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.