Sunday, May 27, 2007

Seeking Place, Finding Home: Blue Soul of the Planet

Arriving in a new city, my desire is to get to know place and connect with local sacred and special places. Here in Brisbane it is the river, a wide tired tidal river that brings identity to this place known also as the River City.

The river is wide and flowing - a rowers' and walkers' delight. Rowers' and kayakers' voices rise up the steep slopes from the water as I walk along the narrow track, getting to know the river, its qualities, its colours, the way it looks blue or brown depending on the time of day and weather. Red wrens scatter through the undergrowth; currawongs call across the wide expanse. It's a quiet pleasant morning until I find an injured possum hiding in the bushes along the track.

Luckily there are locals about who can help and know what to do. These are the same folk who look after this patch of river. The bushland river keepers. I've joined this band of volunteers who love this place. Today we're clearing weeds but as we scrabble under the native Hibiscus cutting out one of the nasty voracious weeds, its tiny thorns cut our arms to shreds and our blood drips onto the dry dry earth. There's a severe drought here, so severe that the trees are finding it hard to cope. Some trees have lost all their leaves due to stress of no rain; others look like they might die of thirst. Their leaves droop patiently waiting for rain. It comes sporadically, drizzling, no heavy downpour to give the river a real drink.

Pedro Arrojo, the inspirational Spanish economist calls water 'the blue soul of the planet'. The river is the soul of this place. The people who care for it support the river's soul to continue flowing from the mountain to the sea.

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