Some think this is the first day of spring – of course it’s not. Wattle Day has been brought back to the first day of September, the official start of the Australian spring. Yet 4 weeks ago (in June) our Coastal Wattle was in full bloom in mid-July. See my post on the seasons).
I’m ready to go, a new adventure, as if we had a choice.
A spill of amber light stretches, a shack is framed
a lagoon reflection, the round termite mound in shot
is slightly elongated, more like a human head. Orion is abseiling behind Jagun. Large dark wings
pass over my head, Ospreys I think, then recognise
the beat, the flow of an Olympic rower, crows . . .Three passing Sooty Oystercatchers pipe me aboard
their calls skating overs the water, stopping as they drop
onto the rocky elbow beside a pair of Pied Oystercatchers.
Whipbirds whip-crack a sharp sound to negotiate the undergrowth.The Gang of Little Black Cormorants wheel over Miilba’s cheek
then skid down. A pair of Lapwings complement a pair of fishing boats.
The Silver Gulls wait till the sun is sure of its footing.
The river is gentle, mellifluous, the breakers not beating the bar,
sensual the way a palm of slow ripples is coming towards me.
A choir of two on the tallest death, Magpie song showers
legendary beauty, Swallow tweets race across the beach.
A mess of gulls comes between us, now all the pieces are in place.I advance slowlyand find a Straited Heron on an island rock, hunched
solid as stone, the Oystercatchers are ransacking the rocks behind.
I am taking a photograph looking at the screen – not the world
and see a splash, jumping water, a broken surface, look upan Osprey is rising, in this light the brown wings, the chestnut
red of a Brahminy Kite, the bird flies straight at me, I squeeze.
Art may have lost its ‘aura’ but not this raptor, wide wing span
hurtling straight towards me, unprepared.
Behind me is a convincing moon, dirty cloud, and the sounds
of Whip Birds, Magpies and White-cheeked Honeyeaters.The works change – melting glaciers have skewed
our axis a little. This wrack of seeds and shells
is sown along the northern curve of Miilba, usually bare.A Coastal Banksia flower-spike in fine condition,
Grey Mangrove seeds, some with energy pushing
out pale phalluses in hope of rooting. The mine shafts are designed with characteristic spoils,
sand crabs, bubbler crabs, patterns a way of life. What do you think?
Is this still the same world you thought it was
in your hot-headed adolescence?
I lift the camera to hide my long shadow, in whites,
coming in at number ten on the South Downs.
My stories have veered from chalk and my play changed
from linseed oil and willow with hours of Knocking-In
to clay, compost and seed.