Friday, February 15, 2008


Reading Scarecrow's blog this afternoon I wandered off to look at The Sietch Blog , as recommended, and I found it to be very thought provoking as well as entertaining. Scroll down to Jan 14th "Where our food comes from" and you will be transported to a quirky series of still life productions of which this is one. They are created out of real food - as you can see there is cauliflower and broccoli under the sea and carrot stalagtites hanging from the cave roof etc etc This reminded me of some musings I had whilst snorkelling at our shack.

When you enter the world under the sea it is, on the one hand, a foreign land which we cannot fully participate in without the wearing of special underwater gear but on the other it is totally familiar. There is sandy soil, rocks, undulating hills and craggy cliffs. There are plants adapted to all these situations, just as on the land. There are animals happily going about their daily lives on the bottom, in amongst the shrubs and trees and some on the water surface. Waves and tides are the weather and the sun provides daily rhythms, just like on land. When snorkelling we get a view as if we were a bird, flying above and we can dive down and catch glimpses of what's going on in the caves and crevices below. It is silent and awe-inspiring and can make you feel totally focused on observing your surroundings - something we sometimes don't do when on the land because we are so used to it and so busy doing things.

As I tuned in to the 3 dimensional environment below and around me I wondered about the huge variety of plants I could see, just 10m from the shore, but invisible from above. Could I eat and enjoy some of these? I know other cultures do and I am sure the local aboriginal people would have. How do I find out, I wonder. As the years go by I get more and more sorry that I am of British descent because they seem to be the race most disconnected from their surroundings, and most stuck-up and arrogant to have gone all over the world killing the locals so they could take their land and attempt to grow cabbages and potatoes there instead. All the time dressed in stupid, crazy clothes and "teaching" the people about their god! How I would love to be almost anything but 3/4 British !

We had some work people around for a BBQ before Christmas and one bloke brought a Thai friend. I had tried to talk to her during the day but she was shy and her English wasn't very good and I was busy with all the food etc. After lunch someone else asked if I would show them around the garden and this Thai lady came too. Immediately she saw some herbs and my kaffir lime tree she became so animated - explaining how to use them in cooking and medicinally - and continued chatting and exclaiming all around the whole vegetable garden when she saw something familiar. Her knowledge was astounding and obviously a part of her background and I envied her that connection with her culture and her history. It is the same with the people whose stories appear in the book "Community Gardens" - their connection to their culture is so deep and moving and, again, I felt shocked that I feel no deep connection to the native foods of Australia, only a desire to learn about them, and the culture of white westerners, in general, appalls me.
Here is another of the creations with potatoes for rocks and pieces of chocolate cake too....

As I read the Cherokee book(see below) I suddenly remembered something from my childhood that my mother had said. My great-aunt Dorothy looked unlike any other member of the family - with skin the colour of a dark summer tan, straight, black hair and a round happy face. We all loved her different way of thinking about things and her happy nature. My mother said how odd her looks were "like a Cherokee Indian" . Maybe she knew something ! She never had any children but maybe her genes jumped over the generations to me and that is why I am so weird !

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