the fire and the big rockhole…
“I’ll spear ya,” says Ash, “you better watch yourself.”
Aunty’s telling us that maybe one of the granddaughters has gone deaf, – only fifteen, all of the children had hearing problems, but she really got it…”
Stories of the old times, they speaking out here, old times, I wonder what was before that sometimes, have I let all the old ladies slip away and where do I get their stories from now?
So stories of the old times, growing up around here, born on a mission, – born on a farm – those two –
Not much discrimination back then, they say, he said, whitefella said – what changed? –people mixing up, borders, definitions, land rights, native title, alcohol, drugs, all this, they warned me not to go with sue, but I really liked her; didn’t listen – my old aunty said not to worry about what people say and think and just go for what you feel. So I did. 40 years we’ve been together now. All around these parts – been taking our kids here – hunting and camping since they were born.
We’re all in bed, swags, bed, been working, shoveling dirt and dirt, and mud from that rockhole, connecting the ones that have been covered for ages – wayne has never seen it like this, uncovered, it’s gonna look real beautiful, they say,
Waking occasionally with every shower, little rain – the tarp is close by –
Ashleigh looking out for us..
“where you sleepin?”
“we crashin.. in the car..”
“all you boys?”
I feel the rain in the air.. wintry, I said, I know, clouds been passing across like a time lapse – been across the world and back here to cover our night sky – watchin the clouds these past few days – know they up there more and more when I care to look up in the city.. but out here, out in the scrub. Yeah. You gotta know, hey.
I been thinking about ya, you know. dazed and staring into the flames, young ones, laughing and chatting around me- I’m just there, thinking about something you said or something you did – or just, yeah. You know.; -wisped out of something, outta that way of accepting something that aint pumping my heart so wild like you got going on… out of plodding about routineless routine always hoping something will change – not knowing how to kick it into action, gear, 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th – I think I got 6th now.
Makin me feelin a bit more of worth, whatever that means.? I’ve been listening to a lot of stories these past few years. i feel like I’ve been asked to tell mine, but I’m still struggling to find the words to fill the air.
Maybe I just don’t have much to tell – I know I’ve seen and done ‘things’ – but how present was I? and how much did I embed? Take board? Think I’m seeing things skewed a little bit, thought it would be clearer, gotta a lot of salt crystals to grind still perhaps.
But…I reckon I’ll piece this story together for you one day… I think it’s gonna rain again… T-star is already breathing heavily, – I was out – but hear kids, a lot, it still feels early.
I’m a bit over whitefellas damaging things, fucking things up – thought I would’ve known that a while ago – and I did.. .just they don’t seem to let up. But that’s why they so successful and so sad in their own hearts… I think so.
Over the legacy; theirs
But aunty sue, says again and again – ‘whitefellas been helpin’ a lot over the past 5 years. – well what else – how else could we live our life here? in total ignorance and apathy? Oh yeah, I forgot about that way of life. Shit I can be naïve sometimes…
– our mothers and fathers brought us here somehow, – through what ever songlines we had – they been making their way through the soil the scrub and the same spot – I think we know that somehow…
The old people may be getting tired of talkin’ – but feels like the young ones here want to carry the stories on their shoulders…
Eagles been watching the rockholes – don’t get out of the car– the ladies haven’t cleared it yet…The eagle; she launches from her tree – leading us away from the sacred place-
Beating. Beating beating heart.
Bm bm, bm bom, booom, boom bom bom. Bom.