Nature's Place

A Rare Animal

Mine is usually the only car at this entry to the NR but today there was another and it was lived in. The driver was sitting inside and we said hello as my door closed with a clunk and I was on my way down the trail.

Knowing the dark side of human nature there is a certain wariness when meeting a stranger in the bush. A certain openness usually allows space to gauge the other.
The sun was warm on my straw hat and the cool breeze blew through the vents in its side. I was aware of the easy gait of my body, the pleasure it is to walk, the sensation in my hips and down my legs as they took the weight. The ease with which the body balances when it isn’t misaligned.

The rough silky grain of the wooden walking stick, cut from a tree a long time ago, was apparent in my hand, the colour light to my eye. I don’t use it much walking in a straight line on a relatively flat surface so it was balanced on my shoulder some of the time, and in my hand. Nicely balanced.
Around noon the sun is high on the N to S trail and very quickly I felt it hot on my back, no shade yet. As I walked the cool wind rustled the light spring leaves in the treetops and caused the bigger branches to groan and squeak against each other as they swayed.

Every now and then, though it is always now, I heard the call of one bird or another in the distance through the bush. And sometimes not so distant. Birds talk a lot. If you listen without minding what might be said you can hear deep inside and the body smiles.

The truth of what bird says is in the sound of it. Some sounds go deeper than others and touch different places, as the notes of a piano only much vaster in scale, some are solemn and some may cause you to laugh. Some are stony grim and some are whispers of lightness in the shade of the bush. Some a warning and some an invite.

None are negative. All will take you inside. And it doesn’t serve to name them.
A dragonfly greeted me on the path, circled me a few times, and then darted up the trail zig-zagging ahead of me. This one was of the wood, its colour and patterning wouldn’t be seen against the bark of the trees that grow here. I was pleased to see him, or her.

The damselfly’s are out as well, lightly coloured blue, gossamer wings glistening in the sunlight. Beautiful little things.

And one grey grasshopper bouncing around the dusty, sandy, stony trail. Seemingly lost in that desert six feet wide.
I went down a side trail that is rarely used and is overgrown with fern and bushes and small trees hung with lichen and creepers in places. Occasionally speckled with yellow petals from the bush flower endings. Here and there a fallen tree closed the trail to form another going around it.

This is a very old forest, you can feel it, you can see it now and again in the rotting three foot diameter trunks lying on the earth, host to a host of plants and creatures. A forest in themselves, shades of green and brown riven with ancient tracks.

A startled wallaby bounded through the bush to my right. Off down a trail I know only leads to swamp, where I can’t go. A flash of light brown as it disappeared into the shadowed bush. There are a lot of them around here, usually seen crossing the trail at dusk.
When I got back to the car the other fellow was making a cup of tea and we talked for a few minutes. I could see his car was chock-a-block with stuff. He also has some automatic night photography equipment he uses in an attempt to capture an image of the local mythical wildlife, the marsupial dingo.

I hadn’t heard of this before but he was serious in his quest.
I think the rarest animal is the man content in his being.
Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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