Posted in Climate Change, Fiction, The Journey

A link to ‘The Journey’ on Amazon US

I’m so sorry that my computer ineptitude has caused problems for people. It’s ironic for one of the subthemes of my novel The Journey is the free sharing of information. Here’s a link to the novel on Amazon US. You click on the words ‘Buy on Amazon’ and hopefully go directly to Amazon site for your country. The ebook costs $1.99. I didn’t know sidebars don’t show up when you visited blogs on your phone. I was doing it that way because I thought it would be more straightforward! Instead it became a major source of consternation. I apologise for the confusion.

Posted in Climate Change, Fiction, The Journey

Another Review!

Kerfe Roig of https://kblog.blog/ sent me a link to a review of my novel The Journey that she posted on Goodreads a while ago. Thank you so much Kerfe. I’m very glad to hear to you enjoyed my novel so much that you wrote this review. To say I appreciate you taking the time to read and review The Journey is an understatement.

Here’s Kerfe’s review:-

Kerfe

Imagine a world that not only survives ecological disaster but learns how to thrive by constructing an entirely new social system, one that does not rely on hierarchy or an elite ruling class with a subservient mass. It does not classify humans as better or worse, or expect more from each one than they are able to give.

It seems too good to be true–yet if we can imagine, as we so often do, what is too horrifying to contemplate, why can we not turn the opposite way and consider the good things that humans might do?

Suzanne Miller doesn’t see this world through rose-colored glasses, but she offers alternatives to our greed-based and destructive economies. In her novel she focuses on a few groups of survivors and describes their different approaches to coping with a world that has been pushed into ecological disaster. Both characters and story are realistic and made me think.

The main characters come from an isolationist, technologically-based, settlement that has a clear hereditary hierarchy with underlings and an increasingly entrenched, inflexible approach to survival. When a group of scientist-explorers goes in search of seeds to replenish their dying food sources, they are overcome by the harsh conditions of the desert they attempt to cross. Two of the members, both outsiders–one an elite, but female, scientist, and one a member of the underclass serving as cook for the expedition–are rescued by a human group on horses who come to warn the explorers of a dangerous storm approaching. The other members of the expedition not only refuse their offers of help, but shoot at the people offering it, driving them away.

The remaining parts of the book deal with how these two outsiders react to encountering a totally different way of life, one that seeks to work with the environment and help it to heal, return to stability, and flourish. There is ambivalence and suspicion present for both, but it’s far easier for Raven, the Mismatch, to abandon a life were he had nothing to lose. For Terran, the daughter of one of her settlement’s founders, it is very difficult to abandon all she has known and been taught about the way to exist and survive in a hostile world–the way of technology first. In the end, though she is aware of the better life she could have inside this alternate way, she feels she must return and try to convince her people of the value of what she has seen.

For all of those remaining after civilization collapses, which includes also a group of Wanderers who reside in what is left of the mountain forests and interact with both the technology and the ecological groups, the way is neither smooth nor easy.

But working together as a community, with continued flexibility that is open to change, is here drawn realistically as a possible path. The author has obviously researched people working on how to achieve this, and includes intriguing ideas for possible action. We don’t even need to wait for the total collapse of all we know to begin to travel in that direction. All we need is to be willing to try.

If you would like to purchase The Journey it is available on Amazon as an ebook for just a couple of dollars (the price varies depending on where you live). The paperback version is a bit more expensive because of the cost of the paper and postage. If you feel motivated to write a review on either Amazon or Goodreads (or both) I would be greatly appreciate it because the reviews help publicize the book and bring it to people’s attention. If you do write a review, please let me know so I can thank you personally. I can always be contacted at
suzanne_593@hotmail.com or via this blog. Thank you for reading.

If you click on BUY below the picture it takes you to book on the Amazon site for your country.

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

Beginnings

In the canyons of the mind
lightning bolts illume consciousness.
In the outer world,
the storms, the fires,
the wars and plagues rage.
Our excesses are exposed.
There’s nowhere left to hide.

The mind reels at the impact.
What’s left now?
The conditioned life is not enough.
Something new is called for.

Deep in the magical imagination
something stirs.
The elves and unicorns come forth.
Remember, they say in dreams,
the world of childhood innocence,
the beauty and the awe
of life in all its glory.

Now is the time to call that forth.
To imagine the world anew.
It begins in words.
The ecologist’s findings,
the intellectual’s musings,
the poems and stories woven in the dawning
then shared at midnight with wide eyed star gazers.

After the seeding comes the crafting.
Ideas shaped in the collective imagination
built, oh so carefully,
and with the purest of intentions,
into the world of form.

From my novel ‘The Journey’ (link in sidebar):-

‘Back in the early days of Jedahra people realised the first priority was to grow food. To do that we had to restore the environment to health,’ Red said.  ‘Since then we have come to understand that if we want to take from the Earth we must also give it.  Feeding the soil through composting, mulching and growing a diverse range of crops is the mainstay of our food production. Soil health has improved and the diverse plantings cut down on plant diseases and insect infestation.’ He gestured to a pumpkin patch where golden flowers nestled amongst large spreading leaves.  It was edged with a rambling bramble bush covered in ripening berries. Above them an old walnut spread its green branches out like protective arms. Here and there little round buildings topped with conical roofs covered in succulents punctuated the greenery. 

‘The buildings look like mushrooms,’ Raven giggled.

‘A lot of people say that,’ Red grinned.  ‘We build them like this to reduce the fire risk.  There were some savage fire storms in the early days of Jedahra.  Since then we’ve been very conscious of fire safety.  The mud walls of the buildings don’t catch fire and the succulents on the roof are fire resistant.’

Towards the end of the novel Terran, the main female character, returns to her home at the institute. There is she confronted by the crippling depression that keeps the inhabitants locked in inertia and fear. Inspired by all she has seen on her travels, she projects the digital images she has made onto a wall screen in her parent’s apartment:-

 With uncanny synchronicity a bright, energetic representation of Jedahra appeared on the screen.  Against a background diagram of a path spiralling through a housing cluster she’d placed sketches of the circular adobe houses alongside photos of people of all ages, races and social groups mingling together in the streets.  Decorative disks depicting the glass mandalas were dotted across it all and the words she had jotted down at the Seed Bank were scrawled across the bottom. ‘Dynamic processes /climate change mitigation/higher yet deeper/seeds regenerating,’  

‘Dynamic processes,’ Ralph boomed. ‘That’s what we need here.’  

The same idea flashed through Terran’s mind but rather than thinking on a societal level she plunged into her own interior realms for, ultimately, the change she was seeking began within the self. She recalled stumbling over tree roots behind Bliss on the Ways through the forest. Clumsy as she had been, she had felt enthusiastic and alive. The night before she’d felt deadened and defeated by the institute. The difference between the two states was palpable. She couldn’t simply stop travelling now and try to slot back into her old life. The walls in her mind had been breached by her travels. Now she wanted to tear them down completely and experience herself and the world in new and unfettered ways.

linked to: https://earthweal.com/2022/08/01/earthweal-weekly-challenge-beginnings/
For this week’s challenge, write of Beginnings — wherever they may be found.

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

More future possibilities

Towards the end of my novel ‘The Journey’ Terran, a young botanist takes a train to Saranath, a university town with an older woman named Amara. During the trip Amara fills Terran on in the recent history of Saranath. Before the university was established the town had been the centre of a coal mining enterprise. The coal had been transported down to Pennington, the old State capital by train.

As the train picked up speed and the hamlet was left behind Amara told Terran the story of the trains of Saranath.  Back in the coal mining days trains had transported the coal down to Pennington.  When people realised how burning coal contributes to climate change the mines were closed but the tracks into the mine tunnels were never taken up.  They were all but forgotten until rising seas began to flood the libraries and art galleries of Pennington. Important cultural art and books were loaded into containers and hauled by train up to Saranath and left in mine tunnels. The original plan had been to leave them until flood proof buildings were erected in Pennington but the effects of climate change were far more devastating than people had expected.  As conditions worsened entire trains were hauled into tunnels that were then sealed.

Terran’s mind reeled.  ‘What happened to all the art and books?’ she asked. ‘There must be some amazing stuff,’ The story sounded implausible but here she was sitting on one of the trains.

‘For a long time everything stayed where it had been stored,’ Amara said.  ‘The chaos at Pennington mirrored what was happening across the globe. Life became a test of survival as we struggled to adapt to the changing climate and the breakdown of the old system. It’s only been in recent decades that we’ve had time to open up the tunnels and explore the treasures we’ve inherited. The dry air in the tunnels protected the trains and their contents. Many of the trains have been put back to use and their contents are being catalogued. What we’re discovering is that we’ve inherited an archive of art and culture that stretches back for millennia. We exhibit some of the art and artifacts at the university but the atmosphere in many of the tunnels is more stable than in our old buildings. We’re in the process of creating libraries and galleries there.  Temporary reading rooms have been set up in some of the containers in the meantime.’

Terran’s mind was abuzz.   ‘Could I go there?’ she asked.

‘Of course. Everyone in the Alliance has free access to knowledge. It’s essential if we are to create a better future.’

Deep in thought, Terran gazed out the window.  The idea of having access to a treasury of cultural artifacts from the past was foreign to her.  Back at the institute, there were a few historical reference books in the electronic databases but most were of a technical nature.  

Once at Saranath Terran explores the library tunnels.

Over the following days she spent her time in the tunnels delving into the vast repository of knowledge and creativity stored within the pages of old books trying to discover why she felt separate from the natural world.  Researching the history of Western thought she came to see that many of the ways of thinking she’d been taught at the institute had developed during the 1800s when reason and rational thinking led to the scientific discoveries that powered the industrial age.  The roots of such thinking lay further back in the development of scientific thought during the Renaissance. The more she read, the more tangled her thinking became. While she could see that analytical scientific thinking reduced the world to a series of separate parts, she could not deny the benefits such investigations had brought to humanity. 

‘You look worried,’ Amara said when they met for dinner that evening.

Terran explained the convoluted thinking that had her tied up in knots. ‘We haven’t ditched scientific rationalism at Saranath,’ Amara said in response. ‘It still forms the basis of much of our understanding of the world but investigations into how plants, insects and animals within environments interact with each other has led us to think in terms of systems.  Rather than seeing the world as a collection of unrelated parts we have come to see that all life is interconnected. The parts can only be understood within the context of the larger whole. Looking at the world in this way we come to see that humans are part of nature and depend on it to live.  We have a responsibility to care for the natural world for, if we don’t, we jeopardise the survival of ourselves and all life on the planet.’

Terran shivered as a sudden draught of cool air crept into the dining room through the cracks and crannies in the old stone building.  The ideas Amara described worked on her mind in much the same way.  They were like a mental blast of cool fresh air that cleared away old, stuck thought patterns and created room for more expansive ways of thinking to develop.

‘It can get cold up here sometimes,’ Amara said, unaware of the effect of her words. ‘These old stone buildings are hard to heat. There’s always the temptation to burn coal and fire up the old central heating system but we know that is the one thing we must never do. As it is, it will take thousands of years for the climate to stabilise and even longer for the seas to stop rising.  Continuing to burn coal will only exacerbate the effects of climate change. If people continue burning fossil fuels and pumping carbon into the atmosphere until there is nothing left to burn, it will take hundreds of thousands of years for the atmosphere to return to pre-industrial revolution levels.’ 

Terran thought of the black coal gleaming in the slag heaps.  ‘So every day you’re confronted with a way to solve your problems in the short term, yet you know taking that option is the one thing you can’t do.’

‘Exactly!’  Amara sat back and looked into the blackness of the night outside the window. ‘We’re at the coal face of climate change,’ she said wryly.  Her voice grew reflective. ‘This is the challenge we all face.  Do we continue the behaviours that led to climate change, or do we strive to find new ways of living on the planet?   Everything we do has to be weighed against the long term consequences of our actions.’

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

Another possible future

In the excerpt of my novel The Journey that I posted yesterday Terran, a young botanist travels through the land laid bare by unchecked climate change. Today’s excerpt is from further along in the story. Terran and her companion Raven have been rescued by a group of riders and taken to Jedahra, a settlement in a protected ravine. There, Terran is taken to a greenhouse by two of her rescuers, Red and Kya. The biodome mentioned in this excerpt is where she worked the institute, an isolated prepper community. At this point in the story Terran no longer has her laptop.

Everything inside the greenhouses was thriving. A memory of the sickly plants she’d seen on her last morning in the biodome flashed across Terran’s mind.  Here row after row of seedlings glowed with glossy vitality.  Despite her anxieties the sight of such healthy growth made her feel more at ease. As she took it all in, Red got to work cranking back the hand operated blinds that screened the roof. Terran watched the process intently. 

‘We cover the glass roof and windows during the night to trap in the hot air,’ he said, seeing her interest. ‘Those black rocks over there absorb the sun’s heat during the day and release it at night when the temperature drops. Because they are porous we douse them with water when it’s very dry.  As the rocks heat up they then release moisture vapour.’ Terran filed the information away in her mind as she took in the piles of volcanic rocks mounded up between the trays of seedlings. Maybe they could do something similar at the biodome. It would be better than struggling to maintain their faulty electrical apparatus.  Ideas for images about the processes began to form in her mind and, yet again, she wished she had her laptop.

‘The blinds are also useful for protecting delicate plants from the intense rays of the sun,’ Kya said as she bent over a row of bushy seedlings. ‘We’ll plant these babies out in the Salt Lands next autumn. They’ve got a lot of work to do and should be strong enough to withstand the conditions out there by then. They’re a very hardy variety of saltbush and provide good ground cover. Getting them established is the first step towards creating healthy soil. They help with erosion problems too.’ She pulled a couple of the weaker seedlings out of the planter trays and disposed of them in a compost bucket. 

‘Of course it’s all trial and error,’ Red said. ‘We never know for sure that our ideas will work.’ He gave one of his good-natured laughs. ‘We just try them anyway. We figure we’ve got nothing to lose.’

‘That sounds like a risky strategy,’ Terran said, falling back on the institute idea that it was better to stick with methods that were somewhat successful rather than attempt a different approach that might end in dismal failure.

‘What’s the alternative?’ Red asked. There was no laugh this time. No attempt to lighten the moment. Just a bleak stare. ‘You’ve been out in the Salt Lands. You’ve seen what it’s like out there. If we don’t try and restore environmental health things will only get worse.’

‘The old practices of clearing land for broadacre crops and irrigating it with water from underground aquifers caused the salt in the soil to rise to the surface out on the plains. A lot of our work involves reducing the salt levels in the soil,’ Kya said, moving on to rows of eucalyptus saplings growing in planter pots. ‘These eucalypts help stabilise the soil because their long taproots take the salt down deep into the soil. We’ll plant this lot out in the Salt Lands when the autumn rains come.’ She stroked the leaves tenderly.  

‘Our ultimate aim is to re-green barren areas so that they become a carbon sink.  The more green cover we can create, the more carbon is drawn out of the atmosphere and fixed into the soil.  Reducing atmospheric carbon is always our first priority,’ Red said.  He’d finished cranking back the blinds and was now pulling tools out of a storage cabinet. ‘There’s more carbon in the atmosphere now than there has ever been. If we don’t try to reduce it, the problems we face will just get worse. We have to do what we can.  Even when we feel hopeless we have to keep trying to make a difference. I guess you could say our approach is risky,’ he added thoughtfully as he piled the tools he’d selected into a handcart.  ‘The risks we take are calculated though. Just what we plant and where we plant it is something we spend a lot of time considering and planning. That’s why Amara is keen to see your research. You travelled through areas we know little about.’

Terran felt like a fool. She’d been judging everyone and everything she came across by the values she’d been taught at the institute. Even though she’d come to question those values they still influenced the way she saw the world. Her own narrow-mindedness had blinded her to the greater purposes that motivated the people of Jedahra. A sudden awareness of how deeply Kya, Red and people across the Alliance cared for the wellbeing of the world around them humbled her. ‘Thank you for helping me,’ she said. ‘You saved my life.’

‘It’s the Jedahran way,’ Kya smiled. 

‘It’s been fun too,’ Red said.  He gave her a fatherly pat on the shoulder and began pulling the cart down the aisle between two rows of seedlings.

Terran could see they were both eager to get to work.  Leaving them to it she left the greenhouse and took the path Kya told her would bring her to the study gardens. 

The Journey is available on Amazon (link in sidebar). 

Posted in Climate Change, Fiction, The Journey

A possible future

Here’s an excerpt from my novel The Journey (available on Amazon – link in sidebar). The novel is set in a future where the world failed to act on climate change in the 2020s. In this excerpt Terran, a young botanist is walking through a wasteland with a team of scientists from the institute, an isolated prepper community.

The group trailed behind Mitchell as he strode along the dry riverbed snaking out from the waterhole. It was baking hot but the steep river banks protected them from the dry wind that blew ceaselessly across the plains.  Every afternoon they would climb up to the scraggly trees that lined the banks to get their bearings. At those moments Terran felt the desolate environment searing itself ever deeper into her heart. Even the sky had a muddy look to it as if particles of dust hung in the air.

As the days wore on the distances between each group member lengthened. Brad stalked along behind Terran but she ignored him. No one spoke much anyway. The heat was so intense that wasting energy on words felt frivolous. Unnecessary. In places the sandy soil of the river banks had fallen away to expose tattered ribbons of polyurethane and plastic sheeting, remnants of the agricultural practices of the previous era. The bleached bones of animals lying on the dry riverbed were further reminders of those times. The curving horns of long dead cattle and the eyeless skulls of sheep were both sculptural and haunting. 

Occasionally they would see shards of rusted metal sticking up out of the sandy dust of the riverbed. These relics of past industry excited Cody. He insisted they stop and examine them for useful parts but everything was too decomposed to be of any use. For Terran these scattered reminders of the old world brought home the fact that the degraded landscape they walked through was a result of human activity. 

Not knowing what else to do she bowed her head over her laptop each evening. First, she recorded the growing conditions of the plants she found in her official institute spreadsheets. That done, she opened her personal files and made images that expressed how she felt being out in the wasteland as the hot winds blew and the men cursed the yellow dust of the riverbed swirling around them. These things she noted alongside detailed drawings and photographs of the wider terrain. Jarad, the meticulous record keeper, had a habit of muttering the readings to himself as he checked his meteorological instruments. He often did this while she was working on her images so she would include these details as well.

This new way of working had developed from the sketch she’d made that first day at the lookout. It made more sense to her than the featureless lists she’d been taught to compile but she couldn’t imagine anyone at the institute being remotely interested. She was aware the men would react negatively to her images and always saved them to her USB sticks rather than to the laptop. When she returned to the institute she would be required to give the authorities her laptop and the data she’d recorded. She’d been trained to be a detached, objective observer of the natural world and had been taught to consider it separate from and even inferior to the human experience. Any research she did would be expected to conform to that worldview. Out in this wasteland laid bare by humanity’s excesses she found it impossible to maintain that position. The sight of the devastated plains stretching on, seemingly forever, hit her like a blow. It cracked her open and she felt as exposed and raw as the land itself.

Posted in Australia, Climate Change, Fiction, Haiku, Planetary renewal, The Journey

The new greening

A bird’s egg blue sky,
yesterday’s puddles shimmer
in the winter sun.

Clouds blow off the sea,
more rain on the horizon
summer and winter.

The wet summer weather we experienced in eastern Australia the past wo years is due to the slowing of ocean currents caused by melting polar ice. As freshwater pours into the ocean it reduces the saltiness of the water. This means heavy salt water does not sink down and drive the ocean currents in the higher latitudes. One consequence of this is that La Nina weather patterns form in the Pacific ocean over the southern summer months. This brings a lot of rain to eastern Australia.

Here in the garden
the annual flowers flourish
– blooms two seasons now.

La Nina is only one factor affecting the climate across large tracts of Australia. In recent years we have experienced more rain than usual coming to us from the west. I have heard this is because of disturbances to the currents in the Indian Ocean. I saw on last night’s weather report that Alice Springs (in central Australia) and Melbourne (in the south east) are experiencing similar weather today. It is raining in both places and both are expecting a top temperature of just 14C.

Out in the desert
even in the dry season
rain clouds streak the sky.

Years ago I read a strange visionary book where a guy was taken into the future by a spirit guide. At one point they visited a future version of Alice Springs. There they saw the greening of the desert and a new community of people cultivating the land. Maybe this vision will come to pass.

In my eco-novel The Journey (link in sidebar) Terran, the main female protagonist, is taken to a university town in an old coal mining district in the mountains. There the people have adapted to the very wet conditions climate change has bought to their region:-

Terran followed Amara out into the rain slicked streets of Saranath. Once again it seemed she had arrived at a place that defied her expectations.  All around her people in dark clothing hurried past the tall shadowy buildings, the mountains a dark backdrop behind them. Strangely, the nearer slopes were spanned by row after row of low white walls that gleamed in the dim light. Peering through the mist Terran realised they were the retaining walls of wide terraces crammed full of emerald green food crops. ‘So many terraces,’ she said in wonder. 

‘Yes, Saranath is known for its terraces,’  Amara said.  ‘We’re academics here,’ she grinned.  ‘Years ago when the global supply chains broke down and climate change was looking like a climate catastrophe, our forebears turned to their books and academic papers.  Researching traditional societies they read about the way the ancient Incas had terraced the steep slopes of the Andes. Someone came up with the idea of doing something similar here by making the retaining walls out of defunct wind turbines. The blades and towers were dismantled and manoeuvred into position.  Rubble from the mine slag heaps was used to hold them in position.’   She made a sweeping gesture towards the more distant hills. ‘The idea worked and over time we have created terraces across the surrounding hills. Not only do they create microclimates where we can grow a diverse range of crops, they protect us from landslides and slow excessive water runoff during the deluges caused by climate change. We are then able to channel it into disused mine shafts and tunnels where we use it to produce hydro-electricity.


prompt: Your challenge: In the middle of all that is dark, and disheartening, and seemingly insurmountable, let’s send some poems infused with green to Mother Earth, to let her know she’s not alone, and that we see her blooming.
https://earthweal.com/2022/06/06/earthweal-weekly-challenge-dreaming-in-green/

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, 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.