Early morning before the weekly shopping and the usual family commitments, Aunty Joan, as she is known to many, made the time to take NACC’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer Bianca McNeair to the Warlgu Trail.
Bianca shares her experience.
The trail is a place where Aunty Joan grew up; a place that holds many very special memories of her mother, her childhood, and extended family.
While she is talking, I am listening. I am listening to what she tells me and what her body language tells me. I am listening with my ears, my eyes, my hands, my feet. I am also listening to what Aunty Joan is not telling me.
“There is a little bird that lives here, this is his home too,” Aunty Joan says.
As we walk along, we are waiting. Waiting for that little bird to say hello to us, to show us that the spirit of this place is still here.
We talk about the way Aunty Joan’s family was moved from one camp to another and how her mum was ‘always in the news’ because of her fighting spirit. We talk about different plants that are native and the plants that are weeds. We talk about the relationships between the two and how the little bird is involved in this.
As we got to the end of the trail we saw the female bird, but she wasn’t who we were looking for. So we sat down at the picnic table and talked about our own experiences interacting with animals and spirit.
As Aunty Joan was telling her story I saw what Aunty Joan had described to me and interrupted her, (the only time I would ever interrupt Aunty Joan) and said, pointing to a proud little bird in the tree above us: “Is that him?”
“Yep, that’s him,” said Aunty Joan.
A feeling of relief and contentment came over me. I was meant to be there, I had shown Aunty Joan I was listening and the spirit of that place had come to say hello to us.