Learning from a bowerbird
It’s been a lucky winter – a bowerbird has placed his bower within sight of our north window, so every day for months we’ve been watching the building process. Satin bowerbirds love the colour blue – the shade of their love’s eyes – and so he collects blue things to decorate his courting ground. Our bowerbird has set his bower within a patch of blue forget-me-not flowers, and has collected blue things – rosella feathers, but mainly plastic. It’s a strange practice. He uses what he finds, and from the detritus he makes beauty. I find it poignant. Somehow it feels relevant to our work.
Here’s this bird, staying with the trouble. Not judging, yet being discerning, and finding his way with exactly what is – a world where blue-wren feathers are in far shorter supply than bailing cord.
And so Acknowledging Country – accepting the fact of injustice and sadness, and seeking to do better. To repair, with action, and to do it as beautifully as we can. And in doing so, dancing, perhaps, with grace.
If you’d like to dive back into the writing exercises, they’re here
References cited in our third session:
The opening song – Abala Barlawa
Here are some links and further information about the ancient Celtic poem I read aloud, The Song of Amergin.
Here is a link to a beautiful short film and reading of the poem in Gaelic.
And here is a stunning sung rendition of The Song of Amergin by Lisa Gerrard and Patrick Cassidy
Quote from Songspirals – Sharing Women’s Wisdom of Country Through Songlines – Gay’wu group of women
Country is the keeper of the knowledge. Country has awareness, it is not just backdrop. It knows and is part of us. It is home and land, but it is more than that. It is the seas and the waters, the rocks and the soils, the animals and the winds and the people too. It is the connections between those beings, and their dreams and emotions, their language and their Law. Country is the way humans and non-humans co-become, the way we emerge together and will always emerge together. It is all the feelings, the songs and ceremonies, the things we cannot understand and cannot touch, the things that go beyond us, that anchor us in eternity, in the infinite cycles of kinship, sharing and responsibility. Country is the way we mix and merge, the way we are different and yet become together, are part of each other. It is the messages, languages and communication from all beings to all beings. Pxxii
My reading list – a journey from colonial/european fantasies or projections to authentic voices.
I’ve given the Goodreads references where available, because the reviews provide fascinating insights into reader’s journeys of discovery.
And here is an excellent overview of ’the debate’ around Pascoe’s Dark Emu which I feel makes the most important point around the deep, complex and interrelational way of being that is predominant within hunter-gatherer societies.
Sincere thanks to those who sent me information about wonderful learning opportunities featuring First Nations teachers and elders. I highly encourage you to click on the links below to discover what’s on offer – all of these offer wonderful chances to deepen cross-cultural knowledge and awareness.
Indigenous perspectives on decolonial futures
Learn Cultural Intelligence with First Nations Leaders and Allies
BETWEEN STORIES: Trans-Cultural Conversations for Troubling Times
Connecting to Country: Re-imagining Myths of Place and Belonging
Some Thoughts about the Philosophical Underpinnings of Aboriginal Worldviews by Mary Graham