time of burran

Gadalung Marool – hot and dry

“The behaviour of the male kangaroos becomes quite aggressive in this season, and it is a sign that the eating of meat is forbidden during this time. This is a health factor; because of the heat of the day meat does not keep, and the likelihood of food poisoning is apparent. The blooming of the Weetjellan (Acacia implexa) is an important sign that fires must not be lit unless they are well away from bushland and on sand only, and that there will be violent storms and heavy rain, so camping near creeks and rivers is not recommended.”
 
http://www.bom.gov.au/iwk/dharawal/burran.shtml
 
“Time of the blooming of the Weetjellan (Acacia implexa). Hot and dry, eat only fruit and seeds. Burra (kangaroos) start having their babies.”
 
http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/indigenous/calendar2.htm#seasons

Weetjellan (Acacia implexa)

Image source: http://www.florabank.org.au/lucid/key/species%20navigator/media/html/Acacia_implexa.htm

January

Female bowerbird is sampling the fruit on our grapevines.

Observing wattlebird, crimson rosellas, and rainbow lorikeets. Flying foxes overhead at dusk. The song of magpies, kookaburras, ravens, satin bowerbird, sulphur crested cockatoo, whip bird, friar bird, southern boobook. Before 6am the birds are very quiet. 

Hearing something that sounds like a howler monkey. which I suspect is a bird called the White Winged Chough. Sometimes it is close, sometimes far away, but I never catch a glimpse. 

Everything becomes quiet and still during the day as the temperature rises. The ground retains the heat, and the cicadas surround us with sound at dusk.

The scent of heat, humidity, and the faintest hint of sweetness from the lilli pilli blossom.

Having just come out of the Goray’murrai (warm and wet) season, with more rainfall this season than anticipated, the weeds are flourishing. Lots of opportunity for mindful weeding.

The fruits of the capsicum are the size of a toddler’s fist. All of the citrus are bearing fruit. The grapes are still hard and green.

The lilli pilli tree is abuzz with bees. The kid’s fort is covered in the blossom from the lilli pilli tree, it looks like snow. 

Image: the flowers and fruits on the lilli pilli

We have a white mulberry tree to put in the ground, and we have just realised that we need another olive tree for cross pollination.

February

Satin bowerbird still managing to take grapes from our vines despite having nets on them. Something was harvesting our chilli and capsicum plants, taking bites out of the fruit. I thought it was snails, until I caught the satin bowerbird tugging at the plants, the very same bowerbird chomping my grapes. She looks at me like “you want me to shoo? But didn’t you plant these here for me?” And then she brought the whole family, her partner and two offspring.

Sighting king parrots, eagle circling in the sky, praying mantis.

Hail. Lightning. Thunder.

The sound of kookaburras and whip birds.

The scent of rain and summer storms.

Snails ate my lettuce seedlings.

Grubs eating my lemon thyme.

Caterpillars demolishing my lime tree (see picture). The red part at the head came out as a warning when disturbed.

The season of harvest – who’s doing the harvesting? We got a few capsicums with holes in them.

Not a sound disturbs the air
There is quiet everywhere
Over plains and over woods
What a mighty stillness broods!
 
All the birds and insects keep
Where the coolest shadows sleep;
Even the busy ants are found
Resting in their pebbled mound
 
Even the locust clingeth now
Silent to the barky bough
Over hills and over plains
Quiet, vast and slumbrous reigns
 
Charles Harpur

.

The Summer Day
 
Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
 
Mary Oliver

At this time of year my thoughts turn to the Aboriginal creation stories. I have done a lot of research to try and source a creation story which is specific to this area and authentic (either told by Aboriginal people or an historical account of interviews with Indigenous people). This is easier said than done. So much culture was lost when Indigenous people fell to sickness after English settlement, and those that remained were driven out of their traditional lands. Every language group has a different creation story, there may be similiar themes but the stories are synonmous with the landscape and the life that it sustained.

Historical records (by R.H. Mathews) state that the people of this area believed in Baiame, the creator who lived in the sky. They also believed that a monster fish formed the mountains, valleys, and waterways.

I did find an essay (click here to download Living the Dreaming by Sandra Cutts) which explains Aboriginal connections to land and spirituality, although the language used is specific to northern Australia .

.

I am a child of the Dreamtime People
Part of this Land.
Like the gnarled gumtree.
I am the river, softly singing.
Chanting our songs on my way to the sea.
My spirit is the dust-devils.
Mirages, that dance on the plain.
I’m the snow, the wind and the falling rain.
I’m part of the rocks and the red desert earth.
Red as the blood that flows in my veins.
I am eagle, crow and snake that glides through.
The rain-forest that clings to the mountainside.
I awakened here when the earth was new.
There was emu, wombat, kangaroo.
No other man of a different hue.
I am this land.
And this land is me.
I am Australia.
 
Hyllus Maris
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