“You heard of a book called On Rage by Germain Greer” she said. I hadn't. “On rage is based on research material from my family. Rabbit Proof Fence is based on members of my family too” she said. Five days into my stay in Australia and at last I’d arrived amongst my people. An hour earlier I’d entered the building.
Corridors are tunnels with doors. The final one was much the same as thousands of others in universities throughout the world. I walk towards the Colllege of Indigenous Education and research where aboriginal academics and elders wait to greet me.. First they want to hear my story. Let the visitor show himself by what he doesn't say as much as what he does. Let us see him. And so I shared my story of the boy stolen from his mother, his name changed, the institutions, the social workers and the eventual search for family and return to red earth. To bind the story I told them of a book I’d read. Wild by Jay Griffiths.
People don’t listen only with ears nor speak only with mouths. People also listen with their eyes and speak with their hands. We could have been sat in wilderness beneath sunset by the wildfire talking deep into the night.One softly spoken aboriginal woman turned to another “hey you okay”. Her friend nodded solemnly. Their eyes were looking at me and through me to the hinterland of memory.
The woman who’d asked of my reading asked me to repeat something I’d said and spoke each word as she wrote “anger.. is… an… expression… in… the… search… for… love”. She asked the spelling of my name and its meaning and wrote it down.then for the title of the book I’d mentioned “Wild” she said. “My name is Frances Wyld. Frances means Free. I am Free Wild.”