I’m a settler musician and facilitator on Wurundjeri land. My family began arriving from Scotland and England in the 1830s, part of a wave of colonisation that continues today. I benefit from white supremacy, from patriarchy, from systemic injustice and I work to offset them. I live near Merri Creek and have recently learned that I was born in Guling season at the time of the orchid and silver wattle.
I live each day / As a poem / A wide and reverent ode / With space between phrases / For breath / For fire / For cleansing rain
Things feel different here on Wurundjeri land in 2040. We live by eight seasons. We call things by their old and true names. We mark months by the moon.
As the sun rises on a new day, I find myself in reflection down by Merri Yaluk. The morning light dances on the surface, sending ripples of silver shimmering across bark and through branches. We settlers have finally learned what First Nations people have always known: we are nature. Her creeks and rivers our veins, her trees and forests our lungs, our music a part of her song, our dreams the dreams of the land. And we’ve started to act like it.
I bow down / To the eucalypt / I make a wish / On the magpie’s warbling call / I ask for nothing more / Than a view of the stars
We put Earth first; before profit, before people, before buildings and freeways, before shopping malls and the endless plastic crap we used to buy there. Our songs revere her. Our religions have found their way back home to her. Living systems like this very creek have legal rights as life-giving beings. The chattering water is clear, though probably not clean enough yet to drink. Still, I’ll happily dip my feet in and let the crystal tide cool me.
We’re finally reckoning with our past, guided by First Peoples, speaking truth about our history, giving a voice to grief as well as to the cultural beauty that has always lived here. In doing so, we have begun the long work of weaving ourselves back into this continent, through song and story, through ritual and reciprocity.
As the sun sets and evening softly descends, I can’t help but notice the stars. A deep navy canvas pricked with holes upon holes. It’s the kind of view you used to only get in the bush. With low street lighting and little traffic, the warm night is open and clear.
I stretch my arms towards the sky, twisting to see the dark emu arching above me. As I do, I breathe out and admit to myself that I’m tired. It’s taken much work to get here, and it continues. But breathing in again I know that I’m in the right place, that I have all the support I need, that I know how to rest. And I smile.
I listen to the old, strong voices / Descending from the sky / Rising from the land / Watch new hands weave a garment / New voices a story / Or a song / Of peaceful sleep.