Today he said to grandad ‘the birds show us how to sing’

       I am sleeping beside  a thumper bumper jumper with the unerring capacity to launch him self across the vast plain of a queen-size and nuzzle into me like a mossie honing in on its target.

       I am perched on the edge a hot wriggler jiggler biggler wrapped around me. Is this sleep I wonder in the wee hours of the night.

       Thru the filmy drapes of the mossie net I watch the night press its self against the windowpanes.

       A few nights after full moon the sky is clear and the forest is backlit with shrubs  trees and stars  standing out in sharp relief.

      The tableau appears frozen but the air carries the buzz rustle squeak murmur of creatures meandering thru their activities of living –   tawny frogmouth…. possum….. bat…. sugarglider…. rat….  wombat ….bandicoot……owl…

      In real time the forest never sleeps – is never still not  by night nor day. Always in all sorts of ways life is  explored    burrows are dug , claws are sharpened , nests are rearranged ,  food is swooped upon, young are cared for and stories are swapped.

      ‘Just move him over’  Jess says when I complain about lack of bed room .  I pull the covers back and clumsily I admit lift the dreaming weight of a 103cm 3 and a half year-old lad and shove him onto the far side.  I fret then about the possibility of him head banging the bedside table so I wedge one of his dogs into position.

      I stretch out and tune into the waking sleeping dreams of forest and valley. From far away a fox yips a dog barks a vehicle moves along the main road.

       Will sleep claim me now? The heat missile returns in a series of tackles worthy of any AFL player and once again we are skin to skin breath-to-breath.

       It is a gift I mutter to my self.

       The night winds on, a bat flitters around the room and in the bedroom next door a rat scampers in and races about, John tells me the next morning.

       I sleep at some point because I awake and it is morning. there is a louder chorus of activity taking place outside. Lots of pips twitters whips chuckles whistles oodles loodles caws and whoooos.

       Wallaby delicately picks up  a fallen  peach leaf  and munches.  on the other side of the house another wallaby reaches deep into the dog rose and eats . They are  unfussed by the house and its occupants clanging and banging chopping and slamming calling out radio chit chattering.

      They eat what they will. And why wouldn’t they?

      Wild is their true nature  – their true heart and for that we should envy them .
They have not forgotten their way.

      Unlike us the interlopers invaders intruders who are lost and fear we have ruined the only good home we have.

      It beggars belief that so many realities can exist side by side and still the planet turns on its axis.

      Over the mountains and far to the west of this state uranium leaks into water held within the Earth. Chemicals are routinely pumped underground to achieve a dollar a continuance of the stock market and remnant forests are cleared for more coalmines while solar panels line up on roofs.

      People protest .  I wish I was there with them. I wish you were too. I wish we were all standing straight and strong and saying  STOP !!!!   enough more…  And people are, they are chaining themselves to  heavy machinery living outside of their norm in an attempt to make the world a better place.

      What world will exist for this wriggler biggler boy?

      He needs the wallaby the tree the turtle and the spider  . They are our teachers  they show us how to live  and it is said that when we lose them we lose a part of ourselves.

      Perhaps the key is humility and we must find it fast because  arrogance has led us astray taking us into  quicksand and we are sinking.

Maules creek is calling you. Leach forest is calling you.The Pilliga is calling you.

Mother earth is calling us  –   come home come home come home …

Let us do it together  afterall we have no other home than this one.

      There is no time left for that second cuppa no time available for another drink .


      What other facts do you need aside from

      this beautiful boy needs the  river the  forest a landscape to grow with …a future to breath and a ‘tomollow’ to play in

     to convince you to act now.???????

     Today he said to grandad ‘the birds show us how to sing.’

insects – be kind

Dad hops on the plane at Merimbula. he is stoic wanting to get away, his bottom lip is trembling and his face is a mask of holding emotion that threatens to engulf  him.

I am ticked all over with those tiny dot ticks .  .  .  .    .       .        .              .

.    .      .    .    yep as small as that full stop. this is them at the larvae stage. so after mum has laid some 2500 to 3000 eggs they hatch out  and what do you know they need a feed, they need blood so they hop into the bushes and wave their insey wincey little legs around until like a giant angel I wander into their domain.  bam bam they hop on board and suck.

if I don’t kill them that is if they achieve their drink they then morph into the next stage and become a nymph, sounds kinda cute doesn’t it?

I always think of nymphs as fey and mysterious .well not these nymphs  they are now the size of a small freckle and  have two more legs giving them 8 to wave around. they need blood too so they lurk around the shrubbery waiting for  something to wander past.

apparently bandicoots are a good score. I am assured that they do not drop out of trees but lurk around about 50 cm off the ground waving waiting.

we should  probably admire this  sort of commitment because  obviously their lack of size is no hindrance to their lifestyle.

Blithely I launched into new year resolutions this year – two pages of them written in my really cool rainbow pencil that changes hue as you form the lines.

insects –  be kind I wrote.

this is definitely not what I had in mind – becoming a serial donor to these itsy bitsy irritations.

it was probably a more romantic idea I had – like gently easing the huntsman off the wall in Elsie’s laundry onto a  bit of paper cupped in a glass and gently depositing it outside in the bushes.

further away than that she screeches in my ear as we watch it trundle off .

or lifting the moth reverently and placing it out of the way of big feet or flipping the beetle over so it can strut off to wherever

that sort of helpful thing not this itch and scratch.

something about bush living never a dull moment, even when I end up being the butt of the joke..

Dad has been and gone.

he has once again enjoyed the sitting on the verandah watching the bend in the trees, the dedicated fig eating of the black swamp wallabies, the hop skippity of the wren around his feet, the spritely splash in the tank of the yellow-faced honeyeater and the lazy coil of the black snake guarding the stacked wood on the verandah.

in between all these activities  he snoozes.

the black swamp wallaby sits at the bottom of the steps nosing its way into the cape gooseberry and trimming the leaves. the gooseberries inside their little lanterns are long gone.

the diet of these shy gentle beings is advancing season by season generation by generation.

once we could grow our food without fences.  our veges sprawled over a large area around the house and would remain uneaten by wildlife for the most part. the orchard was a feast of peaches  mandarins grapefruit  figs  and mulberries. netting was unheard of.

in those halcyon days we had the red necked wallaby mob living around the house and you had to walk a fair way into the forest to even catch a glimpse of the black swampy. somewhere along the way the world changed and positions reversed.

a red wallaby in close  is a rare sighting.

perhaps because the vegetation around the house thickened to a depth and richness that the  swampies  enjoy. But ever since they have come in,  it has become increasingly harder to grow food without  it being plundered.  like so many other forest dwellers we have been forced into creating  an enclosure for the foods we don’t want to share.

only problem is that as each season passes and each generation is a little bit more cocky more and more foods are being added to their repertoire.

rhubarb leaves  – oxalic acid and other toxins not a problem .

the chive hedge  – no more.

in winter they discovered the bark of the loquat tree and effectively ring barked the trunks .

this summer the new discovery is figs and fig leaves – they just haven’t learnt to climb yet but give them time.

oregano marjoram yep don’t mind it at all.

vietnamese mint can’t get enough of it.

thyme a little bit here and there.

comfrey leaves absolutely.

rosemary so far avoided but don’t hold your breath.

they are innovative and evolving .

lemon leaves for that delicious citrus flavour.

as you can see probably a fairly terrific diet medicinal calming nourishing .

natives shrubs should be safe from their predations we thought once upon a time.

but gee how yummy is  the new vulnerable shoots of the bottlebrush the boronia the hakea the correa.

Dad and I hug again. he  walks thru the gate towards the plane.

Kay is still saying goodbye to her family. reaching up to hug Floyd, touching the locks of Shyann and Natalia, pressing her son Wade to her one last time,  a giggle with Elsie moisture gathering in eyes.

come on Kay I call out.

everyone else is  already seated on the plane.

Dad turns  looking for her.

bye Dad I love you he tears up and nods bravely.

eventually without hurry she has hugged them all , Beau tall and pimply 16-year-old lad , a final joke with Stacey the new Mrs Asplin and then she gets to me.

we hug  at which point I burst into loud messy tears on her shoulder, she starts too and we clasp each other like  a drowning person holds onto a life raft and mumble words bodies shaking.

off she goes joins up with Dad turns and looks back at us all.

I snivel pulling a hanky out of my bag, my glasses have fogged up and where on earth did that wave come from?

Wade comes over and hugs me tight.

we stand together watch the plane clear the runway setting its nose for Sydney.

Shyann said she wanted kiwi Nana to stay for 100 weeks.  One morning she took  Kay to school with her for show and tell but when Kay got up in front of the class Shyann couldn’t get any words out , all show and no tell.

over lunch the little girls try to understand the connections

sisters  cousins who is your mum  pappap nanas dad aunties uncles.

who we all are in relation to each other.

the lines blur boundaries dissolve another person joins the family another birth.

I am trying to overcome my fear of going back into the garden.

we are desperate for kindling and I am still not keen to host any more little blighters.

I lurk in bed in the mornings so John has to light Stanley.

suits him he has a shed to restore.

Mac has moved in for a bit and is assisting John with the shed.

they seem to be enjoying it.

the job like the family seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

yesterday evening I  put some old eggs out into the garden  for the goanna. it has been around the house most days probably looking for more camembert  but no such luck.

is it off ? John pokes it under Macs nose.

I don’t know.  I don’t know either and he re wraps it  and puts it back in the fridge.

last night a ratty stole one of the eggs brought it up to the verandah and left the eaten out shell for us to find. this is without doubt the same fella that  took the  two litre plastic milk bottle and snipped the red lid into tiny pieces. finding no joy in that it ate holes in the bottom of the bottle to get at a smear of old milk.

lunchtime the goanna turns up and with its forked tongue leading the way finds the eggs and slurps them down. it seems a clumsy process from my point of view but  a few gulps later the egg in the gullet has shifted down the throat and disappeared.

the house is feeling  empty the bedroom in the lounge room is vacant.

I ring dad he is back home now tired from his trip.

outside on the verandah the goanna is wrecking havoc. the eggs were not enough. the mop at the back door has hit the floor. if the door had not been shut it would have come in. it has happened before and no small task to turn them around and get them out.  the  rubbish is being scattered all over the place – a frenzy of  plastic bags slathered over . it keeps coming back to the camembert / egg spot in the garden its tongue wandering over the ground again and again.

I have left some tomato seed pulp there but it gives that a wide berth.

so far they are not evolving into vegetable eaters.

I keep on scratching and decide the kindling can wait another day.