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Lift Um Foot

Today’s musing and over the weeks leading into this…

Photo by Sophie Mitchell

Before the forced shutdown, the current lockdown, class showdown

This time now…. there is the age of rabbits in holes and polecats up pipes, too fast moving the lightspeed life

Back in the business as usual time and everyone running full steam, red line dreaming

Sunshining days, rich northern skies, open roads, soft borders, traveling orders

Aged invaders, crusaders, victimless crimes, the entitled reward of middle class lives

Dragging a cargo culture across invisible lines of songs sung eternal

Live aboard trailers with inside showers, portable toilets and speed, haste

4 wheel drive mutika shiny paint and big tyres, food voucher pensions and sundowners, the bright green grass rest stops on red dune sands. Clean rigs and satellite flat screen gigs

A time before virus escaped the cordon of minor obstacles to breach our haste and stop our trails…

Hold up fellas, something happened… We gotta stop… Finally we stop. Lift Um Foot take a look… It’s not a race bra!

So at my job I’m in the difficult position of working between cultures in a space that lacks self awareness populated with people without law without reason or art. Dialogue is often a series of misunderstandings, misrepresentation and misuse of power. During any number of the conversations I have heard consistantly the Yolngu words, “Bulna bulna, Yaka bundi bundi!” Go slowly not fast. And in the confusion and haste to force decisions those in charge might interpret the words to mean, ‘Please speak slowly, I don’t understand your words’. Yes this is true. But it means so much more than that! What people are saying is, Slow the Fuck down man! Stop pushing us! We need time to consider our options and listen to our hearts! Don’t force this decision! We don’t know the full consequences of our decision or who they will affect! “Bulna bulna!”

So I’d been contemplating the situation for quite a long time… Months… Years…. And as I was scrolling through facebook I saw the image above and it stopped me in my tracks. “Lift Um Foot”. It didn’t just speak to me, It sang! This phrase resonated with me so strongly I have been thinking about it all week.

The image itself is the quintessential outback Australian Road, the language unmistakable Australian Kriol! The philosophy PERFECT in it’s delivery, the sound of the words on the soul, the effect of the instruction in action. You don’t have to do anything big… just lift that foot off the accelerator. I invite you to read the transcript below, listen to Bindi’s Ted Talk and consider the implications of Lift Um Foot as a philosophy for meeting others, the earth, daily situations and ultimately your true self in the space that does not require an unavoidable collision. Just Lift Um Foot Bro!

You’re driving your car on a long straight flat dirt road through the low scrub. You’re going about 95kph, and you might like to go slower, not being in a hurry, enjoying the journey, perhaps struck by the open blue sky and the open red country and wanting to take it in some more, but the corrugations in the road were formed by vehicles going about 95kph, and they’re not too bad if you go 95kph, but they shudder the car unbearably at lower speeds. You’re the only car on the road that sees three cars a day, and your rear-vision mirror has nothing but dust. Suddenly, you see something standing up by the road ahead. It’s a forty-four-gallon drum, battered, rusted, painted, with some words, and you read them: LIFT UM FOOT.Lift um foot. This is Aboriginal Land. Aboriginal people use this road, and this is their Kriol, their lingua franca, and we would translate it as ‘LIFT YOUR FOOT’. Lift your foot off the accelerator. Slow down. Slow down or you will crash, they are telling you. And you pick out the axle and wheel-hub of the car that didn’t slow down, that crashed in the washout ahead, jutting from the drum like a flagpole and flag. Lift um foot. I put it to you. Lift um foot. Lift your foot off the accelerator or you will crash.” (Transcript of Bindi Isis Ted Talk 2011)

Published by David F

Disorganised Dilettante

3 thoughts on “Lift Um Foot

  1. Thanks for posting Dave. Those under used yet energy efficient options have always been at the end of our legs, only we have never paused long enough to notice. Slowing down and Lift Um Foot is a mantra for happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One aspect of why this messages speaks so clearly to me is my experience of reading the book 1984 by George Orwell, in which he offers: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” Orwell’s cautionary tale which was so powerfully written echoes the simple principal… The forcefully imposed and oppressive pressure, the abuse of power, the deliberate and destructive domination of others. ‘Lift-um Foot! people…. Lift-um Foot!’


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