Listening to Country: A Journey to the Heart of What It Means to Belong

By Ros Moriarty | Go to book overview

Prologue

THE IMAGE IS VIVID in my mind. The night I am thinking about is a clear and recurring memory. Five or six of us are seated on the ground around a smouldering campfire under a star-filled black sky by the waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia’s remote north. It is 1982—twenty-seven years ago. Our baby is sleeping in a cot nearby. There is no wind, no temperature to notice, no sounds. The darkness begins immediately behind us. My husband’s uncle, Musso, the ceremonial leader of the Yanyuwa people, is telling stories about spirit ancestors in the bush around us, about people leaving their bodies to travel vast distances, about messages birds and animals bring to people in danger. Afterwards we drift off to sleep in the total silence.

This same man hauls an enormous sack of writhing crabs across the mudflats the next day to throw on the coals of the fire. We share the sweet white flesh with his family. Laughing, talking, enjoying each other’s company. And this same man commands the hunting boat for dugong, singing the song of the animal’s spirit when it is speared, cutting its portions for distribution according to ritual and protocol. I pick up just a crude inkling of the interconnection between his powerful culture and the everyday

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Listening to Country: A Journey to the Heart of What It Means to Belong
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue 1
  • 1 - Purpose 9
  • 2 - Belonging 29
  • 3 - Giving 51
  • 4 - Meaning 70
  • 5 - Love 92
  • 6 - Compassion 116
  • 7 - Truth 141
  • 8 - Grief 164
  • 9 - Family 186
  • 10 - Forgiveness 210
  • Epilogue 229
  • References 230
  • Acknowledgements 231
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