“One day you live somewhere, you call dat country home. Smell like dis place. Earth. Sea. But make you happy again. We send all dem black fella birds remind you your promise. Remind you your story. Then you know it’s time. Time to be dat story. Live dat story in your heart. Live your true Dreaming.” ~ Auntie
I woke yesterday to the mournful cry of the black cockatoos. Black cockatoos are never just birds for me. They are a spiritual presence in my life. A strong tie back to the land where I was first welcomed to country, the wild remote Kimberley of Western Australia.
Now I live on the opposite side of Australia, but this place ties me energetically back to the Kimberley, and my wise old Aboriginal Aunties. Somehow, living here, they feel stronger in my heart.
This country where I have my farm, Byron Bay and its hinterland, is home to the Arakwal People. The Bundjalung mob have called this place home for thousands of years. There is strong Aboriginal energy here. It nurtures me at every turn.
The past few days I’ve been feeling better. Stronger. Yesterday I woke with a sense of energy and purpose for the first time in over a year.
As I sat in meditation the mournful cries of black cockatoos seeped into my consciousness. At the end of my meditation, as I stretched and breathed the cool morning air I watched them sitting in the big old hoop pine near my back door. So many of them.
“There’s my Aunties“, I thought to myself, and tears pricked my eyes. My heart was back in country, and I could feel the red dust in my veins.
Soon Ben and I were in the ute, driving down to Byron Bay to read the papers and have an early morning coffee.
I took a notebook and began jotting some ideas down. To one side I also wrote a shopping list on the back of an old envelope, because its been weeks since I’ve been well enough to shop and we’re running low on basics.
“Good,” Ben said as he sipped his coffee. “Shopping. We’ll go tomorrow.”
I was careful not to let him see the ever-expanding list beneath it.
I began to plan some ideas and goals for the weeks and months ahead. Mostly they were things to write. Old manuscripts to edit and tidy up for submission. Some e-books and courses. Things for my new website. Words to get down on the page, bit by bit, now that my brain is working and I have a little more energy. Things I thought I should be writing.
I was proud of myself. It was a sensible list, with no crazy deadlines. It would allow me to rest, write and rest some more. But oh, how good it felt to be creating some kind of plan.
As we sat on the sidewalk outside Mary Ryan’s a sudden mad cacophany of screeching filled the air. What seemed like a battalion of white cockatoos flew directly up the street, making a line for the hoop pines that rim the edge of the beach. Some of them alighted in the paperback above me. A single white feather fell down and landed in my breakfast.
More soared up the street. Seven white birds, strong and vibrant. They whooshed past our table and a tear slid down my cheek. Seven birds. Seven Aunties. I felt them all beside me. I heard their voices in my ear.
The trees at the top of the hill near the beach were filled with cockatoos.
I looked down at my list. Was that really what I wanted to write?
All I could hear was Auntie’s voice:
“Now you got your Story, your Spirit no longer lost. That Dreaming inside you make you understand who you are. That Story how you gonna walk this world.” ~ Auntie
When I got home I put my list away and spent some time in the kitchen instead, baking a cake, doing some dishes, preparing some food for the week ahead. I was lost all of a sudden. I had no confidence in my list. What was I supposed to write?
I tossed that question around in my head all day.
Late in the afternoon Ben came up from the river paddock with a present for me. A wedgetail eagle feather.
“It reminds me of one of those old-fashioned quills,” he said. “Maybe it’s time to start writing again.”
There’s a fresh white page in front of me, longing to be filled with words. I’m going to trust that just as I feel guided back to writing, what to write shall also be shown to me.
And of course, I’m open to suggestions. 🙂