Nature's Place

Tadpoles

Wandering in the bush today I found an old track nobody has been on for a long time. I can tell from the overgrowth and the absence of any track or other sign of people. It was discernible from the area above the undergrowth and below the tree canopy, from about four feet high to about twelve feet high was an obvious clearway, a hole in the green.

It was a bit of luck that I noticed the hole in the wall of trees from the angle I passed it. (RIMG1315.JPG) It eventually led me to a trail I do know, but looking back from the trail it led to you would never know the old track is there, it’s just a wall of brush and trees from the clearing.

The water level is still high after the recent rains so I couldn’t go the usual route. There was an old barbed wire fence broken down with the wire all atangle on the ground for a few yards around. I tidied it up into a pile behind a small tree and I trust no creature runs into it and injures itself. Like the wallaby. Men are fond of barbed wire for some reason, there is a certain cruelty to its use that has become so common it is overlooked.

From there I left the beaten track and headed into the bush moving parallel to the swamped area, disanchoring the spider webs as I went. Webs are usually anchored on four corners, roughly, and depending on the direction of the breeze I cut through one side or the other with my stick and let it fall out of my path without injuring the resident.

This route took me through some unusual terrain and flora. The ground was firm but where the wallaby’s dig small holes for food, larva and such, they were filled with water up to a couple inches from the top. It was as if I was on the edge of a lake but there is no lake there, just reedy, grassy, coastal paperbark swampland. (RIMG0786.JPG)

Eventually I came out on the other side of the swamp into a field of grass I haven’t been to before and found my way to a path that runs parallel to the beach for a few kilometers. Along the trail there were many dips where water had collected, some deep and some shallow. But of all the pools I came across there was only one with any tadpoles in it. And they were all black, all the same species, and there was at least a couple hundred in this one pool. (RIMG0785.JPG)

Usually creatures in a pool like that, without any real cover or hiding places, would run from any strange presence or form that appears in their sky. But these tadpoles were unmoved by me showing up or even stirring the water with my walking stick. They were all black and the first thought that occurred to me was TOAD. I suspect they don’t need to hide from predators because they have none. Cane toads have poison glands on their upper backs so I suppose their tadpoles have the beginnings of them at least.

It was very unusual for these creatures, any creatures, to be unmoved by a potential predator. I might go back tomorrow and collect a few to see what they grow into.

I was traveling in the opposite direction to the one I ‘normally’ do here because of the detour. But really, what is normal for me is unpredictable, sort of. Even I don’t know what I will do next when I go walking in the bush.

The green of the grass was so rich in places, so deep and full. It was lovely, green, and refreshing. (RIMG0907.JPG) The green of nature is especially refreshing to the psyche, in the sense that as it is cognised there is no mind to matter, just the green of nature. My nature, your nature.

Along the trail I came to what must have once been a wide creek bed between some sand hills and higher ground. On the sand hills and the higher ground there was the normal mix of trees and brush, each according to its location, light, soil and water. Between them in the sodden soil was this beautiful stand of healthy, mature paperbark trees with primarily dark green fern on the ground between them. There was presence here. Quiet. Stillness. (RIMG0786.JPG)

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