Category Archives: PERSONAL

intimate reflections or events in my life

EPIPHANY

 

Day merging softly into the cool winter’s night. Soft blue shadows deepening to black with the early evening light. A perfect sunny day proceeding into a perfect nocturnal mirror, stars shining brighter by the minute as the last light fades behind me to the west.

Gently tired after a long day of work around my land, showered and clean, the vista from my verandah overwhelmed me. Forest, and the dipping and rising of the eastern horizon, while the escarpment of the caldera to the north loomed over the ancient rainforest now inky black in shadow. Not an artificial light to be seen, as it’s always been from here; as it will always be, hopefully. Not a mechanical noise to be heard; only the stillness of nature, now silent in one of those rare times when all the teeming life of that rich landscape seems to take a breath, as one.

I couldn’t help myself, from breaking the silence. Spontaneously a loud, pure cooooeeeee, broke loose from my being, the perfection of the moment expressing itself in sound. Out it flew, across the valleys before me, over the cauliflower form of the trees, the great forest.

And back it came. Four or five times my cooo-eee returned to me from across the valleys and hills, from here and from there, nearer and further away, softer with distance until it was no more than a whisper of coo-ee.

Oooh, sweet ecstasy. A life-changing ecstasy; I knew that I was actually part of the whole exquisite thing; life, nature. Not separate, not an observer mentally looking and understanding, judging or feeling it as an outsider, apart from everything else. No effort, no thoughts; just recognition, knowing, for the first time.

Tomorrow as I worked or walked in the forest, a great branch – a ‘widow-maker’ as they’re prosaicly called – may fall on me. Dead, instantly, and in the heat and fecundity of the rainforest, if nobody found me, it would not be so long before I’d be reduced to a skeleton, consumed by the forest itself, by bacteria and moulds and worms and enzymes. Composted, to feed the forest, to be a part of it, albeit in a transformed state.

I could also hire a huge bulldozer, a squadron of men armed with large chainsaws, and in a short time, the great forest would disappear, be consumed by Man’s desire and power to do what he wished, regardless of all else except himself. Me.

Or I could work and play, create and transform, with an awareness and intention to heal and nurture that land, to work and be a regenerative element in the whole remarkable play of plant and animal, bacteria and funghi and enzymes; all the seen and invisible elements that make the miracle happen.

Ah, an epiphany, the moment that sealed my path ahead, in the moment that an echo returned. We all seem to live mostly in shadow, unconscious for much of the time, automatically living out lives with little reflection. That cool evening on the verandah of my little hand-hewn house in the forest, changed everything, still haunts me beautifully, wisely reminding me back on my true way.

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EVERYONE WAVES AT THE TRAIN

No matter what country it is, regardless of faith or faction, age or education, politics or persuasion, you’ll always find people waving at trains. Passenger trains especially, but goods trains also have drivers to return the gesture, and even if his existence is masked behind reflector-glass windows, the waver knows that he is a presence, guiding his irresistible charge towards it’s destination.

How many of you have never waved at a train ? Be honest now. The response of silence is quite deafening, like the roar the beast makes as it clatters through a cutting, as it rattles over a bridge. As a kid, I was blessed with the good fortune to live near a railway line in a small Tasmanian country town. That boon all the greater for the location of our house being just half a kilometre from the rail-bridge across the river, where the trains rattled over.

From the glass-fronted living-room, I could watch the great metal serpent speeding on it’s way to destinations further afield which at first I could only imagine as an exotic ‘somewhere else’! Continue reading EVERYONE WAVES AT THE TRAIN

TIGER!!

Many times while bush-walking, or roaming my land, I’ve felt an uncanny tingle – my snake alarm – which has sharpened my attention to reptillian danger. An extraordinary number of times, this sixth sense has been confirmed an instant later with an encounter of a reptile. Never threateningly, but at close quarters. So I tramped the bush with a certain confidence that, on the rare occasions when a snake would not slither away at my approach, then my chances of falling prey to it’s fangs were very slim indeed.

Mind you, I don’t like the creatures, and despite faith in my intuition, I still react whenever one crosses my path; first with heart-thumping fear and then, when recognition tells me that it is harmless or definitely retreating, with a healthy respect.

After twelve thousand units of tiger snake anti-venene, and countless earnest expressions of ‘You’re lucky to be alive’, my confidence in having a built-in fool-proof snake detection mechanism has deserted me, and that respect has grown many times over. Continue reading TIGER!!

A TURNING

A TURNING

 It’s early evening after another perfect winter north-coast day. Cloudless, with not a breath of wind, the temperature sub-tropical cool. Not cold, and in the clear fresh air, the stars are emerging sharp and bright as the last reflected rays of light of the day softens and fades from rich lapis blue towards inky blue-black night.

 I am standing there on the broad open verandah of the beloved crude little wood and mud house I have crafted , with laughter and passion and so much hard work with hands and muscle. Together that house and I have grown, and I have learnt so much, practical and personal.

Continue reading A TURNING

BORN AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN

BORN AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN

After almost two years work in a very different field, we are finally back on the Permaculture track, and more enthusiastic than ever. But why the pause in the first place?

I’d been living as most of us do; as if I was immortal. Like all of us, I was not. Far from it. Two years ago I discovered that I had significant liver cancer. It was made clear to me that without rapid surgical intervention, my chances of survival for more than months was very remote.

Continue reading BORN AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN