First you notice the quickening, reminding me of those early movements of a baby in-utero when you are not sure if you have butterflies in your stomach and then are convinced you do have something growing inside of you, that is not you and of you. I consider this one of the superpowers of women who have borne children to know, really know, you are part of some great cosmic, biological story where you have a part to play, and are not a full creator of anything. Everything, everything is co-created. From across the generations, deep time DNA is inside of you and in the landscape right in from of you, all around you. In the sky. On the earth. In the water. Inside the flames. Every chemical reaction possible visible in our elements, our global commons. Mothers who have carried a child get a sneak preview of this understanding, but it is not exclusively for them, it is totally accessible once you align your breath, gaze to the heavens and in the simple instruction of Br David Steindl-Rast: Look up.
I was fortunate to take a walk one day with Br David in Kangaroo Island we had two companions, his aide and my husband, we wandered together to look for hidden species in the bushes and waters. His thrill at new sounds and David Attenborough appreciation for all of creation was an invitation to see through his eyes my familiar landscape. To come to any situation like a child full of wonder and awe accompanied by the soundtrack of Twinkle, twinkle, little star fills the heart and sets your compass to belonging.
I am embarking on some time with the red earth and the ever-expansive blue sky, heading north into desert onto country where colonisation appears as corrugated iron, broken bodies of derelict vehicles, plastic bottles festering in recycled concrete bins. A migration of seniors in silver bulleted vans equipped with two-way radios exchange tips of the road, weather conditions and the quality of service at various fuel stops. Eaves dropping, ablution block standards seem to be a consistent theme.
The pulse of a generator on a station not meant for human habitation is helping a family eek out a living between a rocket launch site and a uranium mine. That sentence tells its own story of colonisation – bringing animals that belong to another hemisphere and soon as the planet becomes more plant based – belong to another time; a tiny island on the other side of the world launching things into space to weaponize air space, and a hole in the ground that is the source of the world’s largest uranium deposit and fourth largest copper deposit.
There are so many moments to meet, and I opt for telling a story about the stars, dark emu, Jakamurra and the seven sisters as my decolonisation practice for the day. I turn to the map of the nations with hues not lines drawn on them by male explorer on a road named after a Scotsman as if he was the first person to have traversed the land from south to north. Finding ways to appreciate not appropriate is part of this decolonising experience and I am always up for invitations to learn how to do this! I love the invitations from the landscape, and as I travelled on the bottom of an inland sea that has disappeared millions of years ago the reminder of my own disappearance had a strange kind of comfort of the transformation that happens in one lifetime and many moons.