In the beginning I carried fireflies for fuel, used a walking stick borrowed from the first blue gum and stuffed my pockets with scribbly bark; it seemed important to write the journey ahead, as proof it was no dream. And I left – unnamed, when all the land lay sleeping and in the rain as it drew leeches across the forest floor in a dance of thirsty life that drew my blood in a line from south to mouth. It took a thousand inhalations to strike the point where the bandicoot and blue tongue tended the watershed between this world and the next as I sang a path between their small wonders and the rhythm of digging up laws laid down like a story in the land. Then I drew the stale water of my soul northwards. As I went, it became thicker and bluer, full fresh and clear and I slithered it off one page, picked up again on the next. Maybe this is where I went wrong; became separated from truth by binding thin sheaths of paperbark, while my journey saw me flanked by corkwoods straight as an invaders gun barrel. But I had begun and I must shoulder these weapons and feel the maidens hair beneath my feet, beneath emerging Turpentine, Brush Box, Rosewood vibrating with the singing of ten thousand cicadas. There was nothing for it but to push through noise and humidity, scratched from claws of sound and thrice I jumped from mountain to mountain over the fat body of a red-bellied black snake, neck flared, mouth open, as it spoke the first language. And at that moment, all the animals uttered their thoughts, but I heard none and knew I was not part of this anymore. And so on the third day, as the sun grew hotter than the moon, I rested in a deep pool of narrative where the last giants bathed their feet; and raised wet, shaggy heads above the forest, rough beards of epiphyte and limbs daubed with lichen, their lined and weathered skin running with rain. I would have to steal between their feet singing my song of exile and counting the reasons man had been cast out of nature: for the writing of journeys, for the conceit of words that possums no longer speak, for greed and gunbarrels and on the last morning in that place, the scrubwren landed by me, yet did not offer a farewell. If we have stepped outside nature, who will sing us back in again?
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