We almost tip toed through the gate, up the narrow dirt track along the edges of the fence. Grey Mulga trees are scattered and foreign grasses are fierce. A pock-marked country once rich in tin. This was the one place where mum didn’t let us walk off the track. There were recent stories of the bogan farmer firing warning shots at visitors, even though it was a listed site.
Walking over the low wooden bridge we arrived at the muted flow of Long Creek and sat in the stillness of each other’s company. This time we found concrete everywhere. Picking up the grey chunks I crushed them between my fingers. Mum suggested taking photos for evidence. It wasn’t the first time someone had desecrated her. I traced my fingers through the deep cuts in the course granite. The parks and wildlife people once thought it would be better to cut her out and put her in a museum.
A young girl fell in love. Married outside the bloodlines. This fella took his dub and ran fast and hard away from their people over the granite outcrops. But the three Willy Wag tails had been following. Always watching. Tired the young girl knelt over the gentle drift of the creek. The shadow of the Willy Wag tail grew behind her as the magic man scolded the young love. Her lips touched the water. She turned to stone.
My mum always took me to these places. Dad sometimes came. And that’s pretty much it. Mum always, Dad sometimes. I watched the water sliding over her petrified back and wondered how you know your bloodlines now. I’ve listened to the undercurrent of our four totems and intricate cycles of connection. I wouldn’t share it with someone else. Sometimes you know what doesn’t belong to everyone. Like the bogan farmer who has since died in a messy tractor accident, you shouldn’t mess with lore.
The ravages of colonisation have bread fear in blood conversations. But if I continue this self-repression it would be even worse when the world ends. I read once how a scientist marvelled at the levels of the hormone thyroxin in our people. The hormone meant survival in harsh apocalypse climates. They labelled it genetic mutation. We don’t need some white coats to tell us that the shuffling recombination of our chromosomes from mother and father was once premeditated, you could say, biologically engineered.
My mother gave me her Mitochondrial DNA, a story that follows up to her mother, along the direct maternal line out of this place not from this land. But my father’s chromosomes are from here, his country, back home.
I often wonder, how did my mum know what she couldn’t teach me? But my mum said it was the walks on the rivers, the creeks and boiling the billy. Most of all she let us walk off the track, finding our own way back to our future bloodlines.