NatureVIRUS 2020

24 September VIRUS 2020

24 September, VIRUS 2020

Fire and logging reduce homes for threatened mammals.

The daring plan to save the Arctic ice with glass. BBC Future Earth

Melting Antarctic ice will raise sea level by 2.5 metres – even if Paris climate goals are met, study finds. The Guardian[1]

Carrie, 32, [Boris Johnson’s fiancé] has been spending a few days at the luxurious Grand Hotel Tremezzo, which is a favourite with the super-wealthy where a two-day stay in a suite can cost more than £6,400. Daily Mail (I was conceived in the hotel’s honeymoon suite).

Maclean, NSW

We leave early, stop for a stretch in Scotland:

Water spirals across this land, the narrow road passes sugar cane fields and criss-crosses channels, nowhere to park to engage the camera, we finally reach Yamba, pass the marina, park by a caravan park.

Fishing is the craze in Yamab, but locals say the good days have gone

A grandfather, rod in hand, is teaching a boy the rudiments. We walk the breakwater, a popular activity

Yamba breakwater
The story of Dirrangun

then cross to Turner’s beach and the old quarry cut to build the breakwater, a gap, a scar, geology lesson with strange pillows of siltstone.

Rockpool egg
Cy Twombly homage by snail
An early start to the fire season

We meet up with the flower hunters, and all pack into Lindy’s Landcruiser, after a short coffee stop by Wolloweyah Lagoon we are off to the hunting grounds – Yuraygir National Park

We park by an oval, our arrival causes two small head to pop up,
baby Ospreys, heads over the parapet of sticks, and we start
fossicking on the blinding path of white sand.

Lindy had said wear long trousers for the snakes, but I don’t have  any.
The flowers are stunning, goaded by the flames a year ago they open up the field guides.
Banksias are flowering on new stems the colour of honey filling gaps
betwen Wedding Bush, Ti trees, Flannel Flowers whiter than the sand,
Rice Flowers, various Peas, Kennedia . . . and more – I forget.
So many flowers to identify, attention is a privilege.
The track ends at a fire trail, and the rigid symmetry of giant pylons
porting energy over the heads of the bees and dragonflies. We place sticks
to mark the way and keep going uphill. From the summit we see
the Osprey nest and the hanging swamp between us and the sea so blue
it looks a baby. Wyn is overheating as we head back, the journey quicker,
the flowers don’t seem to notice the lack of birdlife or the intense sun.

At the edge of the oval a simple boy, large, friendly, full face dark
with rosacea is throwing stones at the Ospreys. Ding, he shouts
as the stones fall well short, hitting the tin roof below the nest.
So excited, he jumps for joy each time there’s a clang.
When did I last jump for joy? Triangle, he shouts, then laughs
at his private evidence. Red triangle, ha ha. I say hello as I pass
and he replies cordially. The Ospreys are taking no notice, I say.
They are beautiful birds and well out of range.
He laughs, a cryptic improvisation to this strange world.

Lunch at Angourie cafe. We have trouble getting our COVID QR Codes.
I can only eat a milkshake and five glasses of water.

A female Fig Bird, blushing belly brightens vine-twined rainforest,
late last year, fire tore through this littoral remnant, Spooky Gully.

The fire took bites out of the boardwalkdown to the Blue Pools.
The pools echo, I may have been here before, unsure.

White-breasteed Sea Eagle over Blue Pools

Light quarries where the water pools, a small sloping shelf in a bed of sand
domestic bliss for a family of raggedy Black Sea Hares, shape shifters
form flowing, frills and tentacles elasticated, exaggerated in reflection /
refraction. They keep busy mowing the algal meadows. How will they escape?
On a ledge, a water dragon basks like an adolescent girl, colour permeating
the sandstone, while above, on the edge of the cliff, two adolescent girls
want to jump, but hesitate. Boys below egg them on and they egg each other,almost jump, one holds back, they hold hands and finally plunge a long
scream, long hair upright in a shock of blur as they shatter their reflections.

I’m listening but somehow this place doesn’t seen quite right.

Oh! what quarries for working in Gothic! This place is one of the very few that I really like; the situation, woods, views, and the improvements are perfect in their in their kinds. Horace Walpole [2]

Henry Walpole designed the eccentric Strawberry Hill, a Gothic Revival villa in Twickenham, London, prefiguring the Gothic Revival. Towers and battlements shielded a whimsical, playful interior housing his museum of emotive objects, like the clock Henry the Eighth gave to Anne Boleyn, a suit of armour, or William Hogarth’s portrait of the triple murderer Sarah Malcolm in prison. He wrote The Castle of Otranto there, considered to be the first Gothic novel.

We pass a modern mansion, shielded by trees with large glass roundels in the gates. Gordon Merchant, the founder of Billabong, and owner of other extravagant properties, built this three-storey house for an estimated A$12 million. Three coned roofs are sheathed in copper to protect them from the salt.[3] He installed a video camera atop a two-metre tower to review the surf. In front is the famous right-hand point break. Famous surfers live here for the breaks along this piece of coastline. Karl used to stay in an old shack surfers shared way before.

Angourie point midden Yaygirr Language group meeting place
Wyn cooling off. She suffered heatstroke.

We make for the back beach and its careless curve of beauty.

And sometimes I take a photograph because I think it may make an interesting photograph.

Yamba stripes, blue, green, white



[1] “The more we learn about Antarctica, the direr the predictions become,” said Anders Levermann, co-author of the paper from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “We get enormous sea level rise [from Antarctic melting] even if we keep to the Paris agreement, and catastrophic amounts if we don’t.”

[2] Summer 1776, The Letters of Horace Walpole: Vol 2, Outlook, 2018, p374. On Lord Strafford’s estate in Yorkshire.

[3] ‘Billabong is a lifestyle & Technical apparel brand committed to the leading edge of Surf culture & Beach Fashion.’ Billabong website.

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