Leaving Tjuntjuntjara

Though my time here has not been an easy ride I feel a little sad to be leaving.

A couple of people already have looked sad when I told them I’m going and asked me why and whether I was coming back.

One thing that only just occurred to me today, as a result of being able to see people’s feelings openly, is the lack of artifice here. When people live in a pressure cooker community like this where everyone knows everyone and where tensions can often run high due to overcrowded accommodation etc etc etc. besides the fact that it’s hundreds of kms from anywhere, there is perhaps little use or room for pretense.

We have become so used to walking around with the masks that our individual space and privacy allow us to construct, they may simply not have that kind of personal/individual space. And perhaps it’s just a cultural thing also. Who knows. Either way I find it very endearing. 150 people dealing with a nation-load of denial, abuse, neglect, prejudice, trauma, etc. just being themselves. In a way I guess there is little else they have other than themselves.

But they have their land, and that connection is something that I did not even begin to really see let alone understand. I’m told it is so, but I guess it’s like the air, you can’t see it, but you breathe it all the time. And perhaps it is not about understanding it anyway, but feeling it. I myself can feel the profound silence and I feel the joy in simply walking on this earth and beholding her. And I have my own experience of feeling a physical connection to the land one time when I returned to Germany one time while living in Sweden, and I have experienced sufficient altered states of consciousness to understand that there are layer and layer there. With time, perhaps, some of the feeling of their connection may permeate those who live among them, but for me, for now, I have but a smidgen of an idea.

And what of their culture? There is no easy way around it, it is dying. In it’s old form, it is dying. There are elders here still who were teenagers and even in their 20’s and 30’s when they first came in contact with western culture. People who lived on this land, ate and drank of her the way she is. What an incredible way of life to lose. Really, in scale no different to any of us suddenly finding ourselves on an alien planet in an alien society with alien laws and rules, none of which make sense to us.

But I also believe that culture was never supposed to be static, and to the degree that the dreaming comes from the land, rather than from the people, it will always be as alive as the land itself.

What of me? I have had a little glimpse of this big elephant in the room of the Australian spyche and a little bit of contact with the worlds oldest living culture.

I will weave it into my traveler’s cloak woven of experience and carry on my way.

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