On grass, in grass, with moist knees. Just long enough to make little crop circles with the heel of my hand. Rolling motions suited to a shoulder or dough. I want a circle, but I know already that’s not going to happen, the ground curves slightly and my hand moves asymmetrically around a hidden rock. Half circles in an ellipses on a slope in still moist soil atop a hidden stone. I wonder if I can be so soft that it will not bend the leaves permanently, will they spring back as they do under a springy step and a thump thump? I work around a small in the soil, irritated by my prying perhaps. It goes about business requiring six legs and wings, which must be very serious, and into the long free strands beyond my work. I dig a little into the centre and into the white-yellow-green newness and then root. Around roots, and something else is moving. Down and away. I stop, fearful suddenly of revealing something that isn’t as interested in the sunshine as I am. Private things that toil in the dark. I watch the blades quiver in a small gust, and wonder to myself if the tremor runs the length of the roots too, like a string of a violin, so that the hidden things can feel the breeze. What does the rain sound like from in there? I put my nose close to the parted grass to see if I can smell the smell that the earth breathes out when it rains. My breath shuffles the tiny grains of dirt and I wonder what of my DNA now settles in the dirt, microscopic exhaled parts of my lungs in my breath. Tiny little pieces of me left behind along with my hand print.
Old One, I have come this way to talk to you, and the wind has taken away my voice.
On the large flat stone. Warm and dusty. My eye is drawn to it by the glint of skin that flashes away from my foot fall in the bush. It is red, and yellow and brown and white, and a still green leaf lies on it, as if it purposely fell there. Dirty knees. Long lines and fans and semi circles are pressed into the stone. Lichen stained remembrances of water. How long since it lived? How high did the water come? What crushing giant caused your image to remain? Were there always lizards here? Does that lizard know? And then they are everywhere. Sea shells in the bush, in the hills, all around me more numerous than by the sea. Whole, broken, eternal, in all the colours of the water. The wind lifts and the gums sound of ocean waves. I am lifted, unbalanced, unanchored. In my dizziness I grasp the rock and graze my skin. Small bits of my skin lift away and tiny drops of blood smear the stone. Little drops of me, left behind.
Ancient One, I have come this way to see you, and the sun has taken away my sight.
In the trees. Stands of ghost gums, stringy bark and she-oak. Native cherry stuck to the sides of great sentinels who seem not to mind the sharing. I walk between them and around their trunks. I follow the tracks between them, and beneath them. I let my fingers feel the smooth bark, the rough bark, the coming away bark, the hanging bark, the giving branch, the thick branch. The stand of trees regard me, and I them. The black cockies make a mournful sound and I follow it to see them, I wonder if they regard me as I watch. I return to the trees, their gaze is unmoved. And a thousand knots and hollows see me. “Hello” I say aloud like some half apology for my lack of comprehension. They remain unmoved. Yet everything moves on them, around them, between them. And I am no less or more a thing than the spider, the beetle, the bird, the snake, and the pademelon. Being seen by the trees. Framed and shaded. How many things do they know? I wonder at how many types of beings they host and help, aid and alter. How many moth larvae remain unseen in the cherries? I put my ear to the gall but I can not hear them. I take the sap of the silver wattle and suck on it til it starts to soften and stick to my teeth. The day is hot but the white gum’s skin is cool. The gum in my mouth augments the eucalyptus ever-smell, cutting through that cool with a warmer spice. The sun is high and I decide to sit among the stand of she-oak and their disorderly conduct. A fruit thick branch catches my hair as I bend beneath it. Now the glint of a strand left there, in the sun, blond tinsel. A fine line of me left behind.
Eternal One, I came this way to dance with you, and the earth has swept me up.
I am sitting beside a Great Mountain. My back against a giant tree whose leaves I can not reach. I can feel the tree, and the Mountain rising up behind me. My boot against a rock and the other stretch across a tussock of grass. My hands crunch the brown leaves on the dirt. I am there amongst the sea creatures and winged creatures and prehistoric creatures. There is a small buzzing thing. A line of ants marching along. There’s a currawong flitting about a little bit from me. There’s a rustle and a thump farther up the hill. I imagine for a moment that I can feel the earth turning. I pretend for a moment I can hear the water running up the insides of the trees from deep in the ground.
Ever One, I’ve come to ask, when I die, and I am laid out on the altar of you, and my breath is taken by the wind, and my blood is taken up by the roots of you, and my fibres are made springy under the feet of all the wild things, will I still be able to hear the rain? Can you press my bones into the rock for me, and let the birds nest in my hair?
All photographs taken by Inga Leonora, in Wellington Park, North of Hobart, unless otherwise stated.