Monthly Archives: March 2014

Tea Tree in Wamoon

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March 30, 2014 · 4:44 am

Memories of quin and sheoaks

“Sometimes, on Sundays, I heard the bells…when the wind was favourable, a faint, sweet, and, as it were, natural melody, worth importing into the wilderness. At a sufficient distance over the woods this sound acquires a certain vibratory hum, as if the pine needles in the horizon were the strings of a harp which it swept. All sound heard at the greatest possible distance produces one and the same effect, a vibration of the universal lyre, just as the intervening atmosphere makes a distant ridge of earth interesting to our eyes by the azure tint it imports to it. There came to me in this case a melody which the air had strained, and which had conversed with every leaf and needle of the wood, that portion of the sound which the elements had taken up and modulated and echoed from vale to vale. The echo is, to some extent, an original sound, and therein is the magic and charm of it. It is not merely a repetition of what was worth repeating in the bell, but partly the voice of the wood”
– Thoreau, Walden

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The Power of Connection – Hedy Schleifer

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March 21, 2014 · 7:25 am

Hug a tree – the evidence shows it really will make you feel better

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March 19, 2014 · 5:34 am

The Land makes us

I have returned to the literature of Kombu-merri woman Mary Graham, who writes about storytelling as an Indigenous methodology that is grounded in place. Graham (2009) writes:

The inclusion of Place in a story provides an authentic explanation of how and why something comes into the world. This in turn provides a balance between agency, whether human or spiritual, and point of origin or Place. Balance and re­balance is achieved when Place is used like an ontological compass (p. 75).


Place, as an Aboriginal category, implies that there is no division between the observing mind and anything else: there is no “external world” to inhabit. There are distinctions between the physical and the spiritual, but these aspects of existence continually interpenetrate each other. There is never a barrier between the mind and the Creative; the whole repertoire of what is possible continually presents or is expressed as an infinite range of Dreamings (Graham 2009, p. 76).

I like the way that Graham addresses dualism and creates metaphors for a unified existence between people-place. She speaks beautifully about the agency of Land in her interview with Richard Fidler on ABC Radio.

The way Graham speaks about Land – as a great life force and the holder of knowledge – reminds me of Paddy Roe’s description of Living Country – land that is alive and has the agency to act upon us and reveal itself to us when we are ready to learn. In, Listen to the People, Listen to the Land, Frans Hoogland (1999) describes Living Country as:

… where the land is whole and complete; where the interaction between people and land is alive through law and culture; where the spirit of the land is ‘standing up’, and ‘vibrant’ (p. 30).

The dynamic relationship between people and place is most often depicted from the perspective of human direct experience by non-Indigenous writers. It is so important that Indigenous people’s perspectives rise to the surface to voice their perspectives and give voice to the Land. Graham talks about the recognition that Land has of its people in her interview:

…The Land knows its own people, because it hears the language of its own people and it’s, I know it sounds a bit odd, but it’s sweat, it recognises the sweat of people and they know, ‘Ah yes, that’s the sweat of the people, our people, my people, the people that belong to this area and that sweat, that other people’s sweat I don’t recognise that,’ that land is saying…

Her edict, I am located therefore I am, puts place at the heart of identity and belonging, and I am reminded again of what is slowly coming up and becoming visible, seeking to emerge; narratives of belonging for settler people and subsequent generations through a deep acknowledgement that we are becoming of this place and are becoming of this home, but based on a deep respect and reverence of Indigenous peoples who have always been at home because this country is theirs.

Graham, M 1999, ‘Some Thoughts about the Philosophical Underpinnings of Aboriginal Worldviews’, Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture & Ecology, vol. 3, no. 2, p. 105.

Roe, P & Hoogland, F 1999, ‘Black and white, a trail to understanding’, in J Sinatra & P Murphy (eds), Listen to the People, Listen to the Land, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, pp. 11-30.

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How many ways…

Getting tangled up in words


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Intertextual resonance

I am writing about storytelling as research methodology and method at the moment and came across these words from Amy Ku’uleialoha Stillman and Jeannette Mageo:

‘Through generating new meaning structures, members of a group who share intragroup memories enjoy the potential for creating new ways of interpreting and acting upon relationships with each other and the world they share. Much of this generative work is done through what Mageo [2001] calls intertextual resonance: “When people hear a story or a story fragment, they also hear echoes of other stories.”‘

Instantly I was reminded of the time I shared with my friend Luke a story about an old feeling on country coming and paying me a visit. He too had felt something similar in the same place. As well as intertextual resonance, it makes me wonder whether there are actors (maybe entities in country) that appear in one story, disappear for a while and reappear somewhere completely different. Slipper and hard to describe things that we don’t always have the words to describe… barely perceptible.

Stillman, AKu 2001, ‘Re-membering the History of the Hawaiian Hula’, in JM Mageo (ed.), Cultural Memory: Reconfiguring History and Identity in the Postcolonial Pacific, University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu.

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My work is so often invisible to me. What was I expecting to see?

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March 7, 2014 · 3:20 am

I thought I was there, but I’m still going deeper as I write.

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March 7, 2014 · 2:15 am

Poor Descartes

I give him such a verbal and written lashing, so it’s nice to find these words from Descartes which inspire me!

It might seem strange that opinions of weight are found in the works of poets rather than philosophers. The reason is that poets wrote through enthusiasm and imagination; there are in us seeds of knowledge, as of fire in a flint; philosophers extract them by way of reason, but poets strike them out of imagination, and then they shine more bright. 

—Descartes (in Applebaum 1995).

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