I’ve just been at our local market, for my monthly boogey at the drumming circle. I feel very blessed to have this, and for it to have been echoing through the valley in which I live for the past 20 odd years. The intention is always clear and strong, and definitely spiritual.
This is what attracts me to it, because when I dance, I inhabit a spiritual landscape, a place where magick is made and clarity shines in.
It has been an odd habit of mine to gravitate towards the large fencing logs at the back of the area, and dance upon them. I am open to where my body takes me when I’m dancing. It always reveals the truth to me.
And it is this:
I am an invader in this land, even as I love it and live with it as peacefully as I can. I exist upon it because of the invasion that did and continues to take place. And it is a spiritual illness among my people that we continue to do this and do not admit that this is what we do.
I am not just talking about the displacement, dispossession and destruction of a people.
We live here on the backs of dead trees. We deforested en masse, and we continue to do so. And as much as I mourn this fact, it is my way. It is the history of my people, both my Dutch heritage, and my white history of the country that I love and live in. We take a place, and we raze it to the ground, and we irreparably change the place and all that attracted us to it.
Entire suburbs, ‘bulldozer suburbs’ as I call them, exist as testament to this. Our agriculture was founded upon it. We were paid per acre to do so. We clear-felled swathe upon swathe of it, and we have not returned it.
Whenever I enter a forest, I feel how this whole land was filled with the wondrous beauty that is before me, in all its forms; mulga, scrub, open woodlands, grass plains, stony deserts, rainforest, mangroves, wet and dry forests. We have ripped the living heart out of this country. The magnitude of what we have done, when I see it, settles into my spirit. It is not an intellectual feeling, it is physical. It is a weight. It is pure grief. And the feeling that ricochets from its impact is the fear of how to live within it.
I do not know how.
Today while dancing, away from the beauty of the forest, it occurred to me, it is fitting that I dance on these fallen trees. It is who I am. It is what I have done. It is what my people have come to say. We are those who live by the death of forests.
After I realised this, I felt strength and pride fill me. Not for the deeds that I, as my people, have done, but for what I can stand up and admit.
My children will be born with the knowledge of what they have done, of what we have been. They will live with the truth, and its responsibility.
And they will be the healers.
For all of us who can accept what we have done, let there be this:
We are the antibodies.