008 Un/remarkable natureculture encounters

We would like to acknowledge that this walk takes place on and with Noongar Country, in what is also now known as Perth, Western Australia, and with Derbarl Yerrigan, in what is also now known as the Swan River.

Walking towards the sandy and shelly beach, the beach that we always walk to, the beach where Derbarl Yerrigan invites children to touch, to splash, to taste, the beach where we are learning to walk-with Derbarl Yerrigan, we were surprised. There they were, right in front of us… one, two Maali (Black Swan)!

They were so close to the shoreline. 

It was amazing!
It was unbelievable!
It was remarkable!

Almost immediately, children were in Derbarl Yerrigan. It never seems to take long. Splashing, jumping, skipping, scooping, playing. 

And then, Djenark arrives. 

She comes flying by and lands on the beach. Watching and waiting. And then, there is another Djenark, and another, and another, and another. Never before have there been this many Djenark! 

It was amazing! 
It was unbelievable!
It was remarkable!

Within seconds, they were gone. 
Where did Djenark go? 
And then three came back. 
Kwarh! Kwarh! Kwarh! Kwarh!   

For months we have been walking to Derbarl Yerrigan and having close encounters with Maali and Djenark, and today, there they were. It was definitely going to be an amazing, unbelievable, and remarkable day. Or was it? 

Although there was so much going on, our notebooks were relatively empty. No jottings, no scribbles, today was un/remarkable in so many ways.

Maybe there is something about today’s walk that is showing us how routine and our familiarity of this particular beach is indicative of children’s inextricable relations with water. 

What if our regular visiting of this spot has made it possible for Maali and Djenark to come ‘closer’ to us than usual on this walk? We didn’t flit around from spot to spot. Instead, we engaged in familiar activities at this particular place. 

Maali, Djenark, and children were underwhelmed about things we were very excited about on this walk. We thought the closeness between Maali and Djenark and us was amazing, unbelievable, and remarkable. Maybe these un/remarkable encounters are showing us naturecultures, as opposed to nature hyphen culture. Maybe there is much for us to learn about these un/remarkable natureculture encounters.

Maali seemed to be comfortable with us there and the children seemed to be comfortable with Maali there too. There wasn’t anything spectacular about this encounter today. Maybe this is just how it is? Maybe sharing water/beach/air/wind/rain with one another is naturecultures. 

Why was Maali’s proximity “amazing”, “unbelievable”, or  “remarkable”? Maybe today’s encounter shows us that living well with each other, involves being with each other while carrying out regular everyday routines.