It’s a warm, yet miserable summer. At least, for Poppy it is. Nothing outside satisfies her. “Winter is better,” she says. “I can curl up and read all the time in winter, and it doesn’t feel right to do it in summer.”
Summer is the best time. The wattles bloom. This signals that the whales are migrating, and their songs bring everybody joy. Summer really is the best time in nature. Over in Poppy’s world, everything is reversed. The wattles bring hay fever, and the migration ruins the time at the beach. My name is Wind, by the way. In the Wiradjuri language, my name is Giran, and I am a part of Country. Poppy is also part of Country, even if she doesn’t realise it yet.
Ugh, field trip day. I hate field trip days more than literally ANYTHING. They make us take our shoes off. Yuck. The bus smells like dirty socks and week-old vomit. The metal creaks as the bus twists and turns. The bus makes its final creak as it comes to a halt, sending everyone flying into the seat in front. Once I take one step out of the bus, I want to go back in. I trudge down to the river, dragging my feet in the dirt. In the clump of the group, I break away, disappearing into a gap in the bushes. No one seems to notice. I wander through the twigs and leaves, trying to find a way back to where I can be safe.
As I walk, I stumble and fall into a wattle tree. Oh no. The hay fever is coming back. I feel a sneeze coming, but before it comes out, it goes back in, and I see the pollen drifting out of my nose and reconnecting with the plant. I watch in shock as the flowers reach out and talk to me.
“Hello, Poppy.” The wattle touches my head and I immediately feel woozy. “Don’t worry, Poppy, you’re safe.” I stutter. “H-how are you doing that?” “You are imagining this. But I am talking to you, in a way.” This feels so strange. “I, you, and everything else here is part of Country, whether you realise it or not. You can see my flowers, right?”
“That means the whales are migrating. Watch, you can see them breaching.” I look towards the sea. “Wow, it’s beautiful!” “That is just one of the wonders of Australia. There are so many more things if you just look for them. So, remember this Poppy, there is so much in the world. Find it.” “Thank you so much.” “I’m trusting you with the knowledge of the Indigenous people. Use it well.”
And so, Poppy left the wattle bush and emerged into the world, a new girl. And every day after that, Poppy returned to the bushes and gazed at the wonders of the world. Beautiful.
I wrote this story after being inspired by the SRC workshop. I chose two words to connect to reconciliation: trust and mending. I used third person personification at the beginning to tell from the point of view of the wind and then switched to first person to guide the reader through a story of mending and trust. The storyteller in the story is a Golden Wattle Tree who gives wisdom to a girl and teaches her about Indigenous Culture and how we can bring back stories and culture, as well as connect back to Country.
To me, reconciliation means working together, celebrating each other’s cultural differences, our beliefs and coming together to celebrate people. Reconciliation means to accept everyone for who they are and their differences. Reconciliation is very important because we have not seen it a lot in Australia’s history, but it is never too late to fix the gap that has separated us. By sharing stories, dances, songs and culture, we can continue to grow the knowledge of Country. That, for me, is reconciliation.
Written By: Dara Haddadi