Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
In Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth, we have gone from The Big Dry of the ten to twelve years of drought to 2010 and The Big Wet. Floods again in the Riverina. I believe we have entered the mindscape of John O'Brien's Hanrahan - and the poem - in spite of its humour - provides much food for reflection both in terms of Earth's current ecological crisis but also our own ability to find our place in the purposes of the planet.
by John O'Brien
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan, In accents most forlorn, Outside the church, ere Mass began, One frosty Sunday morn. The congregation stood about, Coat-collars to the ears, And talked of stock, and crops, and drought, As it had done for years. "It's looking crook," said Daniel Croke; "Bedad, it's cruke, me lad, For never since the banks went broke Has seasons been so bad." "It's dry, all right," said young O'Neil, With which astute remark He squatted down upon his heel And chewed a piece of bark. And so around the chorus ran "It's keepin' dry, no doubt." "We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan, "Before the year is out." "The crops are done; ye'll have your work To save one bag of grain; From here way out to Back-o'-Bourke They're singin' out for rain. "They're singin' out for rain," he said, "And all the tanks are dry." The congregation scratched its head, And gazed around the sky. "There won't be grass, in any case, Enough to feed an ass; There's not a blade on Casey's place As I came down to Mass." "If rain don't come this month," said Dan, And cleared his throat to speak- "We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan, "If rain don't come this week." A heavy silence seemed to steal On all at this remark; And each man squatted on his heel, And chewed a piece of bark. "We want an inch of rain, we do," O'Neil observed at last; But Croke "maintained" we wanted two To put the danger past. "If we don't get three inches, man, Or four to break this drought, We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan, "Before the year is out." In God's good time down came the rain; And all the afternoon On iron roof and window-pane It drummed a homely tune. And through the night it pattered still, And lightsome, gladsome elves On dripping spout and window-sill Kept talking to themselves. It pelted, pelted all day long, A-singing at its work, Till every heart took up the song Way out to Back-o'-Bourke. And every creek a banker ran, And dams filled overtop; "We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan, "If this rain doesn't stop." And stop it did, in God's good time; And spring came in to fold A mantle o'er the hills sublime Of green and pink and gold. And days went by on dancing feet, With harvest-hopes immense, And laughing eyes beheld the wheat Nid-nodding o'er the fence. And, oh, the smiles on every face, As happy lad and lass Through grass knee-deep on Casey's place Went riding down to Mass. While round the church in clothes genteel Discoursed the men of mark, And each man squatted on his heel, And chewed his piece of bark. "There'll be bush-fires for sure, me man, There will, without a doubt; We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan, "Before the year is out."
Friday, October 15, 2010
I love the picture at the top of this blog. In many places this many made water would be called a dam, perhaps a turkey's nest dam. In western New South Wales, people refer to them as tanks. Without these human-made water diversions and storages animals would not be able to survive, and human beings would not be able to rest a livelihood from an arid landscape.
Yet like everything in our not-quite-perfect world these water interventions can be problematic. Australia is only just beginning to devise a system of accounting for all our water...but some things, like this tank, for some reason best know to those devising the system will not be included. And as those of us who are Spirit-ed know, unless we tell the whole story - not just a part or a biassed perspective - we kind of meet ourselves coming back sooner or later, don't we.
A little water and a little soap can make a huge difference in saving lives and helping us to ward off disease. I love the emphasis on the kids because we want them to grow up strong and resilient, don't we.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The Earth Quaker Action Team is a group of people
dedicated to ensuring the well-being of our planet
by using nonviolent direct action
to stand up against destructive and unjust practices,
This video explains the groups mission, how it came about,
and its BLAM (Bank Like Appalachia Matters) campaign,
It was filmed at Appalachia Rising on 9.21.10.
Monday, October 04, 2010
…and no bees will buzzz.
It seems this week that I have a focus on the birds and the bees. Perhaps it is just spring. I think that’s the reason. Spring has an expectancy, a longing. We love to see the blossoms, we love to hear the birds coming out from the rain and singing, and we do like to know that the bees will do their vital part in the continuation of this precious cycle.
I would ask you, Networkers, to pop across to Duncan’s blog where he says
As I walked through the bush I saw and heard no birds, and failed to see the flowering shrubs and plants that used to delight the eye, and as things stand I can only see the situation getting worse with further losses of biodiversity.
Birds and plants are not the only groups suffering of course, In the sixty five years I’ve been observing nature in the local area, native mammals have disappeared, frogs and reptiles have declined, and native fish and other aquatic life have taken a big hit from reduced stream flows and the introduced European carp.
Have we done this or is this just nature doing its thing? Is this changing climate or a change in the cycle? Let’s not ask questions. Instead, let’s put our energies into thinking about our behaviours, what we consume from the planet – to the extent that there is not enough water, air, food for the birds, the bees, the fish and us. And please read Duncan’s blog.