My clan lines painted, ninija left me in the strange blue light of the Desert clay hole. I had only ever seen pictures of Crocodiles, and most of them were in zoos! Now suddenly, this animal was my spiritual sibling. Everything was to be transformed after this Night. During the following days I did not set foot inside the biscuit tin of my dog-box. Instead I found myself walking, still naked and painted, away from the settlement and its giant Casuarina Tree towards the Buga Hills. I was no longer afraid of getting lost.
There I became magnetized to a group of pink Rocks, staring at their smooth surface. Then, I searched among piles of Stones nearby, in crevices, at the mouth of Caves, the faint traces of questions still between my lips. What was I looking for? Why? But their answers took the form of a sharp Stone axe between my fingers.
After that, I forged the form and the spirit of my new soul mate ‘Crocodile’ into the deep channels I had carved in the Rock. Crocodile. Baru. Me. I have been down to Green River day after day, often sleeping there, always within watchful distance of Crocodiles. They are pleased to see me, their tails expressively welcoming me to their homes of Mud and Water.
It was quite soon after I started my wordless dialogue with ninija that she gave me sole custody of her story. This was a supreme act of faith. She knew in some deep way that she could trust me to be her representative to the developed world: although, she and her People had no reason to believe in modern men of European descent, or in anyone with vaguely white skin. She also knew that she and her People would leave the settlement forever soon, and that it was time the world knew the true story of white man’s cruelty to the aboriginals of Australia, and to Great Mother Nature and Father Earth.
As a result of this amazing process of piecing together her story, I believe now that a story is a precious jewel found by accident in a pocket. It is to be brought out again and again, gazed at closely, breathed on and polished with a silk scarf, then secreted away once more in the darkness. I marvel at the change in me as these words tumble out. Me-the academic, the one who once detested anything made-up and insisted on the facts and proofs. Ninija says that stories are made of pure Sun and Moon, without time, without space. She insists that they live deep in the veins, the soles of the feet, far behind the eyes, and that their energy is indestructible.
Ninija knew that I must communicate her story through the elaborate means of the written word. First I must find enough pens, spending tedious hours at my notebooks reviewing and correcting, attempting to pin down ‘the Lands’ on white-fella’s paper. She giggled, calling my spiky handwriting, running Ant.
I meanwhile envied the simplicity of being able to commit everything to memory as she did and her Ancestors before had always done. I promised her that I will explain all the phrases commonly used by her People as the story goes along, so that nothing will be missed. In fact, I made a glossary so you can read up before you start the story which follows.
Oh! I almost forgot. Ninija requested that all of the Great Mother’s creations should be given the greatest of respect, and that she, her family members, and other individual names of people should remain insignificant. To try to show her deference I therefore have capitalised all natural phenomena and omitted ‘the’ to match her native language. It was difficult to explain to her the sentence conventions in English, as you can imagine, so occasionally such proper nouns are capitalised because they begin a sentence.
I thought it wise to retain the conventions so that you could read ninija’s story as easily as possible, and she left that up to me entirely. However, intellectual concepts made by white fella about Great Mother Nature’s creations are not deserving of any special indications such as capital letters.
Wisdom Tip: The caretaker stepped away from intellectual matters and expressed himself by carving into the ancient rocks. He carved his totem with a primitive stone axe. Ninija then knew he was ready to take custody of her story to convey to ‘civilised’ people. Ninija views stories and songs as the most precious of all expressions of the spirit. She and her people never wirte things down, but remember them and hand them on orally. But the caretaker had to express her story in written words. Ninija insisted that all creations of Mother Nature should have a capital letter, and that mere mortals did not deserve such importance, such was her humility.