New Economy Journal

Sacred Peaks Forged in Fire

The Ecological Economics Issue

Volume 1, Issue 4

July 2019

By - Nilmini De Silva

Piece length: 454 words

Tags: , , , ,

Cover image: Glass House Mountains, Queensland. Photo credit: Nilmini De Silva
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Rising dramatically from the plains below
These sacred pinnacles have drawn us here
Fire in Earth’s belly and ancient eruptions
Birthed the spectacle that stands before us
Once lava plugs inside volcanic cones
Eroded by time and wind and rain
The majesty of nature stands revealed

For generations, people lived off this land
Before men in boats came to conquer it all
Named by Cook, the Glasshouse Mountains
Their shape reminiscent of glass furnaces
Creating a connection with his Yorkshire home
Coonowrin, Beerwah, Tibrogargan and Ngungun
Each unique for the ancients who knew them

What was life like, before the settlers came?
When thousands gathered for ceremony and trade
They congregated when the time was right
When the trees were fruiting and there was food for all
Not a trace did they leave when they went on their way
From the Earth it had come, to the Earth it returned
Perhaps there’s a lesson from this to be learnt?

The mountain lookout is crowded with folk
This sun-drenched day has beckoned us all
Selfie-sticks raised to capture a moment
But time is needed to feel this place
To touch and smell and hear its sounds
We find a path that leads us away
From the chatter of humans and the hum of their cars

The stillness of the bush relaxes and heals
Yet stillness is not what the bush is about
The forest is chanting a melodious refrain
It’s the wind in the trees and the rustle of leaves
The birdcalls add to the symphony of sound
It’s Sunday today and I’m in my cathedral
Resonating with these rhythms is what brings healing

I wish I knew how to live off the land
To hunt and to gather the berries at hand
But this city girl still has a long way to go
Before she can learn to be one with the land
A flurry above and a flash of black feathers
The sun blinds my vision and I’m lost for a moment
Could it have been the black cockatoos?

Their habitat threatened by the felling of forests
The monotonous plantations that have come in their stead
Cannot provide for the life that thrived here
It’s progress we said—the economy must grow
How little we knew of the bounty around us
If only we’d tapped into the wisdom that thrived
For so many generations before we arrived

Sadly we chose to ignore how they flourished
Wisdom passed down from the most ancient of spirits
But what could a culture so alien teach us?
Just to stop doing—just be and listen
The old people lived and also let live
They took what they needed to live for today
Tomorrow would bring new manna from heaven.

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