It’s fun… and we are enjoying our time camped up in the FNQ Rainforest above Cairns immensely. From the occasional swarm of fireflies to the chorus of frogs (and unfortunately toads), which greet the night. You become accustomed to the movement in the understory of the forest. The shuffle of leaves and twitch of twigs… you even come to accept that it is likely not going to eat you should whatever it is emerge for the densely packed forest.
The delights of our campfire pit are especially enjoyable. There is nothing like a campfire, the bush telly no less and its benefits to the soul. The best thing about the rainforest though is the chorus of birds that follow you during your day. They are particularly active at dawn… who needs an alarm clock when your living in the lap of mother nature.
Our visitors are multitude, from the kookaburra who comes in often with his mate to dine on any meat scraps we might have, to the occasionally wallaby passing-by who is looking for those soft sweet young grasses. You can hear the drumming call of the cassowary throughout the day, though they are a secretive and dangerous bird of mammoth proportions and we are left wondering at the animal droppings left on the ground during the night. We have yet to discover just who is leaving their calling card regularly.
The scariest sound we hear is that made as one of the giants of the forest collapse into the understory. The groan and crash when these ancient trees occasionally topple to the ground, is one that will bring you to your feet as you seek out the where-abouts of the giant who has reached the end of its life. Another mystery is in the shuffle of the understory of the mysterious forests of Aus’. These are the world of sounds which greet us throughout our time here and they call us into the mysteries of this world. We are familiar with and accustomed to the tales of children. The stories of fairies and goblins imported with out Scottish, European, English and Irish ancestors, though perhaps we are less familiar with the Ancient Lore of these forests of Australia.
In my tales of the Dreaming Series I introduce slowly this ancient Lore that is now more often than not buried deep in the Land of this ancient continent. These are tales of the mysterious forrest-man, the Jongorrie, and that of the ancient Djaranin of the underworld, the dogs of death. Tales shared around campfires of Aus’ since the Dreamtime. Those told to generations of children before the coming arrival of the rest of the world, into this mystic continent.
Another of my favourite people of Aussie legend are the stories of the Yowie, those that are still told even to this day. This mysterious race of people which lives quietly, deep within our own colonial experience, as well as legend and Lore of our ancient tribes. That which still draws the wonder of the world. In the first book of the Dreaming Series, Shadow Dreaming, I explore the knowledge of these people offering the whisper of reality and folklore wrapped within the cloak of fiction. Sure in the knowledge that there is more that we don’t know about our world, than that which we do.
Occasionally I will sit and listen for the foot fall of a Jongorrie through the forest. He is a trickster of these forests, a often grotesque little fellow who will wait, quietly for the chance to steal food and tempt children into the shadows of his world. He too makes an appearance in the tales I write, he is a constant throughout the stories and legends of this land.
Amongst the tales told to tame the curiosities of children, within the constant dangers of the bush you can also find the serpents. Known now, almost universally as the Rainbow Serpent in Aus’ they are actually a group of spirit creatures who not only bring knowledge and wisdom to their people, but also often the rule of justice and Lore. Like the serpent of knowledge who wraps around the staff of authority in European civilizations, these serpents go by many names.
Exploring the characteristics and legend of these serpents of the Aussie continent is one of the delights in my research. The most fearsome perhaps in the tales is the Numereji serpent who will steal the spirit or soul of the children who wander into the shadows. In Book 2, Sky Song, Sean who is a emerging Shaman of the stories has a particularly hard time in dealing with this spirit creature as he torments his younger brother, Tom.
I write in the present, about men who have skills gifted from the past as they struggle to cope with the modern world. My purpose is to bring to my readers the tales and legends of the Australian landscape, those of Lore that is older than time itself. These are tales born of the Dreamtime. It is the oldest and purest of Lore which struggles to survive today and there is a great deal it can teach us.
These I hope you will enjoy as much as I do, when bringing these tales to you.