the wild dreaming roads

Almost ten years ago, I learned of the Aboriginal songlines, and it seemed the path beneath my own feet changed as my skin began dreaming. Ever since then, I have felt a deeper sorrow than even before for the loss of old wisdoms - the ghost paths over the great red deserts, the silenced ways.




A new house is being built in my neighbourhood. I watch its progress from my lounge window and try not to weep for the lost songlines of the birds. How is it people never think of such things? Every evening, flocks sing to each other of the ways they have been. But their roads must be changing greatly these days as old trees disappear and the sky is suddenly full of slate. And so their songs are changing. I hear the wonder in them, the tangle of strange new information. Blackbirds sound like immigrants. Thrushes are gentled. And sparrows seem quieter than ever before. I hope they are not going hungry because their dreaming tracks are disrupted. Just as so many communities of people have gone hungry - not necessarily for food (although that too) but for spiritual relationship with their world.

For that matter, I hope the shrunken quiet trolls, and leshys, and the dragon-things of concrete-lined rivers, are not starved of their old dreaming, tumbled up as it is with our more ordinary roads going in prosaic circles.

7 comments:

  1. Sad thoughts beautifully expressed, Sarah.
    I wonder if we, people of the world, will ever grasp this knowledge.

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    1. some people have it. but as they are mostly women or financially poor people (because they have chosen to be poets, gardeners, dreamers) or natives, they are not listened to.

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  2. As I read this, and grieve with you, it strikes me - one the beauties of the village is the broad variety of birds and trees, and many of these have been here for decades, even centuries, because most of the homes are old too. They are converted businesses (the old post office, the old bakery, the smithy, converted barns, farmhouses) and old workers' cottages. There are very few new houses... so the songlines have hardly been interrupted for centuries. THIS is why my old soul feels so at home - thank you, Sarah, for helping me see and appreciate this xx

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    1. yes, there is nothing at all wrong with houses, only with the immense infilling of all space - although I do understand people have to live somewhere. I just wonder why they need such huge houses for their small families. And why they all need to live in narrow neighbourhoods. Why they are so greedy. Your village sounds beautiful.

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  4. everything is wise in its own ways. birds have ancient patterns of migrating, as do reindeer, butterflies, many kindreds...how will they manage if we don't curb ourselves? and that is just the physical impact...the crowded, loud, polluted modern world has negative effects on us emotionally too, and i think it foolish to believe that we are the only ones affected. like you, i wonder about the songlines of birds. and those spirits that may inhabit a river or a stone or a forest---what of them, indeed? what of the conversations we should be having with them, and with all that is? i think it's a catch-22: the world we have made starves us, so we are less able to remember/imagine/create a better world, so we keep greedily expanding along the same paths that hurt us and everything , and feel worse, and so on. we lose our songlines. we lose our connection, our kinship. more and more strongly, i feel that the way forward is a way back...

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    1. good thoughts, although sad. I think many migrating animals are not managing these days.

      I love that I can write such a post and there are people who understand it, and write back in the same way - people who know about river spirits and magic. It means so much to me in my small prosaic part of the world. <3

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