‘Lisa, do you see the land underneath the layer of the city when you look at it sometimes? Can you see what Melbourne looked like before the invasion, the land, alive?’ I hesitated only slightly.
‘Oh yeah bub, for sure. I always have, since I’ve been here. The first time I couldn’t stop crying, I was feeling the land deeply, seeing what was before,’ Lisa spoke strong without looking at me, we stopped.
‘I see the land as it was, in my imagination, the Yarra river, the swamp, the birds talk to me and remind me as I walk in this country,’ I spoke the words slowly, we looked at each other, we both understood, no more words needed, a special connection to this land and place – not ours by tribal connection, but our home, now. A spirit based connection to this country that I call home, this place we know as Melbourne has changed my life.
Special places in Melbourne speak to me. The twinkle of the Birrarrung (Yarra River) dances in my eyes each morning and afternoon as I travel the land from home to work and back again. Her many moods – steely, dredged up silt swirling underneath the surface, the reflection of the sun brightening her mood, her blueness reflecting the sky – inspire and remind me to pause, and absorb the lesson, deeply understood without words, remember this, move on, clear up the stuff you have had stirred within you, reflect the day.
I say a little dedication when I see the Bunjil stature magnificently perched over Wurundjeri Way. Bunjil stands strong his back to me, looking out over the west, my part of the city, I ask him for help, guidance, patience, his respect and carriage through the day. This sculpture of Bunjil by Bruce Armstrong is the embodiment of the creator spirit. He stands strong, sharply surveying the movement of the traffic and the movement of the people who inhabit his place, Melbourne. I am humbled and inspired by this land and the birds of her skies.