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My grandfather is a kookaburra

Caspia is the solo moniker of Ant Beard (Caravãna Sun). His latest single, “Trick of the Light” was co-written by Joel Quartermain (Eskimo Joe) in February and released on streaming services earlier this month.

The concept of grief at age 11 is hard to grasp. Yet as my grandfather sank his last Tooheys Old, the overall sweep of sadness that lay heavy above my family was enough to seep into my imagination. That afternoon, we sat out on the back veranda. In the wake of his life and in an incredibly still afternoon sky, a lone kookaburra dropped out from the neighbours’ overhanging poinciana tree. Without a word of doubt in my father’s eyes, he murmured, “Thats my Dad. That’s Grandpa.”

Caspia Mixtape

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While turbulence and chaos are a sure-fire bet in life, we walk predominately with our gaze turned down. Our own impermanence is an illusive owl. Never seen and only felt. Medicated with white noise from the news room. This hollowness of chest. This unease in lack of control. Our knuckles glow white with the fear of what we do not know. We fill our time with predictable moves. As most things in life don’t require much thought. We order the same, respond without noticing. We expect what we receive and receive what we expect. Yet life is bound to show red sky in the morning. And when it does, we best heed the warning.

We walk predominately with our gaze turned down.

For death is a dark storm. One that truly defines us. And when we fly through times of struggle, theres no telling how far the cloud will stretch. We can soften the blow but there’s a part to play. For healing is a process and time becomes irrelevant. We measure our success from the weight of our heart. We value these simple moments in between. Like catching the call of a cheeky currawong.

While I’m awake, I walk with my eyes to the sky. To perceive the windows our feathered friends provide. Moving paintings across lilac skies. Stories of tragedy and triumph fly from town to town. As there’s no happy ending when the bird hits the ground. Because life is death and death is life. We define our experience with how long it will last. We hold our legacy with an anxious grip, like an alcoholic desperate for another sip. You best believe your memory is bound to fade. It will and it does. Like everything, life comes and life goes.

But isn’t a pheasant both beautiful alive and dead? For his feathers stay illuminated for days after death. Like a plaque of remembrance on a memorial seat, I can sit with my ancestors and be at one on my feet. He would have wanted you to see this. To find time to transcend. Figure out what costs nothing but means everything.

For me, birds are the beaming headlights on a funeral procession. They’re the first steps in my niece’s little life. They represent and remind me to consistently deepen my human experience with every buoyant black cockatoo floating past. They help me feel abundant and closer to my truth, everyday.

As I push my creativity to the edge of my ability, I hold space for the moments in-between.

As I push my creativity to the edge of my ability, I hold space for the moments in-between. To hold a hug a little longer. To lean and listen a little closer. To open my eyes beneath the water. To pause my words when a cormorant takes a dive. To avert your gaze to an egret passing by. Because my grandfather is a kookaburra, and maybe I’ll be the owl. I let that moment sit with me, as it pulls me into the now. Breathe. Observe. Create.