The moon opened its face, brought light into the deep hollow in the ground. Water glistened at the bottom, a long way down. Marks in the dirt showed tracks. This was the place of life, the Naji. Smoke drifted up, coiled into a spring and unwound a path. Mibba followed it, down when it went down, in circles when it spun spirals around him.

The cave swallowed the smoke, left nothing. Was this his journey? A beginning or end? Didn’t matter? He was here. One foot drifted in the air, disembodied as the wind that swirled and lashed at his head. Mibba put his foot on the path of his story.

Life came from water and spirit, of country and the lives on it, those both on and in country. Death came to all, and all ways of life led to the end.

“Look into the now of history, boy, see the whole story.” His uncle’s voice whispered from the eucalypts. Flames lit the deeply lined face on the far side of the fire. An old man with grey hair and long legs painted orange and yellow and white. Shadows and light danced in the air. Mottles of trunks endured and lived in the spirals of light; spiders and feathers and furs and barks shone for a moment.

“Is this my place?” Mibba asked. “My country?”

“Not yet, boy. First, you sing it into being. Our story of place, story of you, is sung into you. You burn with words of the sacred place to become part of country.” Sticks cracked in the fire. “You become People when you sing yourself into the story of country.”

Shadows became long and twisted. Time became short and crippled. Mibba’s eyes became dry and scratchy. His mouth opened. Words came out. Not ordinary words. Words of power, of country, of magic – words of home. The words became one long word; the place became his place in the world; the story was tomorrow, today, all times before now and all times before time. He sang his whole history as if it were happening now. It was. He became. Whole.

He fell to the earth, hands gripped on the soul of place, eyes closed.

Sun shone on a shiffle of grass tree. Kangaroos scratched at dusty fur from the shade of scrubby shrubs. Insects droned and buzzed. Birds called and chattered and sang. Mibba opened his heart to place, opened his eyes to life. His uncle lay asleep on the other side of the fire-pit.

The lights were in him, part of his journey. He smiled. It was not the end of his journey. It was not the beginning. It was simply his journey, and he would choose his path with help from the knowledge that came from his song-lines, his story of country. And the Min-Min Spirit-lights that lit up his soul.

He thanked the rebellious streak that forced his uncle’s cancellation of aunty’s plans for grubbing.

14 thoughts on “Min-Min

      • The school the Offspring went to actually introduced them to concepts like The Dreaming, but for most Australians, Indigenous peoples are still mostly invisible. Things are changing, but not fast enough.
        I think we should change Australia day to the day on which The Voice is enshrined in the Constitution. That makes far more sense to me, especially as there was no such thing as Australia on Jan 26!

        Liked by 1 person

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