Every land is a little mysterious – but the Land in Australia is alive and listening. The Land here is aware, even Self Aware. Spooky huh! Not really, but kind of fun. Who doesn’t love a mystery?
We have many stories meeting here. The Dreaming of Australia is mysterious indeed. People have come here, from everywhere around the Earth. They have brought their stories, struggles, losses, conflicts, successes, failures, rules and traditions but above all – they have brought themselves, perhaps in pieces – but they have brought them none the less.
I remember being taken in to the ‘bush’ as a little girl, with the olds – in the carapace of Toyota Dreaming, am still waiting for the precise definition of this to be revealed to me. I remember being so sad one day. My parents were screaming at each other for reasons best known to themselves. I wanted to be anywhere but near them as they verbally took each other and us, their dependent terrified children – apart. The atrocities of childhood are simple enough to forget for here, in Austalia – we have no vocabulary or signifiers to examine what is, after all – ‘normal’.
I took Teddie and my cardy Nan had knitted. She knitted everyone jumpers in our family. She was the legacy of another time, another place and another culture. Nan was not there, but she gave me the cardy and it was almost as good her body. I imagined smelling the Yardley Lavender Talc she wore. So decadent. Such a treat. So forbidden to use. Which I never did, I promise.
She provided care because it was a natural extension and expression of who she was. This impulse never flagged or edited itself until the day she died at age 94 years. She provided, nurtured and supported even when she had nothing but herself left to give. This to me is character. This to me is strength. This to me is honour. It takes nothing to lose your focus, integrity and belief in people, in humanity, in the future. It takes everything to remain tenacious, which she did – armed in that talcum powder – to the end of her life. She said good-bye to her children still gripping their hands, as she had done all their lives. Forget Feminism – this is power.
My Younger Self looked left and saw Dad’s Toyota. I looked right and heard my parents screaming at each other, neither able to embrace the basics of personal accountability or aware of the pain their shortsighted selfishness was causing themselves, each other and their forgotten children. The Land lay straight ahead and was silent but sentient. So I began speaking. I talked to the land – to me she seemed to be listening. I talked to her like I would have spoken to my Nan. She neither judged nor turned away. We talked and talked – we are still talking, but what we spoke of though not a secret – is private, for now, although I cast shadows and hints of what we spoke of in everything I do.
I had no name for what I shared that day but now I know it as ‘the White Devil’, a kind of madness that plagues white culture – an inability to relate to the world through sentient awareness, or said simply – ‘an inability to feel’. The White Devil rides in a Toyota. The Elders call this phenomenon together ‘Toyota Dreaming’. What is it? You predictably ask, well … it is a kind of barrier and carrier, that delivers or brings people to the Dreamtime across the desert, across the sand – from that which is ‘known’ and therefore safe, to that which is not know and therefore not …?
I dreamed once in my late adolescence, just before I graduated from a grueling and retrospectively somewhat pointless Honours program in Psychology … I dreamed I was traveling on a train to ‘somewhere’. I was going with intent and purpose, we were heading at speed towards the ocean. Suddenly I became aware of the fact that our speed was increasing and people were jumping off the train in fear. WE WERE GOING TO CRASH. Nothing I could do. WE HAD NO BREAKS! I thought about panicking. I thought about screaming, but it all seemed like too much effort. So I embraced Zen principles of non-resistance and ‘went with’ the crash.
The train stopped. The tracks went straight in to the ocean. I unexpectedly and surprisingly elegantly – alighted on to the wet sand. I remember thinking … I will have to swim from here.