A day in the life
Thursday Feb 11 2016
This is a version of today, an indulgence connecting night to night. This is the season when the avocado and mangoes have finished and the weeds take me on, when Bagmoths appear at the base of the wattles and Sawfly larvae en masse strip the small grevilleas. A pair of Whistling Kites fly low and slow overhead, showing off their muscular build, their flight power before sliding off over the forest.
Sweat-wet from garden work we head to the water. The colours are a holiday dream and there’s just one family in the distance. I learn to breathe again with backstroke, hard against the current, racing in until chest burns with radiant heat and I slow knowing the tide will turn, and be winched back out again.
Urunga cemetery is often good for birding, but not today.
Instead, fresh mounds of earth lacking stone heads make me think that bones in earshot of the sea is not a bad idea, with a simple epitaph, haiku or witticism, like Jack Lemmon’s ‘In’.
This is artificial paradise with too many flowers, earnest, suspecting coherence.
I have betrayed my past.
Wyn was doing the crossword this morning. ‘What’s between 40 and 60’? Middle aged. So am I in the last category, old?
Urunga’s boardwalk conjugates revelation. The fiddler crabs scuttle about the mangroves in resplendent body armour (just one arm), heroic starship troopers. The female wears a drab carapace, but is very choosy, eyes on stalks fancying the biggest claw waved the fastest.
Are they conscious? Robert Elwood has evidence they feel pain. Their horizon is water pooling throwing back blue and white light over pale crooked arms and elbows.
A pair of Mangrove Gerygones shout at each other musically, I can’t make either out, so settle for the poise of a Striated Heron
the stillness of a Golden Plover
the elegance of a pair of Bar-tailed Godwits
a busy Whimbrel
We stop around the corner to watch Black-capped Terns circling the Kalang, then attacking, embossing the river with sparkles.
My lens chases the hunt, twisting back at the raucous noise, to watch a mob of forty or fifty Black Cockatoos land in the pines on the golf course, wings flapping extravagantly. I have so many questions.
Jazz standards at the Little Red Kitchen with Roger Burke. David’s Dr, Bruce, is playing a lovely old French double bass.
A young guy, Pablo from Buenos Aires, guests on soprano, splitting in smiles. He recommends some jazz clubs in a break and a young boy comes up, about twelve or so, ‘That was amazing, I’m finding I have so much to learn.’ ‘How long have you been playing the soparano?’ ‘Three days.’
The highway is unusually quiet, the stars shining, no headlights in the mirror, no trucks flashing my arse. We pass a fresh bush fire, a thin curtain of flame, on a gradient from scarlet to orange with fountains of white smoke interrupting the darkness. We stop to report it, hazard lights on, citizens of the human world and find ourselves back in traffic. So I forget a u-ey to photograph the fire.
Coming round the bend to home, the sweeping headlights pick out the prodigal Frogmouth, like an incubus crouching on the bins – reminding me it was bin night. I reverse, place my camera on a neighbour’s bin and shoot with a self-timer.
He poses gracefully. I wheel our bins down the driveway, that’s my job. The Flying foxes are rowdy tonight, the pollen and nectar in the blossom foaming on the Bloodwoods must be a stimulant, but we fall sleep like fallen timber.