Dear Sor Juana,
There are signs that autumn is settling in and while she has not quite fully made her home, the leaves on the vines are starting to turn, the mornings are cool and the last of the summer fruits are finding their way to the table. Apparently the word autumn comes from Latin via the Etruscans making the journey to autumnus via augere meaning “to increase”. What are we increasing in these days? After the harvest, we find we have more darkness, more coldness, more nakedness in the European landscape.
The Kaurna people call this time Parnatti – before winter rains, while there is still the potential of bushfire and the south easterly winds are licking the coast line. The mixture of our natural and exotic species can be confusing but somehow it resolves in the sunsets.
Dear Sor Juana you too would have faced the confusion of introduced and indigent in your landscape too, inside and out of the court and perhaps you too had your own sense of what the season should hold and how it would play out. The season you joined the court brought you more notoriety and harvest for your words and your thoughts before you chose silence – your winter defiance to authority making no more of your poetry and playwriting.
Ancient redgums that have stood for generations, and long before colonisation were felled this week in Willunga – a town whose name means “place of trees” in Kaurna. It seems developers, local council officers and planning laws conspired together, indeed decreed, they be felled. The travesty leaves me in silence. This is not a harvest of wood for fires and warmth, instead it is a desecration now fuelling anger, heartache, homelessness for the creatures who found sanctuary and food. A new species of homeowners will come, and the money made from this fall will be cursed by the ancient custodians of the land.
The clash of two worlds is sawdust on the place where the evergreen faithful Eucalyptus Camaldulensis once stood. Their crucifixion via chain saw and planning law, short sightedness and lack of imagination has brought winter to Willunga earlier this year.
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