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  • This story involves the killing of animals for food. Some may find that disturbing.
    Though it is essentially a story of mental focus, mind shift, mind control and stamina.

    .......

    The traditional Aboriginal mob here don't have the 'f' or 'v' sound in their language.
    'F' usually becomes a 'p', and 'v' a 'b', depending on which English word they're deciphering.
    'Th' becomes a 'd'.
    Sometimes 't's disappear at ends of words. And all sorts of udder things. No real rules for most of it, (not unlike French), other than blackfella phonetics coupled with a sense of their pragmatics, though I'm sure you've got the gist.
    Though for Buffalo, the double 'f' becomes double 'b'. The 'a' is lost. (sounds like French!)

    "Wear you bin get dat pella Unc?"
    "Prom ober dere. Dat-way. He's properly good-pella eh? Properly pat! I bin got chase-im by dat bubblo pella too! Nearly bin got me too, dat pella! But I-is bin real pass, one-time!"

    We all hear stories from the mists of myth.
    Myth - Anthropologically speaking, means stories from before our time.
    Unrelated to the concept of urban myth where assumption is usually the salient seed watered with artefacts of fabrication by gardeners who never witnessed.

    We all knew it is possible to walk into that flock, and pass on through, if you wanted to, without those birds flying.
    Possible. Because we had heard the stories. Of what 'clever-men' could do.
    Possible. Apparently. But very difficult to increase that to a higher aspect of probable.

    It takes discipline. Focus. Mind control. Extreme discipline - To not be you.
    To be able to control your conscious projections.
    In nature we can call some animals to our side. Or sometimes they just come anyway.
    But it's geese season, and these are geese. Very skittish now. And very smart fellas.
    They can smell guns!
    So if you wanna walk on in there, you would have to play bubblo. Properly good-way.
    Otherwise they are bush-week.

    So, I'm quietly off. Casually heading down out to the right, out in front of the tree-line.
    After about twenty metres away from camp I disappear in under the tree-line.
    About five minutes later I am no longer a tree as I emerge directly across from the birds.
    Now I am, bubblo.
    My mind is as, bubblo.
    I am already moving like, bubblo.
    The only thing I can think of is, grass.
    Otherwise them birds are gonna go bush. For a week.
    The millisecond you stop playing bubblo, they're gone.
    You have to hunch over, emulate the profile somewhat.
    At least, not look upright human. That's a fair-dinkim give-away.
    Ever seen a two-legged bubblo? Well, from a certain perspective appearances can be deceiving.
    Shotgun held close to body on right-hand side, no proboscis protruding from silhouette. Stooped over, knees bent a little, with head down as far as possible without overbalancing. Must be baby bubblo that fella! He's real little! With an aching back!
    Progressing, slowly, as bubblo would.
    A step here. A step there. Thinking of grass. Because that's all bubblo will be thinking about, as his auto-pilot tail automatically swipes flies. (Merde, I got no tail!) Grass. Mmhh. There's a good patch. Stop and munch. Move on. A few steps. Grass. Mmmm. Nice patch. Stop a bit longer. Mosey on. Meander. You have to follow the grass. You have to be a bubblo. No straight line. Follow the grass.
    Then you hit the water. At best it's a bit over ankle deep. But the mud is deeper (thanks to the buffs). Nice and slow. Meandering for grass. Adjusting weight in mud, for balance, as bubblo would. Feeling the bottom. Step by step. Zig-zagging. Stopping to munch. Heading away from birds. Then back towards them. Then away again. The sun is making for a hot bubblo. Normally he would be off the plain, or laying down in a mud-hole soon enough.

    I've zig-zagged well out to the right of the birds, and now start meandering back towards them.

    Now I'm right up to them, those goose fellas.
    They part. As they would, if a bubblo wandered through.
    Usually keeping about ten to twelve metres off from the non-goose fella who has strayed within.
    Keep meandering, stopping, feeding, thinking grass.
    Most of them have moved to my left. Some in front, some out to the right. Around to the left they start to close back in behind me. I'm virtually surrounded by them. A big arc of geese, talking geese, almost surrounding me.

    The instant I was no longer bubblo, even before I began to raise the gun, you see a couple of sentries cock their heads, bead-eye you, side on. That's a millisecond. In the following milliseconds more do the same, and it's all over in less than half a second.
    The alarm has sounded as already the first frantic wing-beats and the rising alarmed honking raucous pound the air, the surrounding flotilla becoming a squadron of organised mayhem scattering for the sky, as the gun is still swinging upward.

    First shot. Break the gun. Somehow that sinker came out fluidly from my pocket and went straight down the barrel. The shell is still in there, but protruding enough not to actually get a fair-dinkum cussing from me as I burnt my fingers anyway. Could have been worse. I was probably swearing at Mick for not telling me it might only come part of the way out! Second shell forced in. Click close. Gun swings to where peripheral vision sees greatest density. Second shot. It's over. That part. With ringing ears I've still got to go and talk to three birds that are only wounded. We talk to their spirit as we help them go. We talk to them when we get them. When their life is given. So now I have to move as quickly as possible in the slippery mud around in three different directions to give these geese some peace.

    After the last bird is down I can stop to assess. Check the others to make sure that they are properly gone too. Just because they are motionless doesn't always mean they're gone. All over the paddock they are. Then me strategising for the easiest pickup in the by now, very hot morning.

    A goose weighs as much as a goose weighs. But carrying eight dead, wet, very big birds and a gun trudging through mud bog is a pretty rough trot for a little fella like me. It's all about technique. Slit the lower legs, and pass a foot from another goose between the sinews and bone, sling them all on the gun over the shoulder. Four pairs, two forward, two aft. Took ages to manage all that, then start heading back. Shortest distance out of the bog from the last pick-up to an easier trudge under the weight. Yep, I stopped to rest. A couple of times. I thought them mob would come and help me eh! But nudink!

    Silence as I got to camp. That's a sign of respect. The whitefellas are blackfellas too.
    I have earned the lead.
    They just start out to take the geese for cleaning as I drop them there in the shade.
    Di was the only one to speak straight up, as I'm stretching my aching back, she asking me if I wanted a cuppa. You betcha.
    My time to rest with a cuppa, and watch them work, as I plonked down in the shaded dust rolling a ciggie.

    "Hey Mick. You know that shell doesn't come all the way out?" Giggles all round. "Burnt my bloody fingers!"
    "Hey Mick. That long barrel, I was too close on that first shot. No spread. I think I only got two on that first shot. Not real sure, but I think. Definitely got more on the second eh?"
    "How long did that take? Felt like ages!"
    Now the conversation is invited, everybody speaks.
    About half an hour to get to the geese from the trees.
    "True?"
    And about another 30 minutes to collect them all, manage the load on and off the shoulder at each pick-up without getting the gun wet, take a couple of rest stops and get back to camp. No wonder I was hanging out for a cuppa!

    And they gave me the facts. The facts that I didn't know, being a bubblo, out there.
    And all the jokes they'd time to conjure up while waiting for me to do the thing.
    They told me the story of what happened. Because essentially I wasn't there.
    From the time I changed from a tree to a bubblo, to the second I turned back into me as I thought 'now', I wasn't there. Pretty much all I remember is the grass! Even the aching back wasn't there until I straightened up!
    They thought I was just gonna go out as close as possible and let loose.
    But the Aboriginal girls knew first up, when they saw me emerge from the trees, that I was serious.
    Then they all changed their thoughts too, so as not to give the game away.
    They sat and played cards in the dust, enjoying cuppa and duck with a casual, "where is he now?" directed at those facing in my direction.
    "Still there!"
    But Mick reckoned he thought I got stuck in the mud several times, because I wasn't moving!
    He thought he'd have to tow me out with the Tojo.

    All of us leant that morning that the story of playing bubblo was no mere urban myth.
    Which we knew anyway. But now it was experiential knowledge.
    Even though I hadn't seen it before I just knew how to do it. So I did it. Once. Never again.
    My back was aching! Both out there and back.

    The story made its way around certain circles in town and blackfella camps.


    ......

    There is actually a 'trick' to being the bubblo and still being aware of the human objective.
    But that's another long story. And handling the uncomfortable stalking position, mind over matter. What I learnt from Dad. If you don't mind it doesn't matter. More to the point, a buff wouldn't have had that experience, so it was essential to block it out.

    In 'open' community, oneself would not normally tell such stories about oneself (Aboriginal protocol). The witnesses tell the stories, if or as required. For lessons, respect way, not to feed ego. In 'closed' community, stories are shared for learning and in those settings can be told in the first person. I have shared this story as an interpreter of some aspects of things human and sensory that some would otherwise think myth in the fabricated sense, and to provide some insight into the existence of some marvellous aspects of, and possibilities within, the realm of the mind and consciousness. The witnesses were five humans, three wagons, one campfire, about eighty geese, whatever other wildlife was there, the sun, sky and floodplain, and one crazy-arsed bubblo with a gun.
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