The animals find their voice

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Deep in the heart of the Australian bush, there sits the most glorious lake. But more than a lake, this is a sanctuary.

The water shimmers with the rays of the sun, which shines down from across the hills. All kinds of native shrubs, flowers and plants line the edge, providing shelter, food and the most beautiful of aromas for all to enjoy.

Within this sanctuary, a little tribe of creatures has made their home. And here, all convene to share in community, and though they may be different, all are welcome. Every voice has a place and every animal is given respect. For one of the laws of the lake is that all creatures have unique wisdom, abilities and skills to contribute to the good of all.

Galah flies overhead to see what’s happening beyond the lake, sharing his knowledge with the group. Possum is the night watch, his big globe eyes keeping silent witness to the dark. Wombat sniffs the dry red earth and shrubs to check on the various native foods and what might be ready to eat. There’s Koala, who offers her wise counsel to all who need it. And of course, Kangaroo, mother to all, protector of their little paradise.

Then there’s Kookaburra. The group’s comedian, with a habit of laughing at his own jokes. All love him for his funny ways, but they tread carefully around him, wary. For Kookaburra can be deceitful and selfish, and often a little sly. Kangaroo always keeps an eye on him, because he’s been known to get up to a few tricks, especially if there’s something in it for him.

One day, Kookaburra was laughing hysterically to himself way up on a branch. Sometimes he got so lost in his own laughter that he would start talking, spilling little bits of information that he probably didn’t want others to know. “KOO KOO KAA KAA KAAAA they’re on their way KOO KOO KAA KAAA and I’ll be rich KOO KOO KAA KA KAAA no more eucalyptus KOO KOO KAA KAA KAAAAAA,” he shrilled.

He’d let slip a disastrous secret. And Wombat had heard every word. As he scratched around in the dry earth at the base of the tree, he caught onto what Kookaburra had said. His little brown eyes grew wide at the idea, and he was panicked. Kookaburra had told the men off yonder about the rare eucalyptus trees that surrounded their sanctuary! Wombat hurried off to tell Kangaroo what he’d heard.

Later that afternoon, Kangaroo was thinking, wondering what to do. Those men would come and surely destroy their paradise. What would happen to all the animals if they lost the safety of their eucalyptus trees? Kangaroo felt a special sense of duty towards those trees. They had nurtured every animal in one way or another. Kangaroo was getting panicked, as no ideas came to her. Help she whispered. Help us. All of a sudden, the eucalyptus began to rustle, swaying back and forth. And Kangaroo heard a voice. Cool as the scent of eucalyptus, the trees spoke:

O, Kangaroo, we’ve heard your calls. These men are indeed on their way, we have felt their presence deep in our roots. Though your creatures will need to dig within for their own courage, we will provide what is needed for them to defend themselves using the most powerful weapon there is, and all without a dropping of blood being spilled.

With that, the wind picked up even more, and the air was filled with eucalyptus leaves. They swirled around, eventually settling on the lake. As the wind retreated, the sun emerged, brighter than before, and shone his rays directly onto the lake. It warmed the water, infusing the powerful scent of eucalyptus into the watery depths.

Drink, Kangaroo, and have all your creatures do the same. This water is infused with our strength and will carry any sound beyond this paradise and reverberate as far as the wind can reach.

Kangaroo was confused, unsure what the eucalyptus trees were trying to do. But she could hear the sound of engines in the distance, and knew the humans were getting close. Se rounded up all the animals and instructed them to drink. One by one the animals drank their fill, and as they did, their voices grew loud. Galah’s squawks were louder than ever before, Possum’s screeches hit a deafening pitch, and even Wombat’s grunts thudded through the air, shuddering the earth. That’s it! thought Kangaroo. Our voices!

“Everybody, make as much noise as you can! Use your voice, let it save our little sanctuary!” she said.

Every creature roared, squawked, squealed and shrilled as loudly as they could, amplified by the magical eucalyptus infusion. The sound was deafening, reverberating beyond the sanctuary to the far corners of the bushland. The trucks carrying the men shook and shuddered, unable to stay on track. The men were bewildered, struggling to keep their heads as they covered their ears at the deafening sound.

“WHAT’S ALL THAT NOISE?” one man yelled.

“WHAT?!” screamed another.

“LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!” they bellowed, turning their car around. And they sped off, the thunderous sound of all the animals pushing their truck forward, away from their home. After some time, a breeze came, filled with the scent of eucalyptus, soothing each animal with the knowledge that the men were gone. As a deep silence spread through the sanctuary, the animals breathed a sigh of relief. They were safe. “We did it! We saved our home!” they cried in unison, relieved.

Ahhh, but you have done much more than that, precious creatures. You have shown that protecting what you believe in can be done without violence. You have shown that your voice is your most powerful weapon, and how we use it can determine the fate of not just yourself, but of the entire world. That truly is the greatest strength any creature can possess.

And with that, the little lake sanctuary was restored to its peaceful existence, and the animals returned to their happy ways. But all with new-found knowledge of the power that comes when you find your own voice.

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