VIRUS 2020

3 October VIRUS 2020

3 October VIRUS 2020

Trump Hospitalised With Coronavirus. NY Times

74 and Overweight, Trump Faces Extra Risks From ‘a Very Sneaky Virus’. NY Times

We stop for breakfast at Mangrove Jacks, where you eat overhanging Coffs Creek. The restaurant is a COVID victim, now a yoga studio.

We check out this section of the creek, the layers of landscape, the molten skin, the mangrove nails, grasses, shrubs, trees. A vine wraps round a snapped tree holding it up, suggestive of the hidden archaeology of fibre and the forgotten skills of women knotting.I have a cunning idea for a still life project. Song tying things together here in the past, trajectories coming together in dance, hunting, paying attention to roots and berries and seasonal comings and goings of the fish and fruit doves, the flying foxes too, so delicious, so much unsaid, Gumbaynggirr land, Gumbaynggirr water.


The road to the jetty is closed, so we find an overpriced breakfast in the tourist area.Waiting for food, I see the light, grab my camera from the car and cross to Park Beach Bowling Club. Taking a photograph of the tools of the trade the owner walks into shot. I take one of his footprints in the dew on the felt of the green, explain what I’m doing, arty-farty. He looks at me and laughs. The bowling baize runs into a remnant skirt of littoral rainforest, vines pulling together the groups of trees and out onto the dunes of prostrate wattles, spinifex grasses and a glance of red wait a whileThen an arrival, a male Red-backed Wren poised against the sea and behind Muttonbird Island. A glimpse is enough for a kind of joy.
 Remains of campfires, detritus, people having fun . . . Too many people . . .

Spinifex sericeus, known as beach or coastal spinifex,

Spinifex sericeus, known as beach or coastal spinifex, sometimes rolling spinifex. [1] I’ve just remembered, yesterday or day before, I saw spinifex seeds medieval morning stars sailing across the beach, and paid no attention.

Back at the car I notice the bush opposite is for sale. The trees are humming with Fig Birds, an Oriole and Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes, more important habit is vanishing, sadness.

We go and look at some land Wyn’s Australian niece is looking at, she’s living in England but wants to come and spend half the year here, avoiding northern winters, a common dream. The sites adjoin Bongil Bongil, a marvellous National Park with an important population of Koalas up on the north coast, but the sites are packed and right next to the railway. ~

Home down the M1, the Pacific Highway, the main East Coast road. The highway’s electronic signs, usually warn, ‘Police targeting speeding’ or, Double demerit points on the long weekend, now they read Caution, cattle on the road, near Raleigh. Driving on auto in the slow lane watching the trees both sides, listening to an old favourite, rarely played. Al Stewart’s guitar injects a sudden rush of happiness. Plumb overhead a Wedgetail Eagle is harried by a crow, a titch in comparison.

We shop for fruit, a new leaf, mandarins in season, seedless Afourer and Delite. Then sit on the top deck among the trees and taste blind. Both are delicious, Afourer a touch more exciting, more tang – no COVID symptoms and my mosquito-transmitted Ross River Alphavirus is ebbing.

[1] ‘All 60 species of spinifex grasses are found only in Australia. Although spinifex habitats cover more than one-fifth of mainland Australia, the plant is little-known and little-loved by non-naturalists.’ Kristian Bell, ‘Australia is full of lizards, so I went bush to find out why’, The Conversation,  2.10.2020.

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