A River of Wild Dreaming

Jacqui Bushell ©2017
An abridged version was first published in Gratitude Magazine by Embrace Life, Love Life, Jan 2017

I drove out into the desert this morning, leaving Broken Hill before dawn. The sky awakening into faint pastels of mauve, soft greys and waves of pink over a land barely cooled from yesterday’s Summer heat. Some people think there’s no difference between sunrises and sunsets, but I can always recognise morning. It smells different for one thing, that just after dark smell of freshness and soft sun warmth. The bird calls are different too and it just feels like morning. My body knows.

I’ve been cooped up in town doing house renovations for weeks. My world has narrowed to dirt digging, gyprock and cement. I’ve forgotten myself and I’ve forgotten the world. I feel tamed and fenced in. So, under the lightening sky, heart breaking beautiful in its breadth over this vast red land, I pull over at a dry river bed and get out for a wander to breathe and touch the land. Shade is cast by old, massive river red gums and scrubby salt bush growing around ruddy rocks, shimmery mica and fine sand. 

When you live in awareness that the earth is alive, you open a doorway into sacred mystery

I’m the first human through here in weeks. As I walk, I see fresh kangaroo tracks, tiny dots of bird feet and some long toed emu prints. The gums hold the memory of water, that once washed its vibrant life force through the creek bed. The banks and the amount of dried and crumbly detritus high against the trunks of trees reveals the traces of floods and once swift flow of a river. The sun inches higher and the light casts smaller shadows. A flock of bright green parrots shriek by. I rest, leaning against a great shady gum. The rush of distraction gradually passes from me and I feel my deeper, truer rhythm return with the peace of the tree. I press my ear against a warm expanse of the trunk, listening for the occasional faint gurgles of the tree’s fluids and the amplified creaks of its movement.  Every tree has its own song. Do you know you can tell how long leaves are by the pitch of the wind whistling through them?


There’s no fast way to get to know a place, connecting with its spirit and energy takes time. There’s an initial flurry of movement when you walk in somewhere wild. The birds immediately hush, the critters pause, sometimes even the wind changes. After a while, you drop into the stillness of a deeper listening, monkey chatter mind quieting. You slow down to the pace of nature, becoming immersed within the environment, no longer an intruder. The birds resume their calls and animals their foraging, the breezes and the leaves their sacred conversations.  

One of my favourite exercises is to shift my habitual way of perceiving, and wonder who is noticing me here? I get so immersed within my own experience, forgetting that every being lives within its own world of knowing and awareness. We never walk alone. There are always ‘Others’ noticing us as well. How you notice their subtle awareness of you? Try it sometime. The world is so alive. Not just the animals but the rocks, plants, air and sky are conscious, vibrant, and imbued with sacred mystery.

A hawk cries overhead and I turn to follow its lazy path in the air. It’s so low I can almost see each feather as it hovers above me, then, catching a wind drift, is effortlessly lifted higher. Part of me soars with it, feeling the breeze against my own skin and an inner upliftment. Do you ever allow the energy or spirit of the land to move through you, to emerge as a dance or song? I start to move, my feet stamping the sand of the river bed quickly, like a hundred drops of rain, sounding a deep hum that vibrates my chest. The earth loves to be danced on! I let my arms fly out like wings and spin around, my head back, the pink dawn sky looping crazily above me. The birds silence and gaze at me in alert stillness. I can’t tell if the humming is arising within me or from the earth. My whole body is offering an acknowledgment and deep appreciation of this ancient land. I feel my life force shine again.

Can you listen with the ears of your heart to the heart of the world?

When have you ever felt most alive and vibrant? Do these times have anything in common? People usually say they feel great expansiveness and joy, a oneness with everything in creation. This deep communion dissolves your boundaries, rubbing out your ‘edges’. There’s no thinking mind, just pure presence, immersed in the river of radiant union. Have you ever allowed yourself to merge with a place? Have you shared your breath with a tree, a green breath exchange?

The universe never forgets who we are, we are always embedded in the universal field of connection.  Sometimes we forget this, feeling separate and alone. Connecting with nature with all my senses, I come back home to my truer self, a wild, creative, sacred being, aligned once more with earth and great spirit, opened to a wilder consciousness. I feel touched by something potent, and subtly changed. Once more I am interwoven into the Great Song.


Wild Earth Wisdom founder, Jacqui Bushell has been loving the abundance of our beautiful earth for much of her life. She is a renowned herbalist, essence manufacturer, teacher, author and Transformational Healing practitioner. Her passion is to support people coming alive into all their wild, creative senses and intuition. In communion with nature and spirit, we come home to our radiant self, our wise way of knowing and offer the gift of deep listening to the land. Jacqui teaches around the world, inspiring people to live passionately and creatively, touching the sacred within Nature and their own being.