His Country

A. M. Walley

Ngany Koort, my Heart. Ngany Boodja, my Country.

He remembers so vividly. How he pulled out his phone when he knew he should have run. The smoke growing and encasing the luminating streetlight, the people dispersing. He collected his thoughts, he searched for the ocean. He always immerses his feet before he sets sail.

How he took that 20-hour train ride from Amsterdam to Budapest, reducing his carbon emissions.

How his totem awaits, his responsibility awaits, the Whistling Kite is speaking to him.

He thinks of the eerie times, that shape and sound he couldn’t explain.

The date, the indulgence, the wine, how he almost stayed.

That one who he cherished but could irk him so swiftly, ‘I hear you and I don’t care,’ he roared. They would all take their turns, playing on their alluring angles, enchanting him with opportunities for boundless freedom.

But he had finally returned.

Flights, two-week isolations, some true stories, some fabricated but all equally entertaining.

Wanderlust with a yearning for his home country, and a sprinkle of mess along the way for thrills.

He thinks back to that unspeakable fear and his appreciation for life ever since. How his roaming clique grieved for their fallen member. How they were gifted a way out, safe passage home. Yet some decided to stay despite it all, wanderers until their last breath. But not him, his home was calling.

How some would say the experiences can take their toll, but the memories are lessons and the scars are proof.

He sticks his battered feet in the sand and trudges to the water, at what is now Matilda Bay. The rivers, the oceans, the waterways, Bilya, Wardan, this is all ngany Boodja! My Country!

He knows who he is... he knows his connection. He is a Whadjuck Nyoongar and his responsibilities lie here, in this Boodja