The other day I was cycling through the countryside in the outer fringe of Melbourne when a young kangaroo appeared on the road. It was probably 5 foot tall; a young one. It was clearly a bit confused and trying to find a way to get away from the road but it wasn’t able to get past the wire fencing. So it would dart onto the road and then try the fence again, while each time moving ahead a bit. I’m not sure why it didn’t just jump over the fence, I’m sure it could have done so easily. After a few attempts it came back on to the road and just bounded ahead with those incredibly graceful and powerful movements that are so distinctively its own.

Not wanting to add to its anxiety, I had stopped but now with a bit of distance between us, I got back on the bike. It was quite magical, rolling along while this amazing creature hopped up the road in front me, leading the way forward. I could hear its claws make contact with the asphalt road. We often see kangaroos out here. In fact, I very nearly collided with one while driving through the appropriately named Kangaroo Ground just a couple of weeks ago. But this was something else. I wished I had a camera on my helmet to record it. Over the rest of the ride I made a point of stopping and taking a few photographs of the scenery, the horses and interesting old houses which I pass on my regular routes.

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Later that day, we were having dinner with some friends and one of them suggested an interpretation. The kangaroo can only move forward, never backwards. As an image of movement it encapsulates effortless forward motion, an invocation to keep moving, to maintain momentum. Even when it couldn’t get through the fence it kept moving forward and trying place after place until an opening was revealed. This reading of it really made sense to me as I move along my own road on my own search. It can be difficult sometimes. It can be stressful. But we just keep moving, we keep looking for the opening, and as we do we might even enjoy the experience, the feeling of pure movement and flow – even flying, and it’s this joy in movement, this momentum, which feeds us. We bring this spirit and energy into all that we do, our creations, our interactions, our communications.

There is a time for sleep, and a time for action, and when we’re truly present there is stillness in both.

Here are a couple of videos of kangaroos for your enjoyment:


8 thoughts on “Momentum

  1. Wow, never occurred to me a kangaroo can’t move backwards. Interesting the problem-solving they instinctively do to get around that. Great analogy. Thanks for sharing it.

      • Believe it or not, propelling oneself backwards with the arms (or feet) is developmentally easier than going forward. By day, I just happen to be an occupational therapist who works with kids. We do scooter work on the floor and going g backward is the easiest way to build the muscles. See? Those little ones innately ‘got it goin’ on,’ lol.

      • Interesting. It was certainly apparent that it is the easiest way to move, and conversely this made me appreciate how much effort is involved in crawling forwards! It’s almost like rolling down vs climbing up!

  2. I’m thinking in terms of fetal development: extensor muscles come first. Premature babies miss out on physiological flexion and we spend a lot of time helping them catch up for postural balance/control in those cases.

  3. Pingback: 3 Things You Must Do To Change Your Personal ID « Mental Health Food

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