Sunday, January 24, 2016

Relationships - part 4

If you've missed the previous posts in this series about relationships, you can visit by clicking on part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Our family ~ made by Sarah
Gully Grove, 2012

While I only came to discover my indigenous heritage, four years ago, my biology remembers a language about the environment, which has been teetering on my consciousness, since I can remember. Even before I could form sentences, I was listening and watching for animals in the landscape. I could see the slightest rut in the ground, of an otherwise perfect lawn. Locate that pin which dropped on the ground, camouflaged by sticks looking exactly the same. And I was always noticing the slightest movement at the corner of my eye.

After living at Gully Grove, for nearly nine years, those early observations and keen instincts are gradually returning. They're a little more blunted by the passage of time, and the busyness of young family, but I still remember them. Which is why I have hope, others can remember and hone their observation skills too. It can be helped along, the more you place yourself in a natural environment though.

The pond

My story became entwined with our property, but that's not going to be everyone's story. People will often adopt public parks and spaces, as their own too. They even get together to create organic community gardens in the city, or nurture a shrine of varied container plants, on a rented balcony.

I've even known a money centric individual, to adopt a neglected plant in their office, without being asked to. Because it elevated the feeling of their artificial space, in a way, they didn't want to be without. I remember asking them, as they ferried a jug of water to the plant, if there was a roster for people to do this job. They shrugged their shoulders and said, nope, but they would miss seeing this plant in the office, if it died - and sure others would too.

 My colourful container plants

So in the city, stuffed into an office building, covered from head to toe in designer clothes, with a diary full of social gatherings - but still, they saw the need for the plant. You see, its in our DNA. If that person could notice it, surely there's hope for many more to tune into that call for nature? Savvy businesses who actually want more productivity from their employees, will often integrate plants in the office, or build a dedicated garden outside, for individuals to take their breaks in. It helps you to relax, as nature is inclined to do.

If you don't have any of that where you are, plan to become the change your community, home, or office building needs. Invite other people to get involved in the process too. It doesn't matter how or where you start, its that you actively attempt to integrate your daily life with some natural aspect in the world. This will press all those biological buttons which say, this makes me feel happy. You're entitled to that feeling, as earth was fashioned with you in mind, as you were fashioned to keep earth in mind. Together, you are complete.

 Banksia Rose, on a cloudy day

The more you do that, the more you won't be able to fall into the daze of not noticing where you're going or what you're doing. You'll start to see things at the corner of your eye again, and find it difficult to lose your keys as often, because you'll start to see in connections again. Everything connects, you just have to sharpen your senses to remember how they do.

Nature is the place where community and nations can find their identity again. We need reminding because we're easily distracted by everything we build. A great nation will fashion its policy respecting the autonomy of nature though. It will give financial incentives to individuals and corporations, who respect the autonomy of nature to function in our communities also. It may be a pipe dream, some ways off in the distance still, but its worth mentioning anyway.

I think every generation can claim some responsibility for ignoring the environment. Some more than others. I think every generation can claim some envy for progress too. Let's just put that all in the past, apologise to nature and get on with mending our relationships in a proactive manner. That means exposing ourselves to natural things more often, and finding new ways to make connections flow into every aspect of our life.

Can any more be said than that? Well, stay tuned for part 5 soon.


  1. Being in nature is so increadibly soothing isn't it? Watching the seasons change, the animal patterns much to learn, to watch. We are ment to be in relationship with our environment I believe. To be custodians of it. Xx

    1. Definitely. Nature is what brings out our optimal being, and we're supposed to invest that back to nature. Though its also a learning process and we're not going to get everything right. ;)

  2. You raise an interesting question Chris. I am of mainly Irish decent and often wonder if I went there how I would feel.....not about to spend the $$ to find out mind you - but I do wonder. There are so many DISconnections for me in Australia despite having been born here and cognitively appreciating all it has to offer. I wonder.....

    1. I married into an family of Irish decent. A glass of Guinness is a prerequisite on St Patrick's day. Though I'm happy to pass, on that tradition, myself. ;)

      I think culture is all about stories passed onto the next generation, and that's how we continue to remember what we are. The conversation might end for one reason or another, but the absence sits on the edge of our consciousness, waiting for us to remember again.

      So maybe there is something for you to connect with, which is in your family descent. You should speak to your mother and ask her about the family, and google the names she gives you. That's how my mum was able to track deeper than the government records, to find more connections. She googled it. Then she was able to find new government records which corroborated the association.

      So you may not have to spend more than your internet bandwidth will allow.

  3. While I love where I am now, I actually came to my relationship with nature in urban settings and those experiences amaze me far more than living in the country. One time, my friend and I were sitting in a park close to a fence, just talking when a huge owl landed on the fence and joined us for a bit before flying off over our heads.another time an owl landed on a street light with a pigeon, just across from where I was parked. It proceeded to eat its meal in front of me... I have lots of owl and bird of prey experiences and these are what brought me to naure at a city. Then it was the trees, then the weeds, etc. But it began with the owls in a huge city...a concrete jungle if you will.

    1. I love that story and its associations. I think the city is a great contrast to nature. So when natural elements appear against that backdrop, it's especially vivid and memorable. :)

      I know we're less inclined to get excited when we see a kangaroo feeding just outside the back door, than when we lived in suburbia and would catch glimpses of wildlife. We still think its special to see kangaroos, but we don't get as visually excited. I was reminded of this over Christmas, when some relatives who live in Brisbane visited, and saw kangaroos feeding in our yard. Out came the cameras and exclamations of surprise.

      Which is wonderful to see - people getting excited about nature. That's the way it should be. :)

    2. Its funny how we do adapt to seeing them. We are in our eagle season here and we see them all the time so its not so surprising but it depends on where we see them and what they are doing. Friends and I saw a wolf the other day as well and of deer, which is your kangaroos I guess? Even out in the country however keeping our eyes open is what gives us the experiences.

  4. Hi Chris, I finally had a chance to read through your series on Sunday, and have spent some time thinking about it. Your question is similar to the one I keep asking - where do we human beings fit into the overall scheme of creation? I think we are a part of it and were always meant to be. Not everyone agrees but often for different reasons. I agree there is something in us that yearns for a connection with the land. I would say it is spiritual, meaning we have that yearning because we were created to be keepers and stewards (servants, if you will) of the land. By that I really mean all of nature. It's a struggle now, because everything is so out of balance. It is a battle, because those who have been won over by an industrialized economic system simply want to use the land, its resources, and people to serve themselves and accumulate wealth.

    I love reading your personal journey in this. I'm a genealogy buff myself, and love what I've learned about my ancestors. So many of mine were farmers and mariners! I certainly am happiest when I'm living close to the land.

    1. I'm so sorry, I didn't catch this comment sooner. I recently changed my email address, and forgot to update notifications of comments to it.

      Farmers and mariners - so you've got a double dose of connection to both land and sea. That will make you feel comfortable in both zones, perhaps? I've never liked the sea myself, it always makes me feel uncomfortable. Can't explain it, except when I learned of precisely where my aboriginal lines were located - its inland, away from the sea.

      I agree that our connection to land is definitely spiritual. It's something which goes beyond the reptilian part of our brains. It asks for a higher conversation within ourselves to take place. Like your question, where do we fit into the scheme of creation?

      It's an interesting question to ponder too, and one which will ask us to have faith in a language we cannot write, nor record - and yet we can converse in it fluently, the more we expose ourselves to natural things.

      I have been won over by industrialized economic systems in the past too. In fact, its something I struggle with every day. Not in a lamenting way, but where I seriously try to find the exit from. Ironically, its not because I fear the system collapsing - its because I love the person I become when I'm at one with my landscape.

      I'm heartened to see that being echoed by a lot of mainstreamers now too - especially living in the city. They want to feel connected to their food supply again, and honour the producers by purchasing the fruits of their land, in which they honour natural cycles. It's great to see that change happening, even if it hasn't overtaken the industrialised system yet.


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