Imagine being an Aboriginal Australian. (My previous post about Dreamtime will spark your imagination.) Thus transmogrified, imagine now how deep and detailed your knowledge of the earth would be: you’d know it as intimately as you do your lover’s body—which you have also explored and even sung with spirit and feeling, and with which you commingle.
Likewise, you belong with the earth, as sing the songlines that mark the place, time, tempo, and tune of your birth, life and death. Your life is a circle, beginning in a particular place and, if you’re lucky, ending in exactly the same place. What does that place look like, where a soul like yours springs forth? What feature of the earth does a person like you become upon your death?
Here’s a further glimpse into this intimate and enchanted lifeworld, where ancestors have transmogrified into features of the earth, and where, bless the Aboriginals’ wise hearts, dogs also live large enough to be memorialized in the landscape.
[See there,] That tree is a digging stick
left by the giant woman who was looking
for honey ants;
That rock, a dingo’s nose;
There, on that mountain, is the footprint
left by Tjangara on his way to Ulamburra;
Here, the rockhole of Warnampi—very dangerous—
and the cave where the nyi-nyi women escaped
the anger of marapula—the spider.
Wati Kutjarra—the two brothers—travelled this way.
There, you can see, one was tired
from too much lovemaking—the mark of his penis
dragging on the ground;
Here, the bodies of the honey ant men
where they crawled from the sand—
no, they are not dead—they keep coming
from the ground, moving toward the water at Warumpi—
it has been like this for many years:
the Dreaming does not end; it is not like the whiteman’s way.
What happened once happens again and again.
This is the Law,
This is the power of the Song.
Through the singing we keep everything alive;
through the songs…the spirits keep us alive.