What’s our creek story? A creek story that connects us with the larger earth story
Many of us would not realise we live in a creek catchment. It’s not obvious in many ways that there’s a waterway near to where we live. After all, being closeted away in a cosy house, with manicured lawns, fronting onto a sealed bitumen / concrete street, road or avenue isolates us from any sense of living in nature – least of all a creek catchment. Where do we live? We live in such and such a street or the Hillsborough Road area or the Myall Road area. Or we describe where we live by naming the suburb, Lakelands, Speers Point, Warners Bay, Valentine, Toronto, or … ??
While that happens to be true, these are human-centric descriptions. These name tags don’t relate to nature and our earthly home in a truly humble way, that acknowledges the earth first, and us, somewhere down the order, because the truth be known we are someway – a long way – down the pecking order on the ancestral family tree. Relating to a creek in the sense of being conscious of its existence, let alone its place in our lives is outside of our daily experience.*
Mentioning a street or suburb name is a very recent way of describing where we live. Not so long ago, it would have been something like the eastern slopes of Munibung Hill or the North Creek catchment – in other words a landscape description, rather than an urbanscape description.
Just as we are now encouraged to include in our address, that we live on what was land occupied by Aboriginal people, that was never ceded – in our case Awabakal country – so too, do we need to acknowledge that we live within landscapes. Within the larger Awabakal country there are multiple U-shaped landscapes. At their lowest geographical point, each of these landscapes has a creek or gully or other water course that runs from the top to the bottom of the catchment, that eventually runs into Lake Macquarie, that is connected to the Pacific Ocean. Connected is the key word. We’re all connected with waterways. From within the creek catchments where we live, we’re all part of the larger whole Our health and well-being is very much connected with the health and well-being of the catchment.
We need to reframe our understanding of where we live. Being creek conscious has to be a priority, with the health of our creek catchments up there with the health of our mental and physical well-being. We need to bring this into our everyday language, our address, our word picture descriptors, such that we feel an intimate connection with the catchment, the land, the country, all located delicately within our earthly home.
*It would only get a mention if it was to flood and prevent getting out, and then it would be seen as a nuisance, an issue to be dealt with by engineers who should overcome this ‘obstacle’ to our freedom of movement, such that it doesn’t get in the way again.
MMM … Issue 26, February 2022