It’s under Mum’s bed to keep away the burglars. Mum’s companion and stand in body guard, connecting her to home is a short flat, fairly blunt blade gaining it strength from the way it’s held and thrust.
And yes we do get burglars, but I sleep through it whilst my heroic mum chases them away.
It’s the tool that opens up the bush for my Dad, the wanderer searching for his love, her Mum. Her people find him in the bush and take him into their hearts, by choice.
In the present – slash, bang and bash – it’s destroying the calm day of porters and walkers on a journey, disconnecting them forever from their desire for the Kokoda trail.
It protects, explores, opens up and threatens; its stories say, “Take care, I am shrouded in ambiguity. I am a way to farm your wilderness, lash out at those feared, at those hated and protect those loved, and yet I know you will not always need me.”
On the horizon are: the bull dozer, the security camera, the policeman, the hovering parent who makes sure the child is never out hacking out pathways in the bush.
One day perhaps the bush knife will disappear under the bed, or into a museum, as a relic of culture. The placard next to it reading,’ once used to weed in the backyard so my mother could grow corn.’
(c) June Perkins