I grew up in a place we humans call Woy Woy Bay. It means ‘deep water’ in the language of the Darkinjung people, the traditional custodians of that land. Here, the scrubby Eucalyptus-Acacia woodlands of Brisbane Water National Park tumble across sandstone ridge and down; down to meet the serpentine backwaters of the Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia.
Growing up, that snake and lizard-ridden bushland was our backyard. The mangrove mudflats – with kookaburras and yellow-crested cockatoos careening overhead – our playground. On a sunny day, the water glittering like diamonds, this place is a kind of heaven incarnate (mind the sharp oysters hiding in the mud).
“When I needed love, I turned my tummy to the beach sand…”
On holidays, my father pioneered long drives in search of humble, grassy campgrounds, coral reef and surfing waves. These places – the collective product of more than a billion years of tectonics smashing volcanic island chains into the east coast of the Australian continent – came to feel as much like home as the towns I went to school in.
Through this our parents instilled in my sister and I a profound respect for you; our natural environment. We grew with you. We learned to tread lightly. We were taught to be inquisitive and learn the language of the land. In part out of respect, in part for survival.
When I was lonely, I would wander into your arms, stepping barefoot into the bush and climbing onto sun-soaked boulders that could comfort me. When I felt unsure, I sat with you and listened to your council, by way of intonations in the wind among the eucalyptus leaves. When I wanted strength, I sat in dusk-light and let fat raindrops crash on me as coastal thunder rolled into the scrubby hills, rocking all of us. When I needed love, I turned my tummy to the beach sand and felt the humming heart of your Pacific Ocean sooth and settle me. A constant, earthly drone in backdrop to the scratchings of some tiny creatures burrowed in the sand.
Home planet, for all that you have given me and those I love, I fear that I will never truly understand you. Never know you in your complex, beautiful entirety, as a good lover should. Never be certain of our future together. Love note in transit, I am your Juliet, gulping poison and not knowing if my words will reach your heart in time.
Across your surface there are countless ‘other worlds’ that I have never even seen, and so many that I sadly never will. Some need help and many are sick or troubled. One human life is such a short amount of time.
For all my efforts, I simply cannot get enough of you. Dear Earth, I am infatuated, through and through.
Yours until the end of time,
Written in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the ‘Earthrise‘ photograph, taken by astronauts aboard the Apollo 8 spacecraft on a flyby of the Moon. Submit your own Love letter to Earth via the Museums Victoria website.