The morning after a big storm, through the lifting fog and the earliest rays of light, I see a twenty-two metre bora ring. This is the country of the Jagera and Turrbal people at Bellbowrie in Brisbane’s west.
Encircled by a bank of earth, it’s been a place of singing, dancing, storytelling, and initiation, for hundreds or thousands of years. Deep cultural significance for indigenous people. A connection between the past, present, and future.
Reminders of the traditional owners permeate everywhere. In our modern language with words like ‘yakka’, even the surrounding suburbs here are indigenous words meaning ‘water dragon’ and ‘place of flowering gums’.
Sadly the nearby smaller ring for men and boys, and its connecting path, has been covered by a modern home. Bora rings can never be destroyed. They can be desecrated, covered up, but the indigenous sense remains.
The big ring is here at the end of a cul-de-sac, circled by a fence. So too are the spirits, amid the security of the birds. Overhead intruding cuckoos are chased away by noisy miners, or soldier birds as the convicts called them.
Nearby, a rooster crows, maybe from the home covering the other ring. The native magpies warble their morning song, koels add their searching, while happy larks, butcher birds, and wattlebirds, make it a veritable concerto.
Having an empathy and respect makes it very easy to rest and meditate in this place. A currawong gently calls to say it’s breakfast time. When I’m home, a weather-beaten peacock struts across my path.