I was indeed a professional collector back then! My neat rectangular book spines and sharp corners, and the sharpened leads of pencils and precision-made nibs, had actually become my arms and legs, my eyes. And yes, even my heart, my strange collector’s heart. In fact, all my indexes and bibliographies practically formed a fine film under my fingernails and across my top lip. Oh yes, it is true that I would have killed to protect my collection ‘back then’ in ‘white-fella ghosts’ Lands.
Then one day ‘back then’ I was moved to do something very strange. Call it a sign from heaven, a directive from my higher self if you like. It happened the day they, ninija and her People, finally left, and I stayed behind to make the last arrangements.
Almost immediately the queer procession had disappeared from my view, I was moved to go out and bring many Grass baskets made by ninija’s women into my ‘dog-box.’ Then, as if hypnotised, I stiffly took armfuls of my precious records, and fed their spines into the baskets, as easily as if they were unlatched concertinas.
As I fuelled the baskets, the meticulous order of my precious records slipped and slid inside their curves. Then, because of the intense heat, I slowly carried each basket outside, one by one. It was still hot even during the Night at the beginning of the Dry season – the time in Australia when there is no single drop of moisture in the Land, and the Rocks are hot enough to fry eggs and boil a billycan of Water on.
Outside, I walked from one of the many rubbish heaps to another. I opened each note-book unseeingly, tore out chunks then mixed them with my hands in with the other discarded items. A page here with a blue dress, a few pages on the back seat of a derelict Ford station wagon inhabited by striped Emu chicks. Emus by the way are the very tall flightless Birds which inhabit the Desert, rather similar to the Ostrich which lives in Africa.
Perhaps I should explain the presence of these rubbish heaps here in the Desert. If you rummaged through them, you would find a thorough treatise on the subject among the discarded pages of my notes and photographs. Perhaps rubbish heaps also constitute some kind of collection. Though in this case of deliberately discarded items, not those worn out, finished-with or rotted as in civilised societies. The items which compose a rubbish heap here consist of anything which is not part of the Great Mother Nature’s treasures.
During my field work here, one of the most important things I have learned is that ancient ninija and her People are truly not collectors. On the contrary, they do not value these unsolicited donations from the real collectors. What is their motivation for donating you may ask? In short, to civilise, to sterilise, to regularise, and to make life ‘Easy,’ ‘Happy,’ and ‘Sexy,’ to use lumaluma’s words.‘Easy-Happy-Sexy’ is another place in white-fella’s Lands, along with ‘back there’ and ‘back then,’ according to ninija.
In fact, the rubbish heaps exist exactly because ninija and her People have no use for disposable material goods. They snatch them with no sense of gratitude, initially aroused by their novelty. They are attracted by their unaccustomed colours and textures, and by unfamiliar concepts such as those of toys, culinary aids, paper goods, textiles, metal and plastic fashioned into shapes. Then they pass them quickly through their fingers and discard them. In this way, the heaps of mixed ‘civilised’ gifts accumulate inside and outside their uninhabited dog boxes. They very quickly discard them too because they are made separate from the Lands inside.
Wisdom Tip: The caretaker was moved to destroy his meticulous collection of academic records once Ninija and the tribe had left the settlement. Through living right in the middle of the moment, he had contacted his higher self and was moved to let go of everything. He had touched impermanence – the realization that all things in this material world are transient. Indigenous peoples deeply realise the transience of human life which influences the way they live and die. All the academic records the caretaker had made in his capacity as anthropologist, were discarded along with all the material items donated to the tribe.