1970s, Aboriginal, Australia, bees, Bob Randall, borage, calendula, chemtrails, citrus, climate, climate change, Companion planting, daffodils, Dja Dja Wurrung, First Nations, flowers, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, geoengineering, Happy Wanderer, Hardenbergia, Hardenbergia violacea, honey, imperialism, indigenous plants, invasion, Loddon Aboriginal Protectorate Station at Franklinford, marmalade, nasturtiums, Native American, native lilac, native plants, On Earth, oranges, pollen, pollinators, Soldier Boys, Songman, spirituality, sun, Susan Charles Rankin, Susan Rankin, This Day, Three Fruits Marmalade, vitamin D
It’s been nearly a year since the last missive from The Buzz – one year tomorrow, in fact – and it’s high time that situation was addressed. So address it I shall.
Looking back on ‘This Day, On Earth’, from this time, last year, the garden is in a similar state, albeit more profuse all ’round. The veges are experiencing that late winter burst of growth and green, splashed through with calendula run wild. There are a few daffodils and the perennial soldier boys (pictured above), adding to the overall yellow and orange colour scheme, which is excellent for attracting pollinators.
I’ve picked all the oranges, as the tree seems poised to flower again, and the mandarins have either been eaten or transformed into marmalade. The profusion of self-sown borage and nasturtiums around the base of the citrus trees guaranteed a bumper crop this year – in spring the hum of the bees almost drowns out the ambient sounds of the city.
There’s an old Greek man, up the road in Preston, who keeps bees and sells his honey around the traps. It’s the most amazing honey and I like to imagine that some of it comes from the flowers in my garden. After all, bees travel far and wide in search of pollen, and our garden has no shortage.
One plant that fairly drips with bees, from the moment of its mid-winter flowering, is the indigenous Hardenbergia violacea, or ‘Happy Wanderer’, which is its ‘common’ name. It’s also known as native lilac, but is in fact from the pea family. We’ve grown a white Hardenbergia over an arch, next to the lemon tree, and it has happily wandered across the arch, and up through the lemon, and elsewhere. Walking under the vine on a sunny day is a matter of weaving through a cacophony of bees. And the lemon tree has benefited from the close proximity, with a never-ending supply of grapefruit-sized lemons.
I’ve let myself get distracted by bees again, by the necessity for flowering companion plants to attract pollinators in order to produce good crops. Yet I’m constantly surprised as to how few people understand this simple equation. Here, in Australia, a vast majority of indigenous plants are winter flowering – a bonus on many levels, as we can have colour in our gardens all year ’round, and they draw a variety of pollinators over the colder months. Not to mention how beautiful these native plants are, along with hardy and, in the main, drought tolerant.
Anyway, enough of waxing lyrical on bees and their friends. That’s the contented side of me coming out, and this post isn’t titled ‘The Winter of Our Discontent’ for nothing. I’m probably not speaking for everybody but the past few months have been characterised by a sense of foreboding, not helped by the almost daily masking of the sun by geo-engineered clouds. All living things need vitamin D, and it’s been in terrible short supply. Sometimes I joke that ‘they’ let us have a few hours of the stuff just to keep us from revolting. But then, who’s got the strength to revolt if you’re suffering from heavy metal toxicity or depression from vitamin D deficiency, or any one of the number of illnesses caused by lack of sun?
And if you’re still amongst those who are in denial about the extent of the spraying going on above us, then I’d suggest you ‘look up’ on occasion, as any self-respecting gardener should. Or do some research, going back to between the world wars. Geoengineering Watch is a good place to start, as Dane Wigington’s research and referencing is impeccable. I take photos of chemtrails all the time, for posterity. The picture above is from a particularly bad day over Melbourne, not so long ago. And yes, that ‘cloud’ came out of a plane …
So, on top of the mood-altering nature of the climate, there’s the mood-altering nature of this so-called society – which enslaves humans in order to prop up its economic system and keep a minutely small portion of the population in control and wealthy. Very wealthy. While there has definitely been an awakening on a global scale to the reality of the systemic violence of corporate capitalist imperialism, for many there’s a level of frustration in how slow the majority is in realising that they are being exploited, and that they are infinitely expendable. The global elite simply do not care about us – they care about us as little as they care about the health of the planet and as soon as we let go of the myth of benevolent government and of capitalism, the better for both us and the planet. Personally, I find the short video below useful in explaining to folks what’s really going on.
One of the remarkable shifts that is occurring is the renewed acknowledgment of the First Nations’ relationship to the land and their spirituality as a powerful alternative to the ‘culture’ of death that is capitalism. By First Nations I mean those people who were the custodians of continents prior to European invasion; in Australia I’m referring to those 600+ tribes that became known as ‘Aboriginals’. More and more, people of European origins are turning to the law and lore, and spirituality of First Nations people, as part of a rediscovery of what it really means to be human. (Hint: it has nothing to do with the size of your television screen.)
This is a historical juncture similar in momentum to the 1970s, but way more crucial, 40 years down the track of planetary destruction. And what is giving the elite a pain in the butt, and making this global movement so powerful, is social media. If they’d had social media in the 70s – that is, some control of the flow of information – perhaps the ‘counter culture’ would have prevailed, and we’d all inhabit a better world. Nostalgia, however, only contributes to discontent.
First Nations people, from all over the world, have been telling us, for a long time now, that our mother, the earth, simply will not tolerate the level of disrespect and harm that is being caused by rampant greed, exploitation and consumption. As Native American Elder, Floyd Red Crow Westerman says, in the clip below, this is a time of purification for the earth. The illness that is imperialism, and its progeny, is being purged, and that is a good thing.
Amongst the discontent, then, there is a strong thread of acceptance that the earth will right itself and we can look forward to a future less addicted to destruction, whether we are here to see it or not. Those who think that they can control the weather, destroy our environment; who think they can drill deep into the very core of the earth and not suffer consequences, are drunk on greed and power. And they’ll wake up one day with a really nasty hangover.
Accepting that the earth is more powerful than any human is a means to picking some battles and fighting them to the best of our ability, without being over-whelmed at the monumental nature of the task ahead. Part of that acceptance is realising that all life on this planet is intricately connected, and that we, as humans, are intended to be the custodians of the earth, and of each other.
About a month ago I nearly severed the little finger on my right hand during a bout of serious gardening. At first, and even following the micro-surgery to reconnect the artery, nerve and tendon, I thought – it’s only my little finger; it’s not that important. Now, a week since getting the plaster off and being told to wear a splint for a month, I’ve revised my understanding of the role of the little finger in the larger scheme of things. This realisation was reinforced the other night, while reading the autobiography of the late Bob Randall – Songman: the story of an Aboriginal Elder – in a passage about finding his Ngura (country) of birth.
Uncle Bob Randall writes: ‘Many non-Aboriginal people are fascinated by the deep spiritual relationship we Aboriginal people have for our country. It is the fourth dimension of our identity, like our hand is to our body.’
And, with the tendon in my arm throbbing up to my neck and down my back, all stemming from that slice in my little finger, I suddenly began to understand – in a visceral sense – the pain of Invasion and of the continuing theft and destruction of their country for the First Nations people. Losing our connection to the earth, for all humans, has meant the loss of a vital part of the whole. We need to concentrate on putting ourselves back together again, and in doing so, reclaim our true place as custodians of this remarkable planet.
Dja Dja Wurrung Elder, Susan Charles Rankin, visiting the Old People in the cemetery at the former Loddon Aboriginal Protectorate Station at Franklinford, Victoria. The area is known to the Dja Dja Wurrung as Larne-ne-barramul or the habitat of the emu.