How to begin – a nature diary published in Wild Times
Just published (p19) Jan 2014, for some unknown reason anonymously!
Jan 10 2013
I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of taking walks daily . . . who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering. Thoreau, Journal, Jan 10 1851.
This entry by Thoreau led to ‘Walking’ considered the seminal work of the environmental movement, an evolving work through public lectures and revision, the essay marks a shift, half-way through drafting Walden, from a poetic to a more empirical (or as he put it, ‘distinct and scientific’) way of depicting nature.
While eating breakfast I watch three roos weed the garden, fur fluffed from the rain, looking like stuffed toys, colour of cardboard, muzzles damp and dark, hoping it’s just the grasses this time. A fresh batch of jumping spiders are leaping all over the windows. Vagrant hunters by daylight, they stalk their prey intelligently, learn by trial and error; beauty fits their complex eyes and how they dance from side to side in courtship.
Each walk stands unique, we walk differently, some as if looking through a window, some study the ground, but we are porous to the scents and sounds, and the texture of ground. I never have a plan. For the first time here I see a Forest Kingfisher shoot past up Oyster Creek as I stand on the little wooden bridge. We pick a few tasty purple Dianella berries; the Gumbaynggirr used the thin leaves to weave string.