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Back home, 13 Aug

Allergic to routine after too many years at boarding school.
I don’t pursue activities, don’t inspect the garden daily,
or walk along the beach (or have a swim).
Each day is different, that’s the impression I get.

I wait on the logging road with supplies, a ute passes
packed with forestry gear, I cross the road upwind of the dust.

Pick up a Koala sign and set it straight. The plants must
be choking, filmed with dust from logging trucks,

The green flesh is grey, energy transfer compromised
but a Blackbutt holds a Black-faced Cuckoo shrike showing
an ice-white belly and Hardenbergia violacea is decorating
a small Westringia.

I am waiting, it seems we are all waiting for the changes
becoming clearer, waiting for extinctions and disasters
without a thought that we are waiting or that this is not
a rehearsal. I could quote Sherlock Holmes on the impossible
because the rules of care are being broken.

Reminder: A bad fire season is forecast. In the first few years after logging, chances
of a high severity fire is low, but in the subsequent decades a logged
and regenerated forest was much more likely to burn with high severity.[i]

I text, no reply. D is busy, her life is total dedication to the forests
and the forest lives. The world is coming apart, and this time
it’s the fundamentals, natural ecological processes.

I retreat and start another bird survey at the Yurrun.Ga wetlands
close by.  At the entrance Rainbow Lorikeets are licking
the large hybrid Grevilleas, the colours sacral.

Floating islands are fake. A Grebe ducks down, the surface shivers,
a Hardhead stands on water, as it appears, and preens.

Species Numbers 8:20. 13 Aug, 23
Cloud Cover. 10%
Temp. 12.
Pacific Black Duck 1
Hardhead 1
Australasian Grebe 1
Eurasian Coot 7
Little Pied Cormorant 1

The ducks dispersed with the rains last year, small numbers for a while now.

We don’t count the bush birds, just note the species.
Plenty of Superb Fairy-wrens Red-browed Finches, some Yellow Thornbills,
Eastern Whipbirds and one Golden Whistler (female- head hidden),
a puzzle for a while. Birdsong is circumambient, the phrases much shorter.

I check out the cemetery to record the Glossies again. Not one.
Just a small black dachshund that barks and tries to nip me.
The owner runs round after it and finally grasps its lead,
she walks off, no apology, not a word

What a view – I recall the old cemetery at Haputale,
the colonial gravestones of Anglican planter pioneers
and a view even wilder and wider. I thought at the time
I would like to be buried there. Now I have no interest
in redemption, some words might survive the fire.

The tallest flower is a dull red lampshade, a Mother-of-millions.
an escaped ornamental from Madagascar, adapted to the dry.
They flower in winter and reproducing from masses of plantlets
growing on the edges of the leaves, making them hard to eradicate.

What else is illegal here? Is the XXXX can full or empty?
Cats should be proscribed in every corner of Australia.

Letters from a broken wooden cross, spell the inevitable, the name
has shattered. When was it last spoken? And where did the vibrating
pulse of air end up dying? The world is coming apart, what would
the dead say? (After, ‘how did I get here?’)

A sculpture builds a bridge for me

The misty blue procession of Blue billygoat weed, yet another
garden escape, lines the road below pine trees, solid green constructions,
feral and taking over. We used to cut one down for Xmas,
but with no kids around, Christmas has subsided.

A Greater Glider has laid its long fluffy black tail to rest
on the asphalt, impossible to stop on the stretch of Giinagay Way,
not many left around here – my heart sank, cars are ferocious.
I drive slowly for crepuscular instants. A brilliant white Egret
in the water pooling below the banana farm, lifted spirits,
then meeting up with friends at the café.

And later, calling continually from the Ericafolia by our deck,
a tiny Striated Pardalote who poses for me.

I reply to Armin in Bruges, visiting next year with my godson,
the prices have all gone up. Wyn wants to buy a new sofa bed
a more comfortable model. Let’s not encourage them, I say.
She is pretty sure I am not joking.

[i] Alexandra Humphries, ‘Link between native forest logging and bushfires prompts calls for rethink of forest management’, ABC, 6 Oct 2021.

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