A Song For Life - Jenni York
A Song of Creation
There is a terrible silence, a ragged-edged purple-black well of darkness, rising from the heart of the Land, casting its dreadful shadow over the whole world.
It is the void created by the absence of one billion – more than one billion - Beings, lost – lost - in the never-before-seen fires, raging infernos that have razed the Land of Australia. Their voices will be missing at Earthwavesong Dawn Chorus on April 1, 2020 – the sounds, signals, songs, croaks and cries of Beings of the more-than-human world who have perished in the fires - fires burning since July 2019 – fires which have razed more than 11 million hectares of Land, including rainforest thought too wet to burn. Many small mammals, lizards, geckos, freshwater fish and crayfish, frogs, worms, and birds such as the superb lyrebird and the plains wanderer who are ground-dwelling and thus extremely vulnerable – all silent now. Lichens, microbes, mosses and the microscopic beginnings of Life – obliterated.
It is simply unbearable. How will we bear it?
Francis Weller, speaking of ecological grief, asks “What if the feelings we have when we ‘see’ these zones of destruction in the world are actually arising from the land itself?” and goes on “It is our spiritual responsibility to acknowledge these losses. What if this (our grief) is the anima mundi, the soul of the world, weeping through us? We cannot remain separate – we are called to hold space for our Mother while She weeps through us.” So we weep – the screams of dying koalas and the horrendous silence of so many Others echoing in our consciousness – while our bodies are seared with the awareness of their pain.
Walking on the Land, singing to the Land, my voice cracks and stops as the tears break through. I take in the majestic trees surrounding me – magnificent old flooded gums, wandoo, jarrah, marri, paperbarks – I pray ardently for their safety. I start to wonder about what is being mirrored back to us by these fires.
I hear “Look into the centre of the fires – do not turn away from the suffering and the destruction. Know that you are witnessing the extinction of some of my precious Creations and recognize the role that you humans have played in their destruction. Remain present. Witness.”
I hear “There has been enough killing. Enough! Enough! Enough! You take life so lightly when it is not yours.”
I remember that Australia has the highest extinction rate of flora and fauna in the world. I remember that Aboriginal Australians lived on this Land for at least 80,000 years and survived in its many ecosystems, living sustainably and in deep relationship. I remember that it has taken less than 250 years for others – wrapped in an arrogant certainty – to wastefully use and destroy so much bounty. I remember that this attitude today is laying waste to our few remaining pristine wilderness areas. I recognise the world-wide actions which have led to the fiery destruction of so many innocent lives here on this Land.
I recall a primary truth: “You must learn deep reverence and profound respect for all Life and the interconnectedness of all Beings. You must embrace ‘not knowing’. Know your place in the web of Life and learn what you must do to be generative and life-giving.” The price of failure to respond to these directions is simply too immense to contemplate.
So we sing.
“If you listen intently, you can hear the universe singing its song of hydrogen, the first and the sustained note in the melody of creation.” N.J.Berrill, a Canadian zoologist. I have long found these words inviting and inspiring. I have imagined all the hydrogen atoms singing their chorus– the song so marvellous that two hydrogen atoms beguiled a newly created oxygen to sing and dance with them and the song was beauty and the dance was fecund, birthing the first molecule of water – and Life on a small planet at the far edge of the Milky Way became possible.
Listen intently. Listen to the hydrogen in your cells singing – the hydrogen in everything around you singing – the original interconnecting force in the universe is a song. How can we not sing? The invitation is there – has existed since the beginning to join the chorus, to find our song, to sing to all other Beings, human and more-than-human, an offering to our Mother in wonder and gratitude for all of Her creations, for Life itself.
Earthsongwave is the progeny of the song of hydrogen – a manifestation of the Earth’s imagining. As each voice is raised, before dawn, to sing to the Earth and all the Beings She has birthed, an energy is released, a creative power pulses through the air and Life shines brighter.
Australia is the oldest landmass on the planet. It is one of the first places to sing welcome to the new day. It is the place where song began – as all song birds and about 80% of all birds have their origins here. It is a tragedy that the superb lyrebird, descendent of the most ancient songbird to exist, may become extinct as a result of the fires. This year, Earthsongwave is needed more than ever.
So let us raise our voices to welcome the dawn on April 1 – let us find our courage and take a long look into the centre of the flames.
Let us sing a requiem for what is gone, affirming we will not turn away.
Let us sing a glorious alleluia for the new day and for the life around us wakening to join the wave of sound rippling around the globe – honouring our Mother and bringing blessing and healing as it flows across the planet.
May Earthsongwave 2020 be a wild crescendo of our commitment to Life.
Jenni says of herself: "I love singing. There is something magical and mystical about hearing one's own voice lifted in song with others and I have enjoyed many experiences of community singing in Victoria, Australia where I lived til fairly recently. I have been 'wild singing' for some years, long before I had a name for it - singing to the world and having the birds, the stream, the wind respond brings wild joy to my heart. This year Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus for me will be a sacramental offering - in honour of the billion voices, now silent, after our bushfires - within the chalice created by the voices uplifted around the world."
Thank you Jenni York for for your offering for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus 2020. Jenni is also a contact for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus in Western Australia.
Photograph Brodribb River, Goongerah, Far East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia