Of all the things I do not know, there is one that matters most. I do not know what tomorrow will bring.
I used to think I could plan, and make tomorrow with my own will. Plans, I have learnt, almost by definition never work out. Dreams however do have a way of coming true. So, how can this be? Plans are a step-by-step sequence of how to get from here to here, but with an infinite number of variables outside of our control there is no way to know what might happen to throw our plans into chaos.
The only plans I make these days are plans to change as circumstances demand. I will set off armed with an idea and my best guess at how to make it happen and then stay tuned in to feedback along the way. Adapting is the key. If I force myself to stick to ‘my plan’ I can easily miss opportunities that I couldn't possibly have perceived when I first set out.
Dreams are about imagining the almost-impossible, with no clue how to get there, just the joyful pull of desire, and very often a distinct lack of logic. I follow a gut-feel.
My mother, Rosina, taught me how to tune in to joy and intuition through nature - how to stop overthinking and get out of my head through simply being in a garden, a field or forest. She loved her life and lived more fully than anyone else I know, and in doing so she inspired all around her. When she died I wanted her to continue to inspire others, so I dreamed of creating a Nature Writing Prize in her honour. At the time I knew nothing of running writing competitions and yet in December 2018 the Rosina Joy Buckman (RJB) Award was launched. With the support of the wonderfully generous Jennifer Bott AO, Michaela Bolzan and Nike Sulway as judges, the inaugural RJB prize was awarded to Glenys McLaughlin in 2019. By then I’d discovered that there is much more to running a competition that I’d anticipated. In fact, had I known how much work would be involved I would never have set out to take on such a huge task!
So, in 2020 we continued to award residences through our relationship with The Stella Prize, but not in Rosina’s name. I told myself it could be a biannual award, and I’d figure out a way to make it happen in 2021. Then, through a chance meeting an unforeseen opportunity arose to offer the RJB Award again, and now the RJB award is being offered as a prize for a highly regarded and already established competition - The Australia Nature Conservancy Nature Writing Prize, 2021.
Could I have planned a better outcome? My dream for Rosina’s love for nature to continue to inspire others has come true in a way I couldn't possibly have imagined, and I know, wherever she is, she is dancing with joy.
In this time of not knowing what tomorrow will bring, more than ever I allow myself to dream, and worry less about planning. When I want to feel lifted by the grace of life I play in the waves in the sea, when I want to feel lost in stillness I lie on the grass and watch clouds float by. When I am sad or anxious, I walk in the bush. When I feel gloomy, I walk outside and stare into the horizon, look down to find a flower or listen for birds. When the full moon rises, I dance under the sky. When I need awe, I walk to a waterfall. When I am angry, I pull weeds. When I am hungry, I plant seeds. When I want to feel hope, I plant trees. When I am curious, I listen carefully, and read poetry written by our First Nations poets, and if I still don’t know what I need, I walk into a forest and find a place to sit and wait and listen, until I do.