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NSW Regional Meeting - Reflections On the Australian Quaker Centre (R Morrow)

ABOUT SILVER WATTLE

 

Dear Friends:

I have just returned after several days at Silver Wattle and I understand that it is the subject for a special meeting for worship at Wahroonga on Saturday.    I regret I cannot be there with you for this prayerful time.

 

I wish to offer my thoughts about the land and its uses.   They may be slightly different from yours and I hope that you will accept that.

 

1.              Silver Wattle is a very lovely piece of land in a special place on the edge of Lake George.  It is at the end of a road and adjoins a state forest.   From the hill above the homestead, the Lake spreads out in front with kangaroos grazing quietly as they have for perhaps tens of thousand years.   The quiet, in terms of no or minimal human noise, is a rare experience; the lack of human movement, notices and possessions makes it visually tranquil and the air is very pure.   

 

It is quite badly degraded and seems to be at a peak of potential recovery or collapse.   All the animals seen around the homestead are on an island and the lovely song and constant chatter is really a constant struggle for an eco-niche in which to bring up young.    There is almost no understorey and the hill behind is eroding and partially degraded.   There are signs of life with a few small acacias carrying out their pioneer role to help the later arrivals.    Friends have excluded the goats and now the Earth could reclaim itself with some help from its F/friends.

 

2.              Many Friends have little opportunity to experience this type of ecosystem and it also needs to exist in its own right.  Nature has rights which are usually destroyed by human activities.   Streams could flow again; understorey and its associated wildlife flourish; animals find sanctuary.  This is a spiritual task and revolutionary witness when the Earth is close to breakdown and biodiversity expected to collapse by 30+% in the next few decades.

 

If Quakers do not secure this rare piece of land then it could possibly end up in the hands of farmers or speculators, developers and there again goes a precious piece of creation sold to the highest bidder. 

 

There is the possibility to use former agricultural field as a Quaker forest where any of us could either plant, or pay for, a special inalienable forest as part of our care for the Earth’s future and for the children and adults. And to replace some of the excess carbon we all use.

 

I see this small piece of Earth as one with which we could be connected, love it and be intimate with its moods and seasons.   We could have a relationship with it.   It is a witness for a future.

 

     3.   As a business, then I am not sure, but one year’s activities should tell us whether there is the need for a smallish retreat centre in a special environment.    I believe there probably is once people become aware.   There are some groups who already find it very inspiring.  It is fairly new and comfortable scale.

 

     4.   As a Quaker retreat and study centre I do not know because I do not know the future, nor the future of us as Quakers.  Sometimes when things are drifting down hill with smaller and older meetings, a bright and bold new adventure is what is needed.   T.S. Eliot said "Do not go gentle into the xxxx night?”   We could witness that we believe,  we can offer more to each other and to others outside Quakers with such a centre.

 

I would like my grandchildren and all others to be glad for the land and I would like to leave land so they will say to me "thank you for handing on our heritage in such lovely health.” 

 

This is why I would like Quakers to buy this land – a piece of radical witness.

 

In love and peace

 

Rowe Morrow

24th day fifth month,  2010

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