Posted in Climate Change, photography, poetry, The Journey

The silver shining sea

It’s entirely possible that, over the coming centuries, cities will flood, crops will fail and groups of people will suffer but, it is equally possible that other groups people will survive, even thrive. Communities will form where people have figured out that we need to change our relationship to the natural world and to learn to live regeneratively.

There is so much sadness now.
Going out, I encounter chaos.
Frantic people, fearful, spinning out,
rushing in circles.

Standing on a clifftop –
below me, fenced and inaccessible –
cliffs no one ever climbs
and a beach no human ever treads
only the birds,
the fish,
the crabs,
but no humans,
not one
only
the sea rushing to a wild shore.

Is the sea freer here?
Just along the bay
boardwalks and piers,
picnic tables and sandy coves.
Tame places, human places
and the sea benign and calm.

Here, where the sea shines silver
and the wind blows wintery
there is a space
for a moment
to imagine something other
than despair and chaos.

Through it all the wild seas rising,
shining silver in the new dawn.

Photo taken 17/05/2022 – an inaccessible shore on the edge of suburbia

From my eco novel The Journey:

There was a long pause where no one spoke then Tulani’s voice came again, softer this time. ‘Our grief over what was lost will always be with us and the work that confronts us is daunting. The seas around our new home continue to rise. They are polluted with plastic and, as they absorb the excess carbon in the atmosphere, they become acidic. The acid waters dissolve the shells of oysters and other crustaceans. This affects the entire food chain.  Even the mighty whales. The tiny sea snails that form part of their diet are disappearing,’ Tulani shook her head sadly.

‘One thing we have observed is that sea grasses grow well in the carbon rich waters,’ she said in a more hopeful tone. ‘Scientists tell us they absorb a great deal of atmospheric carbon and can help reverse ocean acidification. To bolster this process we are currently planting seagrass beds around the shallow waters of our new island home.  They are wonderful plants and have many attributes.  They can even act as filters that capture fragments of plastic.’ Tulani gazed around a room with a gentle, open smile. ‘I have journeyed here to Jedahra to talk with you about these matters and learn about the healing practices you are doing here.  My hope is that we can come together to heal the Earth.’

A long round of applause followed the old lady’s talk then a young woman seated opposite Terran spoke up.  ‘Ocean acidification and pollution is a big issue for my community too,’ she said. ‘I come from a small village near the mouth of a river on the south coast. The rising seas gnaw at the land and every tide brings in waves of plastic. To try and stabilise the shores we are planting out mangroves and salt marshes. Like seagrass these plants absorb a lot of atmospheric carbon and help protect the coastline from storm surges.  We too are constantly clearing plastic from the beaches. It feels like a never-ending task. Whenever there are floods inland we see large amounts of plastic and refuse being washed down the river and into the sea.  To counter this we have built and installed a large filter on the river. We are planning to install similar filters on other rivers in our region.’

‘That has to be a global action for it to be effective,’ a man seated near Terran said.

‘Yes,’ the young woman replied, ‘but we have to start where we are by doing what we can.’

The Journey is now available as a Kindle ebook and a paperback on Amazon. (see link in my blog sidebar). I am currently preparing a PDF that will be freely available to anyone. I will post a link to it later in the week.

Prompt: https://earthweal.com/2022/05/16/earthweal-weekly-challenge-lessons-from-the-wild/


Posted in Climate Change, Fiction, Planetary renewal, poetry

The Way Forward

Over the past year several Earthweal prompts have led me to think about planetary renewal. Exploring ideas as to just how this could occur I have expressed myself poetically. Many of these poems have been written quickly and have worked as rough drafts where I’ve formulated ideas I later expanded into prose in my eco-novel The Journey (details below). Sometime over the past year I wrote the following poem in response to an Earthweal challenge:-

Feeling the joy,
dancing in the green world.
Labyrinthine ways unfolding,
magical passages of dappled light.
New ways of thinking opening
new neural pathways.
The heart/mind connection
illuminates the way forward 

The ideas behind the poem found later expression in my novel. The passage below occurs towards the end of the book where the main female protagonist, Terran journeys into a forest. The experience of being immersed in the green world has a profound effect on the way she thinks:-

The mists closed in around them and the world contracted to the soft ground beneath their feet and the dense foliage that enclosed the Ways. Delicate ferns clustered in pockets of soil between the exposed tree roots and tiny flowers poked their heads up through the herbage. Terran was beguiled and for long stretches of time she forgot all about destinations and purposes.  Her old ways of interpreting the world dissolved and another kind of consciousness asserted itself. An entirely different way of being emerged where in an intuitive, wild way the uncertainty of her journey morphed into an openness of renewal and rebirth.   

THE JOURNEY IS NOW AVAILABLE AS A PAPERBACK ON AMAZON AND AS A KINDLE EBOOK

linked to – https://earthweal.com/2022/05/13/earthweal-open-link-weekend-118/

Posted in Australia, photography

A walk in the nature reserve

SOME PHOTOS FOR MANJA

An online friend, Manja posted some photos of an Australian native tree growing near her house in Italy. https://manjameximexcessive6.wordpress.com/2022/05/09/bottlebrush-progression/ The post caught me by surprise for I see one of these trees every day. It grows right outside my kitchen window. The flowers are finishing right now but the photo below was taken one morning during summer.

Rainbow lorikeet in the bottlebrush

There are many varieties of bottlebrush across Australia but this particular variety is indigenous to the area I live in. Peering through the thicket of trees on my fence line I can just make out one bottlebrush flower still blooming on a tree in the neighbour’s yard.

After a blogging chat with Manja I decided to go to the local nature reserve and see if I could find any bottlebrush still flowering in the bush. It was a misty, late autumn day here today and the bush in the reserve was in a secretive mood. I couldn’t find any bottlebrush flowers hiding in the shadows but my half hour walk did present me with some other bush beauties.

Posted in Australia, photography, poetry

Frog songs

I’m busy this week so my poem in response to this week’s Earthweal challenge – ‘witness to a magnitude’ – is, perversely perhaps, a simple one –
https://earthweal.com/2022/05/09/earthweal-weekly-challenge-witness-to-a-magnitude/

Reflections in the wetlands

A sense of dread
watching the News
then overwhelm –
the end of days is upon us

here, there and everywhere
chaos, mayhem, even madness.
I look closer to home –
people falling apart and

others struggling on,
coping as best they can,
holding up the frail,
guiding those slipping behind.

Alone in my little house
I do a Marie Kondo.
Discarding old outworn things
I open a space for the new.

Going for a walk
I find a moment’s solace,
the breeze in the treetops,
the birds singing and the frogs

bopping in the mud
in unison, a kind of frog song
plays at the wetlands –
pobblebonk, pobblebonk.

With a frog as a totem
cleansing, clearing the mind,
freeing the heart of darkness,
the dance of life goes on.

Youtube video of the Banjo Frogs calling (pobblebonk frogs) by Wild Ambiance – the main bird calls you can hear in the video are the Australian magpie

Youtube video by Wild Ambiance

Where I often sit at the wetlands


Posted in Australia, Climate Change, Haiku, poetry

Spirits of this place

Hiding away from the spirit of progress,
fleeing the bulldozers ripping away the holiday spirit
(old weatherboard houses nestled in the scrub
lazy summer days walking barefoot in the sand)
the ancient spirits hover in remnant bushland,
fenced off, enclosed and hard to access,
(sweet and feminine beside the blue bays,
fae pranksters in the Moonah trees
wise old grandmothers whirling in the grass trees).

Spewing out of the cities
in a rush and roar of conquest
come urban escapees in SUVs.
Cranes line the cliff tops
postmodern pastiches proliferate,
simulacra of the McMansions
the urban escapees spewed out of.

Retreat with us, the old spirits whisper.
Come away with us now
deep into this ancient land.
Feel the strength of it
in distances stretching
on and on into something other.

My heart longs to ride out on the wind
but no, today is not the day
when I take to the roads again.
One day I will let the spirits
carry me out into the soul lands
but now, contained and restricted,
I tramp down a muddy track
to sit where the grass trees grow.

A moment’s reprieve
until,
just as I hear the spirits whispering,
a jogger in lycra pounds by then
an avid birdwatcher dripping cameras
appears. My connection shatters.

Back home in my garden hideaway
the old ash tree loses its autumn leaves.
A species from another land
finding a place here in Oz
bringing in archetypal energies
– the ash tree as the Tree of Life.

The traffic on the highway roars,
the construction next door deafens yet
every night now when they sleep, I hear
the Southern Ocean snarling at the shore.
Behind the postmodern pastiches,
the simulacra of the progress spirit,
another spirit gathers force.
Inexorable and undeniable,
the world shifts on its axis.
The spirit of climate change
gathers momentum.

Moonah trees behind a fence blocking an old track to the shore

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2022/05/02/earthweal-weekly-challenge-spirits-of-place-2/
For this week’s challenge, write about the spirit(s) of place where you live and have your being in. What is the biological description of your home? How does living in a biogregion change the contours and boundaries of your day? In what places is the spirit of place most resonant for you, and where it is most faint? What is the deep voice of assurance it offers? Can it be channeled in an earth poem? And how do we carry the spirit of place forward into a drastically changing Earth?”

Posted in Australia, Fiction, peace, poetry, The Journey

Common ground

I’ve heard it said
the war in the world
mirrors the war in the self
or is it the other way round?

The warring factions of self
waking me at 3am.
Why did I make that choice thirty years ago?
It was totally the wrong thing to do
and I compiled the problem by doing it
again and again and again.

Then again, the war inside the self plays out
every day in my current reality.
If this happened I could do that
but I can’t do that because I can’t
make this happen. I’m stuck
here in this reality arguing with myself.

Seeking solace I go for a walk in the park.
The commons you might call it
but it’s been a long time since
the aboriginal people called it
the corroboree ground, the common land
where the tribes gathered for ceremony.

It’s peaceful enough if I ignore the traffic.
If I take the public paths it’s pleasant.
If I venture closer to the lake shores
I run the risk of coming across dead carp
– an introduced fish the fisherman discard,
or even the decaying carcass of a rabbit
decomposing after the last year’s 1080 poisoning
by the council. Rabbits are a pest in Australia.

Then of course, no matter which way I walk,
there is the Macca’s refuse, the bottle tops,
the odd soft drink can and the chocolate bar wrappers.

Ignoring all these signs of desecration
I attempt to lighten my mood.
focusing on beauty I develop a blinkered vision.
Some birds sing while the egrets croak.
The breeze is gentle in the tree tops.
Soft white clouds scatter across the sky.
Maybe finding the common ground,
the place where all people are part of nature,
could take us all to a more a peaceful place.

A corroboree ground near where I live:- A local cemetery and lakes around it were once the corroboree ground of the Wauthaurong people, the traditional owners of this land.

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2022/04/25/earthweal-weekly-challenge-the-commons/
For this challenge, write about THE COMMONS. How would you describe that half-wild, half-human habitat of sharing and sustenance in your locale?

from my novel The Journey:-

Raven looked out at the wasteland beyond the waterhole. The country had an uncanny feel to it as if it was haunted by times far older than the world of Terran’s photos. The lay of the land suggested to him that it had once been a meeting place for the tribes of long ago. People would have gathered here for ceremony and song. Fish would have been plentiful and the foraging would have been good. He imagined children swimming in the shallow waters as their parents caught up with the news; who’d had a baby, which old people had passed on during the cold winter months and the stuff of daily life. The images flowed into his mind like an internal slide show. It was as if the long continuity of such meetings had imprinted themselves onto the earth itself. The parties and picnics of the folks in the huge vehicles were an empty echo of those earlier, more sacred, times.

Posted in Climate Change, Fiction, Planetary renewal, poetry, The Journey

In the Interstices

This week on Earthweal Sherry prompts us to: write from that place of holding onto wildness of soul, to balance the wild love and wild grief we swing between on any given day, at this time of utter unpredictability, when Mother Earth herself is providing us with comfort in our grief, even while she herself is bleeding.https://earthweal.com/2022/04/18/earthweal-weekly-challenge-everwild/

Here by the ocean
the waves roar as they break
in the dark of the night
– an ancient timeless sound.

The future uncertain,
unknowable.
Dystopian/utopian?
We can only guess.

Here in the night
between one breath and the next
there is a space
where the sea howls
between yesterday and tomorrow.

Here in the interstices
the future unfolds.
All we can do is play our own part.
All we can control is how we act
yet in that, there is power.

From my novel The Journey:

“…he sank deep into the moment. Merged with it. His feet rested firmly on the ground as if about to grow roots. Without any conscious effort his awareness drifted down and down until he felt he had somehow slipped into the earth itself. In a process of alchemical transference, the aching in his mind and body flowed into that rich darkness. In its place there came a deep and profound despair. The suffering of the earth came into his mind along with a knowing that something had been lost from the world. The weft and weave of the web of life had been damaged. His own feeling of woundedness was no more than an echo of the deep sorrow of the raven’s lamenting cry and the keening of the wind as it roared across the polluted, damaged world. 

Wreathed in sadness he sat on until, subtly and imperceptibly, he felt tingling energy come into his feet from the earth and flow up into his legs and up into his belly. From there it spread out through his entire body. Vibrating with energy he looked out into the beauty of the world around him.  He saw the way the sunlight touched the flowers and set them glowing. He saw the fluttering of a butterfly as it came to rest on a stalk of grass. Beside his feet he saw a tiny lizard scurrying along, the intricate markings on its back glistening silver and black against the red and brown patterns of fallen leaves. It came to him that although the world was damaged all hope was not lost. There was still room for action. Life still vibrated with intensity.”

Set in the future, The Journey tells the story of two young people who leave the institute, an isolated prepper community, on a scientific expedition. Terran, a member of the ruling elite, is seeking a solution to the food shortages that are affecting the community.  Raven comes from an oppressed minority.  All he wants is to get away.

An unlikely friendship develops between the two as they travel across a landscape devastated by climate change.  When the expedition is intercepted by wild riders they both jump at the chance to escape institute control.

The riders take them to Jedahra, a thriving holistic community. There they encounter a way of life that forces them to question their own values. Along the way, they discover that changing the way they relate to nature is a key to personal and planetary healing.

The Journey is now available on Kindle.

Posted in art, Haiku, peace, photography

Travel Memories

I’m going slightly mad trying to upload my novel ‘The Journey’ to Kindle. Cover design is just one of the many issues that has me totally confounded at present. Searching through my image files I found a series of images I made about my experiences in Jordan some years ago. I may have posted some of them before but haven’t bought them all together in one blog post before.

text reads:
Entering Petra
down the canyon of the Sik
– wormhole to the past
text reads:
At an old crusader fort
psychic impressions of blood on the walls
contrasting with the generosity
and warm heartedness of the Jordanians
text reads:
At Mt Nebo
an eagle flew overhead
rays of light poured onto the Dead Sea
and a rainbow hovered over the desert
where the Isrealites had wandered.

Wishing you all a peaceful Easter break.

If I don’t go completely nuts in the process I’ll have a Kindle book to share with you all sometime soon.

Posted in Climate Change, poetry

In the forest of the Mind

I spent the afternoon reading
as autumn leaves cascaded
and, here where I sat,
a pleasant ambiance.

I read of the Ford Foundation, the Club of Rome, the World Bank and other such
luminaries taking control of the discourse on climate change way back in the 1970s
and how their policies stifled the rhetoric of my youth and the anti capitalist revolution.

No, no, the luminaries (illuminati?) said with honeyed voices,
overthrowing the status quo just won’t do,
we’ll change the system from within
impose clean air and water rules
and generally tidy things up
as we make a profit.
In just a few decades
our influence will reach the UN
and we’ll get behind climate summits
that promise so much and deliver very little
while our capitalist greenwashing keeps the profits rolling in.

I remember my brother in 1970 ranting, reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring
and me, a young revolutionary marching for peace while my friends talked Marxism.

Decades later, old and grey
living on the fringes of the capitalist machine,
scratching our heads,
wondering where the revolution went.
Now finally I know
It was consumed by capitalists.

This week on Earthweal Brendan asks us to ‘ write about what we care for and resemble, remembering that everything in the forest is the forest.

My reading this afternoon leads me to ask – Is everything within capitalism, capitalist? Are we all nothing more than pawns in the system being manipulated by the elite.

Contained within mapped territory
a lifetime becomes a journey
Point A, Point B, C and D.

Stepping outside the map
going off on a tangent
finding a new space
entwined in nature
distances become openings.

Out beyond the horizon
all things are possible
when the mind breaks free.

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2022/03/28/earthweal-weekly-challenge-everything-in-the-forest-is-the-forest/

reference: http://unevenearth.org/2016/01/to-change-the-heart-and-soul/