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Lockdown, Monday, Aug 23rd

Lockdown, Monday, Aug 23rd

The rain has started a slow deliberate act.

I decide to go for a walk, though usually avoid water dropping on me.

I am naked – no camera, no phone, no notebook, no Wyn. I take it slowly, my photographer’s eyes adjusting to the lack of chiaroscuro. I notice all the saplings now knee high, healthy after the fires. Lorikeets squawk over. The air is as soft as the light, the rain measured and vertical. Without the usual sea breeze, the traffic on the highway is easy to pick then ignore. The Grass Trees have all spiked their green spiraling buds. It’s a wonderful freedom not seeing photographs.

I disturb an Evening Brown, an invisible trompe l’œil that springs up from the leaf litter and blows down the track. I can feel my heart beating, my fitness collapsed with Ross River Fever and hasn’t recovered. Mortality flicks by, I know of three people my age or younger who have suffered recent strokes. My new waterproof jacket, a year old but only worn once before, is already tight. I come back through the garden, brushing dainty orb spiders out of my beard. I remember I wanted to count our trees so do – I count up to 153, not counting shrubs, though unsure of where to draw the line.

There’s much to do: live longer, finish major projects (Art of forgetting – war; Eos; Artless; Yurruun.Ga), save the forests, lose weight, read more Robert Walser, write our wills, reach England to see my sick mother, and on a side trip visit the Ġgantija Temples.

‘The man who walks must study and observe every smallest living thing. Be it a child, a dog, a fly, a butterfly, a sparrow, a worm, a flower, a man, a house, a tree, a hedge, a snail, a mouse, a cloud, a hill, a leaf . . .’ Robert Walser, Der Spaziergang (The Walk), 1917.

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