Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fragments of Friends #2 by Ky

My father gave me a gun. My mother washed my clothes.
Walking past my friend's rainwater tank, stepping carefully quietly, though firmly, took me back to a hunter. Downwind of a mob of kangaroos, stepping quietly so they wouldn't hear or feel, but firmly enough for nearby snakes to feel the earth shake, then they'd move away.
The roos would stand up from feeding if they felt you.
Little ones would carry on, the boomer if suspicious would raise one leg and strike the ground, a warning to be watchful. The young bucks would pay attention, moving ears, looking around, and sniffing the air. You'd have to be still and wait.
If the boomer raised both legs lifting himself on his tail, and brought both legs down with a louder thump you knew you only had a few seconds to get a shot away before some moved away, usually the females first. If the boomer didn't move they'd stop at a distance.
A double thump, striking the ground twice rapidly in succession, they'd all turn immediately and leap away.
A young buck, the best meat, leapt away jumping long. As he was at the top of his leap a quick shot sent a bullet through his brain. A total fluke shot. Could take that shot a thousand times and not hit anything.
Dead in mid air he fell, skidded tumbling on the ground and came to a stop.
Immediately gutted with a bowie knife there was less weight to carry. The intestines left for ants foxes crows or eagles.
To carry a hole was cut in each ear and through the end of the tail. A green short stick cut and sharpened at one end was pushed through one ear, the tail, and then the other ear. With his tail over my shoulder it was like carrying a shoulder bag.
By now the sun was setting and it was a dusk walk a couple of kilometres home.
One time i carried three home, one on each shoulder and the other slung over my neck. My shirt, shorts, legs, and bare feet covered in blood.
Once home the roo was hung up under the trellis grape vines off the back verandah, to be skinned in the morning.
Then it was to the snake infested woodheap to chop wood, light the copper, carry buckets of water to fill the copper, wait half an hour or so, and then carry buckets of warm hot water to a wash tub, to wash the blood off.
We didn't have electricity.
My mother would wash my clothes the next day on a scrubbing board in a wash trough, using soap made from animal fat from other killed animals.
Couldn't make roo soap, they didn't have much fat on them.

The next day nothing was wasted. Skinned, his hide nailed to a shed wall.
Tail for kangaroo tail soup. Steak and roast cuts put in the meat safe hanging from the verandah roof or in summer, kept cool in the coolgardie safe, water soaked  hessian over a metal frame.
Offal to eat, meat and bones for the pigs chooks and dogs. Sinews for string. His scrotum dried for a handy bag or purse. Could drill  holes in claws and toes, thread with sinew for necklaces or bracelets.
Roo claws are hard and strong. If a roo took a dog into a swamp or lake, out of a dogs depth, their claws and powerful forearms would hold a dog under the water to drown it, and lifting one leg, disembowl it with one strike.
Once he hit the ground this roo went in all different directions. His hide tanned, now a floor rug in a swanky apartment in London.
In his final bounding leap he travelled a long way.

I grew up alone in the bush. Dirt poor, no money, but always plenty of food.
Good, natural, healthy food. Roos, rabbits, parrot pie, bronze wing pigeon. My father had a recipe for cooking galahs. They were tough. Drop them into a pot of boiling water with an axehead. When the axehead was soft the galah was cooked. Catching parrots was fun. Soak some wheat in kitchen cooking sherry and spread it around.  When the parrots got drunk could chase and catch them.
The toys i had to play with were sticks and stones and my brain.My backyard was one thousand square kilometres of bush, and if i crossed one road, another thousand.
One time my father tracked a six year old city boy lost there, for three days and nights. The boy had gathered leaves and fallen branches to keep himself warm on the freezing nights. My father showed me a letter he'd received from the commissioner of police, thanking him for finding the boy.
Coastal woodland and wetlands.
Jarrah, Redgum, Paperbark, Blackboy, (though supposed to call them grasstrees i think in order not to offend someone), Boronia, oceans of gold Morrison, Swamp Banksia, Bull Banksia, (wonder if that is offensive to cows).
Some people take up a big chunk of their ego with being offended.
Raised by rocks trees kangaroos sheep birds chooks pigs and dogs i didn't have a huge vocabulary. Could see and feel things though.
Lying on the ground, atoms melting into the earth, merging with the earth's energy and love field, sometimes could see everything.
Could talk to trees but only listen to rocks. They're the wisest people on the planet. Everything in my world is made of sticks and stones, rocks and trees. I heard a politician talking about 'treehuggers'. I thought he must be talking about me. I've been hugging trees since i could crawl.
Crawling through a patch of lupins one day, I'd felt the earth moving around, and knew if i kept crawling towards the sunset i would end up back in this place.
So i did that. A couple of times around it, and round about it.
I had grown up in paradise. I didn't know the world that humans had created.
Other than the whispers, of the economics of the great depression, the politics of war, social justice, and compassion. My parents never ever abused me, physically, emotionally, or psychologically. I grew up in love.


  1. I agree with Rachel. I am a bit transfixed by this post. I keep reading it over and over.