It is raining like a rag squeezed hard
Big drops and dollops
Softening eventually into intermittent showers
Beneath these timorous sounds lies the nightly conversation of insects
I wonder what they say, do they talk to each other or nature itself?
Where does nature begin and end?
We humans seem to separate ourselves from it, like it is “out there” beyond our windows and doors, beyond our verandahs and we are in here. Separate, apart.
But I know differently
I have slept with my ear to the ground, only a thin tent floor separating me from a mound of still growing soft tussock grass with the gauze offering scant barrier between me and the soft thumping beat of a moonlit kangaroos feet
I’ve gone stiff as a board listening to the squeal and snort of wild pigs trampling up the creek, worrying for a minute and then forcing myself to soften, recalling no hikers have died from wild pigs
That I know of
I have laid awake for ages unable to sleep for the shining beacon of a full moon on my face – being bathed, embalmed in shining light and unable to escape except to pull my buff over my eyes – muffling my ears, yet still I felt silver stroking my skin – I swear I thought I would wake up coated in sterling, gleaming
I didn’t do much sleeping
Nature is loud when you’re out in it
The lap of water, kissing the shore, the sounds of night birds – sounding sleepy just like we do as we murmur in conversation before falling asleep
The whisper of a lizard racing for a meal, tail disturbing leaves, sounds entering my consciousness with all the caliber of drunks banging cans up a street
Because these small sounds shatter the stillness of the land at rest and a sky that is hung with stars so close I could reach up and pluck them from where I lie so very far beneath
Meaningless, nothingness, tiny, me, melting into the landscape in the dark as inconsequential as a beetle carrying a leaf
Now – even in here – once again indoors
If I am quiet enough and turn off the light
In the dark, with time, I lose sight of my beginnings and endings
My feet feel invisible, my extremities disconnected
As I breathe deeply into the depths of my heart, I come apart
Become less of who I am and more a part of the rain, the bugs and the smell of damp ground
I am not separate
I am found
Just here, a part of nature’s skin and hide
Perhaps with practice, I can dive even deeper inside her
All that is, and ever will be
Just here, but only for a little while
Ninety years or so alive in this form
Thousands left afterwards, perhaps, in just the shapes of whitening bones that nestle in, cradled by the earth
*I asked my Mum once when I was a little girl “what is death? Are you scared of it?”
She replied that death was just like going into another room. We couldn’t come back to this one perhaps, but we were just in another room.
I don’t know from where she got her theory, or even if it was her truest theory or just her most presentable one, given my age, but like any small child I took my Mothers idea as my own, and it has served me well enough until quite recently.
Header photo: top of Battleship Spur looking back down to the snake track of the Carnarvon Gorge. Scrambling up cliff faces and mountains isn’t pleasant on the body, but the views and feeling of achievement are spectacular. Nothing worthwhile is ever attained without a bit of sweat.
Blog post written 24th March 2022