Nature's Place

In The Rain


It has rained for a few days now and the place where I walk is flooded in parts. I am not familiar enough with it to find my way around the flooding so I stick to the high ground. One of the consequences of the flooding is the snakes, and no doubt other creatures, also take to the high ground. But it’s the snakes I have to watch out for. I am told this is brown snake country and their venom is extremely toxic.

I have never had any problem with snakes; they have always gotten out of the way. Back in the seventies when the family went to Shepparton to meet the prospective in – law, my sister was getting married, I went into the bush bare footed and running. Sometimes I was quick enough to catch sight of some brown snakes but invariably they were already on the run. Getting out of the way of whatever was coming. Snakes don’t hang around for people, or it could have been the vibration of my feet beating on the ground and they didn’t want to be trampled.

Kangaroos often travel at speed through the bush and snakes would be aware of the danger of being trampled, at least instinctively. I suspect it hurts when a 20 – 50 kilo kangaroo lands on you and then uses you to spring away again. I don’t doubt the area of the psyche that snake is would contain the instinctive knowledge a fast approaching vibration of weight hitting the ground is not to be ignored and better be avoided.

Anyway, in the nature reserve where I walk these days the snakes have taken to traversing the walking trails after the rain. There are signs of snakes having criss – crossed the trails everywhere. Though I still haven’t met one in the reserve.

When I was new to Australia and that time in Shepparton I met an old man at a caravan park. Mum was wary of him but I enjoyed his quiet company. There was something about him I liked, and he liked me. I was sitting with him at his table and these huge ants were travelling in a line along the ground, busy ants.

Wherever I put my feet there the ants would be, climbing all over my feet to get to the other side. I kept knocking them off thinking they would get up my leg and become a worse nuisance until the old guy told me to leave them alone, they’d be ok. So I left them alone to see what would happen and all they did was climb over my feet and go on their way.

Here’s a nest I found the other day. Real builders are insects, some more than others. (RIMG0997.JPG) You can just make out one of the residents in the entrance at the centre. These were fierce looking ants, and some ants are aggressive, but these ones didn’t take any notice of me after I went still.

This is mostly how nature is, if I leave it alone it doesn’t trouble me. If I don’t think it’s a problem it goes on its way. Humans have become afraid of nature, the spiders and snakes and other hungry biting things. But the only problem with nature is the one I have, if I have one.

I saw an unusual thing when I had to turn back from the flooding yesterday, a beetle of some sort. It was on a stalk of reedy grass at about shoulder height and it was about 3cm long with a bulbous body at one end and a head with a big snout like an elephant’s trunk hanging straight down at the other. And it was the most unusual turquoise and black. It was lovely to see. Amazing little creature.

Thank you for the things that delight me.

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