Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Concrete and clay

Farewell the forest

Our forests lay rotting in piles, at the base of your new towers 
built with glee in dust and haste
While our wildlife run and cower
We look upon your lustful waste
and curse your concrete bowers!

No shelter, No mercy given

I beat my fists on your chain mesh fence,
your steel trap graders and concrete trash!
Breathtaking; The the structures you erect
Awesome; Your power!
Dead heart, blind eyes, deaf ear... 

Breath taken; The oxygen you stole!
Crushed; the leaves over which you roll!
Stopped; the cycles of carbon and water

Life taking; The magnitude of your destruction!
Life ending; The future you deliver!
The cycle of life interrupted

No creature could escape it’s fate; as you began to excavate
Shrubs and trees lay smashed and broken
You mock them all with a floral token!

Every bird is gone. They have been silenced!
Yet free you stand, with your Government licence!
Contented with your plunder.

Forgotten are those too slow,
Broken; The roots. Smashed; The branches. Scattered: The leaves
Missing; Those who ran, and the ones that crawl or slither or swim. Lost; The ones who flew

Extinguished; All who thought man’s boast, a lie
And with it all gone I sit here alone, in the dust, 
broken earth, red clay exposed to wind and sun, I groan.

I watched it all happen bit by bit, branch after branch piled up into sticks.. and I wondered, what next?
I sang and I screamed F-CK! You Bastards!

Rubbing the leaves of the turkey bush across my skin I took off my shoes and danced to the earth.
I loosened my shirt and I walked with bare feet.
I slept on the ground among the thick leaf litter, Sugar gliders and bandicoots came close for a look, ants tasted my flesh and moved on. At dawn Honey eaters boldly proclaimed their home, tiny bees continued to gather the bounty of nectar from broad ranging shrubs their legs hanging heavy with pollen balls of gold. A Stringybark forest, bases burned black in early cool fires, cycads scattered bright green new growth. A landscape in balance enveloped me, warm safe known and belonging at peace for one night.
I farewell in the forest am at home with the trees.

Stringybark blessings timeless ceremonies!
Blessed are the living. Beloved these things!

Cursed the concrete dawn and to hell with mammon towers!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pushing it

Sometime over the weekend, while I was not at work, my bicycle was stolen from the Church office in Parap. It was quite a nice bike, even though it was just a Kmart special, one of those single speed Fixies. I found it in the cyclone clean up pile one day, pushed it home, gave it a bit of a clean-up, a new inner tube and replaced the front brake calipers with a set I got for a bargain $5 at a local bike shop. All up the bike cost me $15 exactly! 
I'd come to rely on it over the past week and had become quite comfortable scooting swiftly around town on my new little rocket. No racks or baskets for carrying things, no gears to get distracted by just the absolute basics of peddles, chain, bar and saddle (Oh yeh and brakes). I delighted in the unencumbered agility of such a basic machine, this lairy little rocket with it’s green rims and purple tyres. However at the weekend I decided to leave it chained up at work so I could take old faithful home. Big mistake! When I got to work on Monday it was gone!
So now I’m in that peculiar space where I’m feeling a bit angry because I was stupid to leave it there and angry at being robbed... but not so much. I’m not so bothered by the loss as I would expect to be. I guess I’m a bit confused about how I actually feel about it at all. Actually, if I think about it, I'm not really bothered at all. Just for an exercise in dribble here are the thoughts that come to mind when I think about the bike. 

  • I really liked that bike 
  • I shouldn’t have left it there 
  • I wanted to sell that bike 
  • I could have given it to someone who needs a bike 
  • I wonder who stole it and why 
  • I wonder if they actually needed a bike (I really hope so. If they need a bike and look after it they can have it with my blessing) 
  • I bet it was some user who doesn’t give a shit about other people and just took it because they felt like it and think they can just take stuff from other people any time they like! 
  • I should be angry about this 
  • I’m not angry 
  • I hope thieves don’t s start hanging around trying to steal things from my workplace 
  • I wish the people I give bikes to would look after them and appreciate them 
  • It’s only some old bit of trash someone chucked out on their junk pile 
  • Why do people throw away useful and beautiful things 
  • I’m glad I had the experience of riding that bike 
  • I like my old bike 

This week Bill Mollison the father of Permaculture died, I never met him but have seen him, read some of his writing, yada yada yada... I like his style, he was a cheeky, cranky old Wisefool. 

I recently heard that an old lady I knew died, her name was Mary, she’d reached a very respectable old. 
Yesterday Aunty Alice… (we called her that but she was actually the mother of my Father’s Brother’s wife. Not sure what Anglo /Celt name is for that relationship…. We just called her Alice, the Aunty bit was an unspoken, unofficial title, or maybe that's the official formal way to address such relations, I don't know)… died. I liked Alice, I will miss her. 

Bikes are fun to ride, possibly even fun to steal…. I like fixing them and getting them to do what they were made to do... In the end they just transient mechanical devices for our transport and amusement. 
I love the living things, the people, plants creatures and places, my heart is with those who live and who have lived.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's just a tree

Rubbish Scrub makes way for exciting new development on Darwin International Airport Land

A poem by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray,

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair

Upon whose blossom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems were made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree.

­Joyce Kilmer

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hitting the street with tunes.

I've been riding and thinking a lot lately.

Here's my playlist for the past few days.

Unintended vagrancy from David.j.F on 8tracks Radio.

 (oops... looks like 8Trax is forbidden to play in Australia)

 Click here to hear....

Here's the list:

1. What I Am by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians 
2. Under The Bridge Live Acoustic by Red Hot Chili Peppers 
3. The Book Of Love by Magnetic Fields 
4. Mad World by Gary Jules 

5. Whiskey Cambodia by Cambodian Space Project 
6. Walk On The Wild Side & Tom's Diner (Ben Liebrand Remix) by Lou Reed & Suzanne Vega 
7. Locust by Mike Noga And Paisley Live
8. Drops Of Jupiter by Train

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Stringybark Woodland (sand palm in foreground)

Lately I have had the mixed fortunes of spending quite a bit of time outdoors.

I have had opportunity to wander through some local bushland which I feel a strong connection to and have also spent time sitting at the edge of the Nightcliff mangroves at dawn. 

I have taken some time to sit and watch people going about their busy lives, exercising, socializing, walking the dog, playing with their children and shopping. I have also had the chance to meet people for whom the circumstances of their lives have forced them into an outdoors lifestyle. It’s quite a tough life for some but amid the hassle, humbug and drudgery of life on the street there is compassion, camaraderie and at times beauty.

We have a lot of bush or ‘Longgrass’ camps around Darwin, each with it’s own code and culture. There’s a lot of grog out there too, a lot of madness, carnage and damage, but given the living conditions, probably far less trouble than you might imagine. 
A very clean camp, all rubbish piled up, sleeping ground swept clean every day.

This is not a sociology report and I prefer not to impose on people’s privacy by photographing the fascinating people I’ve seen or met. Just thought I’d post a few photos of the landscape I love.

Red Kurrajong (Brackychiton sp.)

Cocky apple (Planchonia careya)

paperbark semi wetlands, stunted growth of these trees

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Great Divide

Contemplating the value of land and place in the face of consumer values...

The line is not always so clear.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Preview DVD on VHS

Remember when your VHS was getting old and you were trying to weigh up the pros and cons of replacing the VHS player vs investing in the new format 'DVD'? 
When DVD came out they promoted it heaps on rental videos by comparing VHS with DVD in a side by side comparison.... ON VHS! 
You're watching a VHS tape and the add comes on and you see the comparison and you're convinced that DVD is so much better based on what you've just watched and you watched it on a VHS tape! 
It's frigging crazy right?

Then when Blue Ray came out they did the same comparison to show you what you're missing if you don't upgrade from your DVD player! What is wrong with this picture??
HA! What a crack up. I used to drive my wife crazy pronouncing that now I've seen the difference I've got to go out and get me one of them new fangled Blue Ray thingimabobs!

Oh well it's just one of those peculiar things I entertain myself with from time to time. Pointless nonsense really!

Here; let Lynda Carter entertain you while you compare for yourself.


Monday, September 05, 2016

Arbor Perfectus

My boy calls this the 'Perfect Tree'!

(Khaya senegalensis)

It's a fully grown and perfectly formed African Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis), they planted 1,000s of these around Darwin after Cyclone Tracy. It's quite a healthy specimen of one of Darwin's most regretted plants. (they grow so large and are prone to falling over in the wind) This one is located on the site of the notorious Retta Dixon Home for Aboriginal children. There is a lot of shame associated with that site. The hostel has been pulled down and all that remains on the site are a few concrete footings, a bitumen road and some telltale introduced trees. It has remained undeveloped for years and only periodically used as a venue for circuses when they come to town.

Good riddance to the Home! To me the trees are a testimony to resilience but I wonder what previous residence feel about anything that remains as a reminder of what they went through.

The tree is huge and provides quite a bit of solid shade in the heat of the day.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Losing diversity and beauty - a metapersonal quandary

Sam has been reading a book which loosely classes people into three categories in terms of empathy and connectedness to others. The first category is kind of based in self, everything pretty much stems from the individual's own concern for their immediate personal needs etc... the next is interpersonal basically they have empathy for other people then there's this category, I think it was meta-personal. I think from what she described it encompasses that feeling of connection we have (or some of us have) for other living things.... or even places. 

I haven't read the book, I'm not familiar with the theory but I sure tend to feel a sense of loss when the environment I love is heartlessly reduced to a pile of rubble, broken trees and rotting folliage!

There is a beautiful native Gardenia I pass every day on my way to work. I noticed it a couple of years ago in the scrub beside Darwin International Airport. It's the only one I've ever seen. For most of the year it's a fairly nondescript woody shrub... but in the wet season and when it's flowering the foliage is full and thick and green and the flowers have the sweetest scent! Two years ago the location of the tree kept it well hidden but since work started on Osgood drive, the developers have crept closer and closer. Now the tree is in the direct path of a huge pile of clay fill which is being dumped in a pile right beside the remaining woodland. I can't bear to see this tree destroyed but I know that I must! I can't turn my back on a place I love! 

Already trucks have come so close to the tree that they've scraped bark off while dumping earth on the ground beside it. I am worried this beautiful plant may only have days left. 

I am hoping the tree will survive to flower once more this year so I can share just how beautiful it is.