Category Archives: environment

Tjukurpa

Harmony – Word of the Day

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Photo: Dry creek bed – the Hull River, Northern Territory. This particular spot is also the site of Kulpi Tjuntinya also called Lasseter’s Cave. The river is mostly dry on the surface, and runs underground. There are many soaks along its route. When it does rain heavily the water can be one third up the height of those trees, which given the width, is a mighty volume of water.

The Australian bush, long before white settlers, was well protected with the harmony of traditional law or Tjukurpa – pronounced Chookapah (following the Central and Western Desert peoples view). The law is an oral tradition handed on generation to generation and memorised. One of its central principles is respect for all the elements of nature because everthing is in relationship and everything has an effect. While the words harmony or balance are not explicit, the principles are evident in the way Australian indigenous peoples treat the land and each other.

 

In the Balance

Where once where trees lie salted plains
and dusty cattle ruts.
Camels, mines and 4x4s,
billabong and creek consumed.
Settlers coveted and misunderstood,
but the Anangu have wise ways,
and through their ancient dreaming,
there came ways of loving nature whole.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, history, Indigenous, life, mindfulness, nature, poetry, Quadrille

Elegy

Energetic – Word of the Day

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The creek line along the outer wall of King’s Canyon.

Elegy For Mother

I stopped on the rise
where the trail opens to a valley,
and sat for a while admiring your view.
I took off my shoes and savoured your sand,
ran my hands down your powdery skin,
stretched my arms out in praise,
breathing you in,
taking you in memory,
sacred memory.
Purified in your creeks,
fuelled by your self-offering,
I reflect this on your paper,
in my electronica chic,
mineral products so smooth.
All that you are is
all that I am,
and all that I have.
Yet, though I valliantly try,
I have left you
exhausted,
depleted,
like a football I once kicked,
burst and rent.
Kyoto a faded vow,
my lust has consumed you
your energy spent
feeding mine.
And more than admiration,
or the faithlessness of plattitudes,
Mother,
Sacred Mother,
you need a hand.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Elegy, environment, Forest, life, mindfulness, nature, poetry, Spirituality

Celebrating the Incomplete

Esthete -Word of the Day

Also spelt as Aesthete

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Image: thatcreativefeeling.com

Desiring to study the Way of Tea, Sen no Rikyu went to the tea-master Takeeno Joo who set Rikyu the task of tending the garden as a test. Rikyu cleaned to perfection, but before presenting his work to Joo, he shook a cherry tree, causing some blossom to fall to the ground. A little imperfection being the perfect ground. Thus began his journey into returning the tea ceremony and everything associated to its former simplicity.

It is said that the Japanese revere Rikyu as one who understood the aesthetic known as wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi emerged in the 15th century as a reaction to the aesthetic of very formal and ornate and extravagant art and design of that time. Wabi-sabi is “focussed on the acceptance of impermanence or transcience.” It speaks of “a readiness to accept things as they are.” Or, finding the beauty within imperfections.

Wabi symbolises rustic beauty and quietness, simplicity and quietness. It can also refer to flaws, quirks and abnormalities that occur during production, e.g. pottery, or, as in the case of Rikyu, the blossom disrupting the otherwise perfect garden.

Sabi refers to things whose beauty can only come with age, like weathered timber, green copper, rusted tin. Sabi is said to evoke a sombre feeling very much like autumn.

Wabi-sabi is said to be honest, authentic, organic, modest, incomplete, and where nature, even nature’s corosive power, is celebrated.

Ref: britannica.com, dt.pepperdine.edu (Richard Martin).

How refreshing! I really warm to this aesthetic, and how much we need to embrace it today. Wabi-sabi simplicity could be the antidote to our materialistic, throw-away, plasticised way of living. An acceptance of life as it is. More than cloth bags and organic soap (important as these things are) we/all living things need a modern aesthetic equivalent to wabi-sabi. More imperfection and less sculptured fruit and veg. More authenticity and less keeping up with the Jones’. More incomplete, and evoking a sense of the real. Celebrating nature by engaging nature’s needs. Being organic in every way from relationships, to lifestyle, to purchasing. Accepting things as they are from people to the cosmos. Living with our flaws (shadow aware). How refreshing. I yearn for a bit of Rikyu in all of us.

 

I Love the Flaw in You

Dead center,
on the mantlepiece,
my truest work
as yet.

Soft clay now hard as nails,
its beauty is its cleft.
Its radiance not celadon,
a muddy glaze its skin.

She sits proudly among the celebrated,
offended by their pretence –
perfect, slick, and mass produced,
with images of empire now dead.

As I contemplate my minimum,
I know she goes with me.
The others to the Op-Shop,
or some other recycle path.

This ugly piece of earth,
this imperfect lustred pot,
speaks, shouts, to me of real life,
and how to cope with love.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under art, environment, history, life, mindfulness, minimalism, nature, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, quote

We Can Too!

Potential – Word of the Day

Redgate Beach, south of Margaret River. The beach was closed yesterday, in fact, I couldn’t even see it. The winds were gale force earlier in the day, and still strong in the afternoon, whipping the water in to shore, and making it difficult to keep a steady hand for filming. The western shore contains a variety of examples of rock formations that have been weathered by waves, and when you see the power of the water, it is no wonder.

Water is powerful, and in many ways. Wave power as an idea, a theory, has been around for years, though one the earliest attempts is still recent – Scotland, 1991. The long history of shipping has relied on water, and has also suffered from the volatility of storms at sea. The same can be said for the fishing industry, tourism, military purpose, exploration and more. Rivers and other sources of land based water have been critical for the survival of all species. Plants and animals vary as to percentage but all have a foundational volume of water that constitutes their being. Science has variably said that water is 80% of the human body, I say variably because others say it is even higher.

Water is fundamental for survival, dehydration is deadly for any species. And water, though abused by, is also fundamental to industry and manufacturing at every level. We know the absence of water contributes to desertification, and evidence from other planets shows that lack of water equals lack of life.

The potential of water goes back to the dawn of time, and onwards to the floating gardens of the Aztecs, Roman baths and aqueducts, the farming of rice, fish farming, reticulated agriculture, and the generation of electricity (hydro-power).

With climate change as a reality, even fiction, like the post apocalyptic story of Waterworld, seems less far fetched than when it hit the cinemas in 1994. Water is seen as part of our daily survival need, but also part of our future as once again, floating gardens, floating communities, hydroponics, aquaculture, and responses to climate problems like flooding, see Practical Action    have become exciting options for ways forward.

And yet, we are far more diverse than water. The human is complex, and, beyond the primitive brain, unique in brain capacity for problem solving, design, learning, creating, conceptualising, and comprehension, to name a few potentials. We too can be a positive power in the world, veritable tsunamis of ideas, science, engineering, chemistry, the arts, and more. We too generate energy. And we have the potential to creatively solve the issues before us.

We can contribute to life, we are powerful, we can be creative, eroding and wearing down the barriers and the negatives, shaping and sustaining life and potential worlds and communities,  we too are fundamental to nature though by good or ill, depending on how we value nature. We have the potential to turn around the whole climate change issue. Like water, we have to pool, pond, and gather together to get it done. Even the formation of water, hydrogen and oxygen is a metaphor for working together to achieve an outcome. One drop of water is just one drop of water, but many drops are potential, are power, resource, possibility, together we are an ocean of potential.

The ground was hard
many seeds to be planted
neighbours helping

©Paul Cannon


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Unscheduled Schedule

Serendipity – Word of the Day

 

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Sarge Bay, Augusta, storm coming in.

Chaos Theory would say that for every apparent moment of chaos there’s an underlying pattern. Science would say that serendipity is logically explainable. Calvinists would err towards a predestination, others destiny and fate. Some confuse it with spontenaity, perhaps serendipity is spontenaity but I think it is something different, for me serendipity has no particular agency.

Storms come and go, they appear random, we know that for every element of nature there is an action, reaction process, there is an explanation. Storms appear because they are a reaction to pressure fronts meeting, here it is usually cold front meets warm front, winds and rains ensue. A reliable pattern attested to by the weather reports. But perhaps the timing, the position, the intensity are more random.

When we lived on the farm, we would often look out across the valley and watch a rainbearing front coming in from the west, it would drop maybe 1 – 2 inches on our place, yet a property down the road might be dry – nothing. The next time we might get nothing and the property down the road might get 1 – 2 inches. Rain is patchy at best, never consistent across a front. Rain may be patterned by the pressure system, but within that pattern there are random moments where rain doesn’t fall equally, where the wind squalls vary, where hail is inconsistent. A normal abnormality! Thunder and lightning would be another example.

Storms aside, love is perhaps the greatest example. Not withstanding hormones, the what, who and when of love are serendipitous. Love, true love, is interrupted planning, disrupted expectation, blindsided hope, deranged logic.

“When love becomes logical, it dies. When affection is timed, it no longer exists. When bliss is scheduled, no after-thought can bring it back. Now is the only time for serendipity, for synchronicity, for joy.” (Amy Larson/AmyJalepeno.com) All the romcoms, TV shows like Friends, are testimony to serendipity, that the best laid plans all come undone every time, and the unplanned becomes the real. Perhaps love itself is serendipity. I like to think so.

“She was forever unexpected and I was drunk on that about her.” Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird.’ (Harper Lee)

snow covers the ground
stark are the barren branches
one blossom smiling

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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No Fluke

Fluke – RDP

Whales at Nullabor Whale Viewing site.

No Fluke, just a mother and calf. No fluke because it was planned, we were there, the whales were there, it was beautiful, no fluke either way. You can’t fluke life and you can’t just determine life, it has to be lived, it’s full of surprises, it goes where it goes and you can choose whether to go with it or not, and create your own. But there’s no fluke!

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Light Pleasure

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It’s the simple things that bring lasting pleasure. Dawn at looking out from Big Swamp. Too good not to stop and take the shot. It’s not a swamp it’s a wet land. European settlers misunderstood, these are not waterlogged land, but authentic wet lands. To use the term swamp is to identify land as degraded, but this is not degraded it is an ecosystem. The city council won’t change the name. Fortunately this one is protected, but many have been lost because they were viewed as swamps and filled in by developers. This one has a variety of bird life as well as other creatures.

“Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”  Samuel Johnson

Paul,

pvcann.com

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It’s A Moiety World

Moiety – Word of the Day

Australian First Nations

There are over 500 Australian Indigenous Nations, as you can see from the map, they have particular areas with distinct boundaries. The nations are formed from clan groups which have their own language and kinship system which is either patrilineal (descent is related to and traced through the father/male line) or matrilineal (descent is related to and traced through the mother/female line). Clan groups are formed from family groups.

There are three levels of kinship in indigenous society: moiety, totem, and skin names.

The term moiety comes from the Latin, meaning half. In moiety systems everything in the universe is in two halves, each a mirror of the other, and the universe only makes sense if these two halves come together. Moieties are patrilineal or matrilineal, so determined by either your father or mother, these are the two halves. People of the same moiety are siblings and cannot marry, they must marry people from the other moiety, and thus the two halves are brought together.

Kinship

That, of course, is a simplistic outline of what the word means, but it belies a complexity of culture that is rich in every way in real life. Whereas white culture has negatively impacted indigenous culture, it is not true in reverse. In fact, we have only just begun to learn from our First Nation people’s how we might better treat each other and the land, given that ecological relationships are so fragile here.

In indigenous culture they have retained something very precious, something we have almost completely lost, the ability of moiety systems to be support systems. If you have a row with mum or dad, you can go to another significant relative within the clan group and debrief, chill out, stay awhile till the heat dissipates and the possibility of return arises. My experience of working with young white people in family conflict is they either go it alone, maybe with a few friends, or sadly, on the streets. Indigenous youth generally look for family. What is important in this is that  while we revere the independence of white youth, we miss the wisdom of healing and wholeness as the moiety or halves work together for unity. No system is perfect, but some have stronger, lasting principles that have lasted thousands of years, like our indigenous peoples. It has now become critical in youth work to build resilience for our youth in trouble, but I think the foundation of resilience is clearly the clan, though, for me, that doesn’t equate to family per se, but rather to those relationships important to our vitality and flourishing. We should never be in survival, but two halves always meeting and making the universe right.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Affinity With Nature

Affinity – Word of the Day

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Yet another winter storm was coming, hot on the heels of the first of the season, the waves were really pounding all along the shore. Thankfully the strong winds had pushed the first lot through to the wheat-belt. The dark, rain leaden clouds were a wonderfull counterpoint for the sunset, accentuating the colour.

Nature never ceases to amaze me, whether it be the thought of galaxies beyond, our own solar system, or that part of the earth where I live, there is always something to marvel at from the most simple to the really complex. Colour, texture, smell, sound, taste, it’s all there.

We are dependent on nature, we need food and water for starters, oxygen, resources.

But I think we can be interdependent. As we live into the environment, we can manage our carbon footprint, manage our extraction and usage of both finite resources and renewables. We can help to establish regrowth of vegetation, and help repair after disasters, we can return some land to native vegetation, and we can value add what we harvest or remove, there is no limit to what we can positively do in this relationship.

Nature heals, forest bathing, meditating in the open, natural medicines, audio and visual pleasure, olfactory stimulus like petrichor, touch, the sun on skin, the wind around me. My mind is stimulated too, so much to learn, so much adventure, so much to reflect on. Just to be in nature is a wonderful experience for me.

I feel an affinity, a closeness, with nature. I love the feel of sand and rock, and they tell their own story. The streams, rivers and ocean speak, sing, and invade the senses. Eucalyptus like a balm. Dolphins and birds communicating. Sunrise and sunset drawing awe and emotion. I feel whole in nature, I heal better in nature, body, mind and soul. I feel at peace, and am often content in nature. Nature is always conversing, always reaching out to me. And I get perspective, I am part of something bigger than myself, that in itself is medicine for the soul. It’s not about me, it’s not just about everyone, it’s about everything, every relationship of nature.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under beach, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, seasons

Paperbark Writer

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The paperbarks (Melaleuca – one of the 300 Myrtaceae family) are shedding a little later this year. Another theme of winter is shedding. Some animals shed a summer coat in order to prepare for winter, many plants shed their blooms and slow down in some part, some of our birds fly elsewhere for the winter though we get visitors from other shores. We, perhaps, can live unaware of our own needs. What do we need to shed in order to prepare? Mind you, the converse is also something that we need to attend to, what do we need to gather in, soak up, put on in order to prepare? Self care and nurture are fundamental to well being, body mind and soul. For me the continuity of writing and meditation are part of that nurture. How about you?

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Albert Camus

Paul,

pvcann.com

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