“The land is where my ancestors live. It’s where they communicate with me. It’s where I will live when I die”
For generations, hunters have left indelible footprints on this Earth, signs that they once occupied the land, drank from the rivers, and partook in the circle of life that was Gaia herself. Gaia’s motto was simple then, and it is still simple today: life begets death, death begets life, and as humans we have to remember that we are intrinsically a part of this circle. Yet in today’s society, we have forgotten our role, the circle, and at a basic level, what it means to be a part of it all.
There are indigenous people across the world that are still connected with the land through their culture, their stories, and traditions of old. Australia is no different. The Aborigines of the Australian Outback talk about “Dreamtime” as a state of being. Dreamtime is connected with how life began and with how the circle of life connects us all together. Dreamtime is a state of connectivity to something more ancient, something more primal, something that goes beyond description; through it, we enter into the world of sensory perception, allowing for us to see a pattern for engagement with the natural world.
You don’t have to look very far back in anyone’s genealogy, including your own, to discover a heritage of hunting. Though the reason for hunting may have changed with time, the idea, the need, and the fulfillment from it has not changed. It is buried in our blood, and for some, it creates an itch that continuously needs to be scratched.
For Manuel, and his customs, his ancestors are all around him. His culture, his way of life is intrinsically connected to the land, respecting the land, connecting to the land. His cultures’ way of doing that is through walk about. Walk about is a journey into the bush. A journey into mother nature’s bosom where he can connect with past family members but more importantly provides a means for him to reconnect with an ancient part of himself. You see ancient cultures like the aborigines still maintain that connectedness with the land. Today’s society has lost its connectivity. You may have lost your sense of being. By returning to nature, by going out and experiencing God’s creation and immersing ourselves back in the natural world something intrinsically happens. It’s almost like our internal biological clocks get rewired. A rewiring that is almost familiar. A rewiring that is old, ancient in its ways, but results in our senses, the things that allow a human to essentially feel and know that we are alive, to be resurrected. You have likely experienced this yourself. You start seeing things that you may not have ever noticed before. You start being able to smell things on the wind that intrigue you, warn you of danger, engage a deeper memory of time and space in your psyche. The touch of the land starts to feel familiar. You audibly detect how mother nature moves around you. As those typical direct senses start reengaging something almost intangible occurs that is almost your sixth sense, a sense of intuition, of danger, of familiarity, of a sense of peace and belonging. For Manuel, this comes from walk about. For you and me it comes from just leaving the busy world behind us, reconnecting with the spirituality that is who we are, and understanding, when seated in nature, our place is so infinitesimally small in grand scheme of Mother Nature and our Creator that surrounds us.
“To me, my ancestors lived out there. Lived in the bush, connected with the bush. Walkabout gives me that ability to connect with them, talk to them, be with them. Where else can I get that?”