I clothe myself in Mama Earth: dried eucalypt leaves tangling in my hair, coral in my eyes, stems of nuts and flowering buds dangling from wrists, seaweed and mulla mulla grass wrapping their tender arms around my body.
I walk barefoot: letting the air and the light kiss me and cleanse me reminding me of my beginnings and endings.
I lose myself in Her, and Her in me. Every part of me is dust and love, singing in a body. I am in the trees. The trees are in me.
What I wear is My Self and My Earth: medicine bag on my back, radiant body, limbs, life, breath, joy in every step.
~ * ~
I had wild photo picnics on the farm on the weekend! Check out the pictures here!
I’m in the process of catching up on processing all the photos I’ve taken in the last few weeks…
Here’s some of the photographs I took at the first birthing day celebration of my little goddess-sister-niece Freya… You can see more over at my photography blog. Yes… photography blog! I’m experimenting at the moment with having a blog with more of my photography pictures… You can see the rest of the blog at http://leonieallan.blogspot.com ~ add to your bloglines if you like!
Freya’s birthday was a precious little celebration of food and friendship and puppets and drumming. I think her favourite birthday present was from her soulmate/surrogate uncle Josh who gave her something that would keep her amused for hours: a box of tissues.
Kaylia dreams in leaves…
Connor and calcite crystals…
Connor is sometimes a firefighting dragon..
And then of course, the all important Ukelele-Off
As our little community evolves… most of us immigrants to this city with kin living away… I find that our friends are the family we create for ourselves.
There are so many stories tumbling inside me. So many stories to be heard, known, understood. So many stories to make a home inside this soul of mine.
Stories of how the light looks at Brisbane dawn, seeping into you, waking you long before you are ready. Stories of sisterhood and fierce love and unexpected tenderness. Stories of sushi and curry and cupcakes. Stories of hospital beds and meds and a ferociously beautiful octogenarian named Phyllis sharing a hospital room with three mad sisters. Stories of walks in long green and black skirts, patterned with elephants, walks waist-high through the jungle of Brisbane’s wildflowers and wilderness, magnificence and mangroves. Stories of taxi drivers who break your heart or set it free with love for humanity. Stories of wildness. And laughter that leaves you breathless and falling into trees, the kind of laughter only sisters know. Stories of hands clutching crystals. Stories of past lives and presentness and priestesses and puppies. Stories of seeing beautiful women and luscious men in my eyes, heart, camera lens.
Stories of walking through the city at daybreak with a thirsty soul, following your feet past ruptured concrete to a tiny breath of Mama Earth, a park carved into the bustle of a hill. Stories of butterflies and birds. Stories of old friends and new friends. Stories of seeing an old friend and telling him: you know who I once dreamed of being? I am that now. Stories of a picnic in an abandoned lot/park/fairy garden, a gathering of rainbow precious women. Stories of pyjama parties and making dreams come true. And the brave pleasure of being yourself, even when that self seems faintly otherworldly. Stories of pain and healing, vulnerability and loveliness. Stories of nestling with my sisters, legs and hands akimbo, revelling in our holy trinity.
So many stories. I do not know yet how to tell them, how to speak them, how to hear them for what they really are. They instead are streams of silk fluttering around inside me, and I clutch at them, threading long fingers through them, grasping them into a ball. And then I let them go, I breathe and I sit. I watch, knowing instead that on their own, with time, the silken threads will weave and warp into a quilt of understanding and wisdom. Maybe I could show you the quilt when it has discovered itself. Maybe I could share it in adorned squares: of photographs, of the little stories, of moments.
But for now, there are breaths to be breathed, and a deeply precious life to be loved.
Sometimes miracles are waiting just behind you… Me in the sculpture garden, photograph by JourneyMan
This is a story of serendipity, circumstance and miracle.
This is my story of today.
Yesterday my JourneyMan thought he’d have a look at the National Gallery of Australia website – not really a usual thing for him as we don’t get there often. We are more into the National Library for their art exhibitions, funnily enough. He happened upon a new exhibition opening there – Culture Warriors – and thought he might like to go sometime.
Last night I had a night of photographic inspiration, so this morning when I loaded up my handbag, I included my big Canon 30D – not a usual thing at all.
We went to our usual Saturday morning haunts this morning and finished early, so JourneyMan decided to take me to the exhibition. We arrived and it hadn’t opened yet, so we roamed around the Sculpture Garden instead, photographing, kissing, exploring, playing with the spring time floss, scoping out the beautiful landscape for future photoshoots. We had so much fun we didn’t get into the gallery until half hour after it opened.
As we moved up the escalators, we spotted a group of Aboriginal artists waiting at the front of the gallery. We looked at each other with wide eyes and big grins – “Honey, I think something is happening today.”
Then over the loudspeakers, the Gallery tells us that the Culture Warriors exhibition was open, and in five minutes the Aboriginal artists from the exhibition will be speaking on all their paintings.
JourneyMan and I have a deep interest in the Aboriginal culture and artwork. I feel we have so much to learn from them on so many levels, and honour how deeply they love the spirit of this land and Earth.
We walked down to exhibition, and there is a large gathering with a number of TV cameras. A Ngunnawal woman welcomed us and the artists from around Australia to her ancestor’s land. At this point, my tears began to flow. I felt so deeply touched by her speaking of her ancestors and her land, and so honoured to be there to hear it.
And then the Aboriginal artists began to speak, sharing their stories about their artworks.
Can you say dream come true?
We moved from room to room. I have been changed by every artist’s story.
The old man with his grandson sharing the story of the flying fox.
A younger woman, not much older than JourneyMan, part of the Stolen Generation, and now reclaiming and preserving her culture through art.
The man who began to cry as he spoke about not knowing his language.
So many stories to share. So much healing to take place. So much cultural beauty and spirit to celebrate.
And then, as we moved in a large group into the next gallery room, my eyes glassed over with joy and I lost my ability to speak. There, in front of an incredible portrait of an Aboriginal warrior maiden, was my favourite Australian artist of all time: Julie Dowling.
I actually wrote about Julie on my blog three years ago, and not long after, I got an email from her and her twin sister Carol who had read it. At the time I was blow-my-mind-excited from the email. Can you imagine me today, getting to actually hear her speak? She was candid, warm, articulate and precious. She spoke about finding peace in herself as she grew older, and introduced me to a scientific term that I am already a spiritual believer of.
Ethnobotany is the concept that the more we disconnect from our land, the more unhealthy we become. In other words, touch Mama Earth everyday, and eat from Her bounty.
So by now my head was officially blown off, and was shooting festoons of glitter into the air at random intervals. When the crowd moved into the next room, I took a deep breath and introduced myself to Carol and Julie. THE Carol and Julie. Artists, writers, world-changers and goddesses. And they remembered me! Holy freaking mother miracle! I told them just how much I honoured their work and appreciated what they did. They told me they liked my blog. (Dude! Can you say best day EVER?)
I think I walked away from that on clouds. I met two of my heroes.
We walked into the next room to listen to the next artist, JourneyMan grinning as I made silent joy-shrieks in his shoulder. And then… the thought struck me. I really want to photograph the twins. The vision of the photograph comes to me, and I become obsessed by it. “I need to photograph them” I whisper to JourneyMan. For me, to photograph someone has become to honour them, document their soul beauty and truly see them as they are. It has become a spirit journey, a visual exploration of the divine.
The thought of photographing them struck me as too wild, too deep, too crazy an idea. I couldn’t possibly ask them. And we walked out.
And that’s where the story ends.
Then I opened a book in the gift store, and there were six photographs of the twins. And I realised that I couldn’t let it be where the story ends. I couldn’t spend my life wondering – what if? I learned in that moment that I could live with whatever the answer would be, I just couldn’t live with not asking the question. I walked back in, still full of fear, humanness and feelings of impossibility. I told my angels – “Please be with me. I am okay if this doesn’t happen. But if you put the twins in front of me, I will ask the question.”
We walked back, and there in front of me was Carol, with her smiling face. I said “I have a crazy and wild question for you. It’s okay to say no, but I need to ask: May I photograph you and Julie?”
She said yes.
And I had my camera on me. And I knew where in the Sculpture Garden I could photograph them.
And I was there. And they were there. And we were willing.
It feels like every perfect part of life lined up today, for a huge mothership miracle dream of mine to come true… the camera, the question, the being there at the perfect time.
I couldn’t have planned it better. And maybe that’s the point: that the Universe is the Master of Creating Your Dreams for you. Just dream it, and follow your nose. And have little adventures for fun. They may just make your life path blossom with exquisite flowers.
Believe, Believe, Believe. When you least expect it, your life will change.