Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Necklace, A Walk and Ronnie

On Sunday afternoon I walked through “my” bush for the first time in over a week. The bush where almost every day for 13 years I have walked first with Maggie and now with little Archer. It was as if I had stepped onto another planet, strange black moon like surfaces with craters and blackened rocks, strands of trees, and silence. Absolute silence. An acrid smell.
Then a flock of pelicans swooped over, their wings beating rhythmically, I took a breath, and another step, to my left was the bush I know and love.
The fire has stopped at a main walking path and been contained to a central strip of the bush. As we wandered along I felt my spirits sink, and rise in time with my steps. My mind whirling with thoughts of loss, the blessing that no human lives were lost here, and a few of those pointless “Why? Questions”. Actually it appears some boys wanted to see if they could copy the fires on the other side of our great country.
Towards the end of our walk we met Ronnie, an old aboriginal man with a shock of white hair, and a welcoming smile. Ronnie’s mixed use of English, Aboriginal English and Noongar combined with his lack of teeth made communication interesting. But we chatted for more than hour. Ronnie often explaining his stories with drawings in the sand.
When I offered the comment that it was a ‘shame about the fire’ a torrent of positive results was released. First Ronnie cheekily informed me cooking had been made easy as his family had gathered all the animals killed in the fire and taken them home for the weeks meat, and the freezer was full.
Then Ronnie showed me a plant which a week after the fire was splitting and releasing seeds, seeds which are apparently the food of echidnas (the Australian spiny ant eater, similar to a porcupine). It is a long time since I last saw an echidna in that bush but Ronnie showed me a couple of echidna homes. He told me with many gestures and pictures drawn in the sand that by this time next year I will see them regularly - and cheekily added, I would have to keep my eyes open and walk at the right time. As I have seen them before I guess I will again.

This necklace was begun a long time ago and finally it has sung, I pulled the old version apart and now the birds fly above fire coloured beads and rocks. A song of renewal.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The animals need us too...

Night after night our television screens are full of images of devastation as bushfires race across Australia, so many people have died, many more have lost their home and even their town. So much is needed to help survivors recover. And yet, my heart turns also to our animals.
There are homeless and injured dogs, horses and stock throughout Victoria. Wildlife of all types, kangaroos, lizards, birds and of course koalas, have lost their habitat and in many cases have been injured. Koalas eat leaves. Gum leaves. This is all most of them eat, for both moisture and nutrients, without gum leaves they can not survive in the wild.

A quick search of the web yielded many wonderful organisations for supporting our people and animals. If you have a few dollars to spare:
are accepting donations to help wild animals, and
are providing food and temporary homes for domestic pets.
and here to sponsor and wild animal while it is being treated medically.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Practical Creativitity

I needed a handful of thank you cards and was very tempted to go out an buy some, but common sense prevailed. On my desk was a stack of card, embossed on my friends' brand new Cuttlebug, and plenty of bits and pieces. I painted some of the card with verdigris paint, and activator, then lightly sanded it back.
These corrugated iron and number backgrounds are the result. I have a container of rusted and verdigrised shapes on my desk - just in case. The birds were once metallic red and the rectangle shaped piece a cheap plastic. So a few laps with the sewing machine, some scraps of fabric and the top four were complete.
Another few sheets of embossed card were painted with cream paint and sanded back, then a light wash of paint applied. It was good to finally use some of these pre-cut window cards (I am sure I had the small ones for a decade), even if I did decide to completely paint over most of them.

A lovely local salesman has organised a new car for me, it should arrive in the next week. It will be soooooooooo good to have my own wheels again, I had not realised how dependent I am on that freedom.