Authors: © Donna Mulvenna, Jessica Groenendijk, and Margi Prideaux
Publisher: Stormbird Press
Publication Date: February 2017
Ordering: Free e-book available from Donna Mulvenna, Jessica Groenendijk, and Margi Prideaux
Where Journeys Begin (Introduction)
Some believe the natural world is our real home. The place where we came from.
Could this be true, when so many of us in our civilised lives have turned our backs on wild places and the wildlife they contain?
Could the eternal pull we feel toward the golden warmth of a rising sun, the tumbling waves of the ocean, or the soothing sound of birdsong, be nature’s way of calling us home?
Donna discovered the answer while living in the Amazon rainforest. She didn’t move there for the wildlife. But, in time, it was the wildlife that defined her quality of life. Sloths, turtles, monkeys, and songbirds were just some of the animals to give her immense joy and peace every day. Even bats, snakes, ants, and lizards, those species often ignored or feared, but no less wondrous, found a way into her heart. These touching and humbling encounters led her to embrace wildlife as kin.
“I once thought that feeling a personal connection with wildlife was for children,” she says. “Today I realise their domain is desperately needed by adults. Wildlife is what makes me feel at home in the world. At least, the type of home where I want to live.”
Jessica does not remember a time when she wasn’t passionate about animals. She spent most of her childhood playing in the sea or visiting Tanzania’s stunning national parks, delighting in all she saw there. She also loved to read; her favourite books had animals as their main protagonists and she became wholly immersed in their worlds. As an adult, her love of wildlife expanded to encompass all of nature, and to a wish to help others re-connect with the wild creatures and wild places of this wonder-full Earth.
“I want my grandchildren to be able to experience nature the way I did,” she says. “At the time, I took it all for granted, but the older I become, the more I realise how privileged I was and still am. I see nature as a gift we owe to future generations, human and non-human, to keep safe.”
Margi’s first memory of connecting with wildlife came when she was five, and it is a passion that has driven her throughout her life. As a small child she spent hours alone with trees and bees and flowers and birds, studying and watching the world. She often went on walks alone through the surrounding countryside. One day she met a horse on the edge of a woodland. The day was cold and steam billowed from his nostrils with each exhalation. She slowly approached and rested her hand on the powerful ridge of his face. Her fingers drifted down the soft down of his nose, and he pressed a gentle response into the palm of her hand. His breath roiled around her fingers.
“That is the first moment I can remember feeling a soul connection. I have sought and found it ever since,” she says. “When you approach those who are wild as an equal, without fear and human prejudice, there is wonder in meeting wild kin.”
Her life is tuned by a deep love of the wild tapestry of the Earth, and a passion to protect the non-human realm.
Relating to nature in an emotional, social, intimate, and personal way is not something new. It is the foundation of cultures all over the world. Those who live near wildlife share the wind and the rain, the dawn and the dusk, the ebb and flow of the seasons with the wildlife community. Wildlife plays an integral role in their myths, symbols, and rituals. Many choose to honour non-human animals and plants as persons – as beings with a soul.
There is a mystery to wildlife we are at a loss to explain, a complexity challenging to describe, and an experience impossible to convey. However, each of the authors of this anthology has been compelled to try, our stories humble attempts to convey in words the joy of nature.
This collection is written by three wildlife enthusiasts celebrating what is not yet lost. It is a crusade by passionate conservationists hoping to shed light on the ever-increasing problem of habitat loss and the many other pressing threats to the natural world. It is a gathering of friends standing together to try and make a difference.
Thank you for joining us on this journey. Together, we are standing up for wildlife.
Donna, Jessica, and Margi
Cayenne, Lima, and Kangaroo Island