So I put my icons into a cardboard box and started musing about what to do with them. I decided to find them new homes, in nature. To return them, so to speak. They can retain their meaning, their stories anywhere, I reasoned. I began to like the idea of one of these icons in the crook of a Kundip salmon gum and growing into it as the years go by. John Mulvaney wrote somewhere about finding a Sumatran icon embraced by the flesh of an Arnhem Land tree, dated at 400 years previous to European colonisation.
Then I wondered about how to do this thing. Should I put GPS coordinates on them? I like the idea, sometimes. And then I don't. Google Earth and other mapping programs tend to both delight and bother me. Delight: zooming down from the sky to an inlet in Ireland or a forest in Africa or my street with my old car parked out the front; all these things are just great. Finding my way out of a karri forest at night using the GPS is even better.
Bother: because I resent the constant, intrusive eye ... the Earth is our Mother and someone (Google? NASA? Captain Cook?) has spread the Mother's legs for the camera and shone a spottie on her bits, on the secret places, on the skin's curve under her hair at the back of her neck, on the creases across her belly ... The exposure, documentation and exploitation of Earth's mysterious spaces is a uniquely human foible and something I don't always want to be party to.
Also, putting coordinates on the icons is akin to starting some kind of weird treasure hunt and that's not what I'm on about. I don't want people going looking for them. But I'd love it if somebody walking through the bush one day found an icon by accident ... and wondered what an earth a stuffed white rabbit or a brass statue of Pavarti was doing in a cave, up a tree, crouched under a shelter fashioned from corrugated iron and paperbark on the red ridge line above the river.
Here is the story of the first icon who has made it to a new home.
My friend Zeb Shyne gave me this Buddha about fifteen years ago. I first met Zeb at the Rainbow Festival at Cambrey (see the photos below) when my Pearlie was just a swaddled babe. Rainbow tights, rainbow shirt, Zeb had just returned from Africa and she shone like a fireworks the first time I saw her standing on the old railway line. I wrote a story about our friendship over the years, it's here.
Zeb bought the Buddha in a Freo op shop. She bought it because, even though she already had one exactly the same, she wanted me to have one too. Like those friendship necklaces with the love hearts that crack in half, sort of.
If you have found him and then found your way here, well then, Hello! This Buddha is nice to hold in your palm. He is round and heavy. Maybe he is carved from the lignum vitae, maybe from an Indonesian soft wood. His spine is raised, giving him a hackled look of a prehistory critter but his pose is all too human. I love the frailties in his muscular, hunched pose. If you have found him, you'll know all these things and that he is in a cave, sitting deep within the recesses of the granite walls where the light is thin and the sound of the Southern Ocean swell booms and cracks all around you.
1st Cambrey photo: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/VKyLq1FhKnmKZ9GqXIPJeg