Posted: November 26, 2018
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Gillies Poem


I can’t help but wonder how long it will take
for our adventures here to slip my mind.
For how long after will I remember
the way the setting sun spills over the ridges of the Gillies,
illuminating and shading them
like knuckles,
old and worn, strong and proud,
that have played the echoing tune of rustling leaves
and digging brush turkeys like piano keys.
Magnificence manifests in the meandering meadows of the Tablelands
and the mountains
that melt into the Pacific in the mist
of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Do you remember
waking up before it is time,
and then sleepily going outside (to pee),
and seeing huntsman’s eyes,
and the bleeding soil eroding from our fingertips far too quickly.
I remember early walks, and hot seat talks,
and pausing in the corridor
that connects our nightly source with our daily sink
because I heard a twig snap;
quickly raising my eyes my watching my step
only to see the morning sun splashing onto tree tops,
saturating the brown cuckoo doves and chowchillas
as they begin their performance that evolution has effortlessly crafted for them.
It’s a dance done by their vocal chords,
or whatever they’re called,
and it rustles through the air
and clings to our ears
and hangs in our throats;
it’s a song in the wind,
that roots us to the granite that used to lay under sediment,
that used to be a reef,
that used to not be a revegetation site,
that used to just be…
Will we remember the shades of green
that are too many to count,
and the amethystine that sits, mounted,
on a branch in the sun on these mountains,
and so unimpressed with us,
who try to capture the moment that this serpent relishes in every day?
For how long will we remember how small we are,
as we stand next to trees that have stood for centuries,
as we pause and stare
up toward the diamond-encrusted ceiling
at the top of our snow globe;
the feeling of waking up in a cabin in the rainforest,
and pausing for a second and realizing
where we are,
and where you are,
and where I am.
This daily epiphany chills my bones in the most comforting way,
and dances over our skin,
and hangs in our throats,
just like the insides of us
that we so bravely shared during those
hot seat talks and late-night walks
across these old eroded knuckles that—
we cannot manage to wrap our heads around—
most of our loved ones will never know as we do.

→ Rainforest Studies in Australia

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