It was a blustery day, so Sam and I decided to follow the track running northwards behind the sand-dunes. Wild creatures often shelter on this eastern side  – but today there was no escaping the  January winds, which can blow from one or other quarter with sudden ferocity.

We decided to cut through the dunes onto the beach, pausing to inspect an ancient Bearded Heath (Leucopogon parviflorus) of impressive size: an Elder.  Each year we come this way,  in search of seeds for the Boatshed nursery.

So far I haven’t  been able to raise ‘offspring’  from either cuttings or seeds; I will keep trying…

As you can see from the photos, the beach was deserted: not a soul to be seen –  north, west, south….not even a gull or tern. The tide was far out, and tiny wavelets showed their flecks of white against the sea-blue.

Always a welcome and healing sight.

Thereafter we turned south along the edge of  the Bay (where Silver Mist, Morning Mist, Whimbrel and Gannet began and completed their countless voyages); past the familiar rocks and pools with their special names – and back to the shelter of our old Shack and the Lady Bay Boatshed.

January gales have been especially ferocious this year, but these two structures continue to stand firm. They have solid foundations.

Afterthought:  do gulls and terns have souls? I remember Dad declaring that dogs have souls – so why not seabirds?

I feel sure that they have tiny souls, great souls.

6 thoughts on “WILDERNESS”

  1. What a joy to read Chris–two brothers and nature.. Regarding souls of animals; I subscribe to an idea (I think from Rudolf Steiner who Maharishi regarded as a ‘western Seer’) the lower creatures share one soul hence a swarm of bees, a school of fish, or a flock of birds–one flock equals one soul. The higher species like cows, elephants, primates, dogs etc. may have one soul per two animals. These animals are close to human birth where there is one person one soul. The one soul for a flock of birds explains to me how they think as one and all turn at the same time etc. –furthermore, when one bird is lost, or dies, it is no real loss to the whole. If a man loses a finger it is a loss but he continues as one regardless..

  2. Evocative, and I am often there in body snorkelling and in mind revisiting my countless happy memories.
    Childhood and recent.
    I’ve been there twice in the past few days: snorkelling on 22nd, and exploring rock pools with a 6yo grandson yesterday.
    As for souls, does Mother Nature have one?
    If the answer be yes, then so does every living organism on Gaia.
    I’m not open to the concept of collective souls. Reminds me that we humans are still arguing in 2023 about whether fish feel pain.
    Obviously they do, but our innate cruelty encourages denial of the fact – otherwise, why would so many calamari and whiting be left in buckets of tepid hypoxic water to asphyxiate slowly, on the altar of recreational fishing?
    I believe all multicellular lifeforms have souls, and that separation of solitary from social species is spurious.
    No offence meant – each of us has a particular view based on intuition, and that is mine.

  3. A beautiful prose-poem

    Regarding propagation of Leucopogin parviflorus: All the literature says it is difficult to propagate from seed because it has a dormancy mechanism that will naturally be broken in a birds gut. So it may take up to 100 days in a seedling container exposed to regular rinsing. Alternatively you could experiment with scarifying seed with either hot water, acid or caustic soda treatments (details on application). Apparently the genus can be propagated from cuttings, which might be your best bet. You will need a rooting hormone which I can supply on next trip over the hill.

    Regarding souls: I prefer the theory that a soul is something that we develop as we live as a consequence of our actions, depth of self-reflection and the environment we create around us. (hence the idea of a soul-less place or person). In Sufi / Gurdjieff lore it is referred to as the ‘second body’ which inhabits the imaginal (angelic) realm and where it continues after we pass on. As good a theory as any other; how are we to know for sure 🙂

    Regarding Lucy the pup who you have yet to meet Chris: she is currently bewitched by her own reflection in bottom of her water bowl, digging trying to get to it, and then throwing the bowl over the deck in frustration. Sort of like looking for one’s soul.

  4. Cute about the pup and I agree, soul is a philosophy up for endless debate. Or something far simpler. And for many of us its the debate about souls that justifies the existence of the word/concept. I’m for keeping things simple, so I say, but really I never do!
    I’m an expert. At confusing myself. I love myself too much to worry about any collateral damage to those around me that may result from my garrulous self absorbed ramblings ?.

  5. About Leucopogon parviflorus: Chris, if you want some tiny seedlings, just let me know, and I’ll deliver them next spring.
    Each year in late winter hundreds germinate in the leaf litter that collects in sump like parts of the roof gutters, mainly where we’ve got overhanging river red gums.Numerous bird species (especially singing honeyeaters but many, many others) poo from those few 15 metres high trees and the mix of rain, sun,nutrients, good drainage, whatever pH results from decomposing Eucalyptus litter, and possibly the smoke from our slow combustion wood heater,seems to suit the excreted seeds.
    The hard part is getting them to stay alive after potting or after transferring to TFL kits or after popping them straight into the wirra and placing tree guards around them then watering or not watering them in the first year (extra water makes little difference to successful on-growing, in my purely home garden experience here behind the North Dunes ).
    But I have had a few wins and the largest is now 2 metres tall, but still only a relatively slender woody shrub.
    I reckon there are presettlement (pre invasion) specimens in the Dunes that are more than 200 years old.
    I base this assumption on the fact that some particularly handsome and mature looking examples in strategic Dunes locations often visited by me and a few mates in my early childhood (when we were mere organic extensions of our butterfly nets ,and were also looking for shinglebacks, eastern bearded dragons ,snakes etc) look virtually identical today. They are not senescent, nor noticeably larger, so they haven’t really changed visually for 60 years (I’m 68).
    Finally, I almost never see any seedlings in the Dunes, despite the prolific seed bank in the soil and despite some relatively prolonged periods of low rabbit numbers. I suspect that white Italian snails and some other exotic snails and slugs (etc) may be another factor but am only guessing.

  6. Corey Jackson late in 2022 came and collected a few hundred of the tiny self sets in my gutters,hoping to advance them in the Community Nursery Yankalilla, but I have not yet received feedback on that venture. (FWIW there are always many little gums wattles sheoaks saltbushes daisybushes and sundry other local native seedlings in the same gutters, not to mention the thousands that germinate in the gravel driveways).

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