I wrote poetry from the age of six until leaving the city at 40, and then I abandoned my muse. Over the past decade here on Djaara Country, I’ve written not a single poem. In the city, my muse was existential angst, uncertainty, shifting identities, and capitalism. I have no need for her in this life of abundance and joy.
My life now is profoundly imbued with agroecology – a science, a set of practices, and a social movement (Wezel, Bellon & Doré 2009). Agroecology is a scientifically and experientially justified practice of agriculture that is sensitive to the ecosystems in which it is situated and that fosters the democratic participation of farmers in the food system. I am a farmer, a butcher, an activist, and an activist-farmer-scholar researching the agroecological transition in Australia. From hands immersed in soil to stroking the bellies of grunting piglets, to clutching a boning knife seaming muscles from hanging carcasses, to tap tap tapping dispatches of persuasion and analysis, I am seeking to be here, doing this.
The process of this creative collaboration with Jess has taught me that the gentle muse who guides me through the life I now lead in common with nature is ready to flirt once again with poetry, to sing out of tune, in harmony, in questions and rhythmic pairings.