Monday, February 16, 2009

The Bluecray Journey - the Bluecray Totem : how it all began

The Blue Crayfish totem is attached to my journey for Wisdom in the Land, and my journey to further Environmental Advocacy within the Mt Warning Caldera Region. This attachment occurred via a series of events and experiences that occurred within the Mt Warning Caldera , on the central east coast of Australia.

Totems can be symbolic spiritual and physical helpers in a world where nature has become largely divorced from decision making processes. Caring for a totem, and caring for the country or water that the totem lives in, is intrinsically tied with land and water stewardship and custodianship. Dreams, life experiences, instincts, higher mind, life continuity & journeys as well as relations with others can all be entwined by a totem.

This word - "Totem" - may conjure up many different images and ideas, depending on who you are, and how your life experiences occur. For me, a totem is something sacred, between me, my spirit and the land I live and breath in. I became aware of my first Totem when I was less than five years old. When I meet others with common totem bond, my connection with them comes very quickly, even when we share differences of opinion.

I would like to share my story with you - of how the Bluecray became this "Totem" ,becoming a partner in the journey for Wisdom in the Land.

Many years ago, I was blessed to work with some inspiring lay and professional botanists.
One such botanist, Dave Jinks, invited me to join him on a journey into the Springbrook National Park , SE Queensland, as he and members of the Queensland Herbarium sought out a beautiful Rainforest Tree species that he had discovered back in the 90's. The purpose of the journey was to find these rare trees, take botanical samples, returning to identify and classify them into a new known species - now known as Eucryphia jinksii . I tagged along as a spectator, and the journey has remained with me to this day.
This tree that Dave Jinks had discovered was extremely rare (currently listed as threatened under Qld legislation), with beautiful large cream white blossoms - a tall canopy tree that had remained undetected during white settlement of this region. It is considered to be a primitive relic rainforest tree from the great ancient forests of Gondwana .

To find this superb tree, we travelled high into the Springbrook National Park, passing a multitude of diverse vegetation landscapes and crossing numerous smooth bouldered streams running with crystal clear water. Brilliant blue crayfish seemed abundant in these waters, busily going about their day. Wending our way through the tall lush green stream lillies we eventually came to the place of the first Eucryphia to be sampled.

There it stood! A tall stately tree, covered in large white blossoms. And, at it's base - a small bright blue crayfish caught our eyes - clicking and waving its large claws as we approached the tree.
My heart & mind always remember this blue crayfish. Its courageous protection stance, snapping it's claws at us - like a little guardian to this tall ancient tree. A little protector, so small and fierce, in stark contrast to the passive stance of the graceful tree that stood behind it.

Now, of course, we all know that this small blue crustacean was merely protecting itself. However, my mindset was by now, within a very intuitive frame.

Symbols and nature abounded in this trek across the National Park - we had already stumbled across some other possible new plant species, and few European feet had trodden the earth that we stood on. The symbolic connection touched my heart and spirit, bypassing my scientific mind. That image of the small blue crayfish waving and clicking at the base of that great tree has stayed with me to this day.

I am no stranger to walking by the small, steep streams of the Mt Warning Caldera and suddenly coming across blue crayfish. They can even be found crossing the cow paddocks, following the irrigation lines over the cleared pastures of the Region's small plateaus.

However, this day WAS different. And I perceived the blue crayfish with completely different sentiment and understanding after that day.

Imagine how, in the higher altitude pristine waters of the Mt Warning Caldera, blue freshwater crayfish journey and live, in the diverse natural habitats that are now so sparsley interconnected and under so much pressure from the eager and busy work of mankind.

Blue Crayfish are tenacious, adaptable, genetically yet to be fully understood. A valuable, physically striking component of our biodiversity and natural heritage within the Mt Warning Caldera Region. To protect this little "protector" is to keep beautiful places safe. To respect this little "guardian", is to respect it's home, it's habitat, it's life force. - the environmental advocacy resources website -came about from a need to educate, inform and support others who care about the little things enough to protect them. By protecting these little things:- the "faeries"; the natural micro balances; the smaller, unseen or often undetected components of this great big beautiful blue planet; we can practise a caring stewardship towards the natural order of life.

This caring stewardship can help raise the level of healthy, inter-dependent biosphere habitats and niches that science has not yet analysed and justified as a reality in our existence.
Science, technology, environmental "practices", legal instruments, economic structures - all these things are in our recent earth's history.

Long before any of these human sentient capacities roamed our institutionalised minds, crayfish roamed the earth, sheltered at the bases of tall forest trees, wandered through clear mountain streams. A multitude of "little things" defended life from the larger, more unpredictable forces of asteroids, solar and earth heat, wind, fire, ice, storms and eathquakes and other great forceful elements of life. Bluecray came as a Totem to help defend this beautiful Caldera of Mt Warning and all it's naturally biodiverse wonders.


Eucryphia jinksii at Australian New Crops Website (supported by the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation)
Eucryphia jinksii - Integrated Botanical Information System (IBIS) - Australian Plant Name Index (APNI)

Coomera Gorge and River - article for ecotourism at the Courier Mail 2008

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