Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spring Show

Well, my blue wren is keeping up her regular morning visitations, this morning just after 6.30, and again this afternoon, and I’ve finally discovered it’s a she. I could hear the fluttering carry on from the next room, crept in with the camera, and there she was showing off on the bedroom window sill with her fella sporting the gorgeous blue markings distinctive of the male Superb Blue Wren. I think they were doing more than snuggling up in the tea tree in between their window display, so not wanting to be a perv and disturb their little tryst I left them to it.

With her morning visit waking me up enough not to be able to go back to sleep, I ended up grateful for the early morning call, for the mountain bathed in sunshine reflecting off the snow beckoned me as soon as I put up the blinds. Driving up the mountain as far as I dared I was treated with what should have been a winter spectacle until my frozen fingers and the wind threatening to bowl me over forced me back into the car.

Springtime in Tassie more often than not is the one time of year when four seasons in one day is not uncommon. Having been up the mountain on a previous occasion when the car decided to steer itself in a direction I wasn’t heading, I wasn’t game to go further and risk getting myself into a situation I couldn’t get out of.

I was well and truly rewarded though for my pre breakfast 

The purity of freshly fallen snow is something I find really special. It covers what we normally see, but in doing so helps us to see the landscape in a new way. 

It highlights things we often pass without even so much as a glance, the contrast of pink heath or new shoots or jutting rocks against their bright white blanket.

And if you stand still long enough you sense the mantle of snow blanketing sounds as well. There’s a silence in such a pristine environment that speaks volumes if you care to take time to listen.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Patience is a Virtue

My little blue wren is back. I affectionately call him my wren for he has chosen my bedroom window to visit on several mornings over the past week. With wings fluttering furiously he hovers up and down in front of the window, pecking at his reflection. I’m not sure if he’s trying to befriend the bird he sees, or declare in no uncertain terms that this is his territory and all others should go find their own neck of the woods to inhabit.

Whatever it is, he, or she for that matter, for it’s difficult to be gender specific with baby birds, chooses to arrive just after sun up each morning, and I’ve tried my best to capture this frenetic display on camera, but the moment I move the blind far enough to sneak a decent photo, he’s gone in a flash.

This morning he made his appearance at 6.20, up and down the window, peck peck peck, so while he transferred his frenetic ritual to the next bedroom, up went my blind. It’s Saturday morning I thought, I have all the time in the world, so slid back under the doona, wriggled into a comfortable position to lie in wait, camera poised ready for that “David Attenborough” moment.

An hour and a half later it was obvious no such moment was going to arrive. Venturing back to the tea tree in front of the window twice, and on one occasion with one of his brothers or sisters, the prospect of capturing on camera two wrens doing a fluttering frenzy was tantalisingly close. Did I twitch? Not a chance. Did they oblige? Not a chance. Something was amiss, and all I managed from one was a brief hop on to the window sill before taking off again. I imagine the blind being up changed the nature of his reflection, and despite the fact I didn’t move a muscle his perception of the situation had changed.

After another half hour I gave up. I’d certainly never get a job working for National Geographic. I discovered it’s not that easy lying completely still in one position for very long. No matter how comfortable, the urge to move doesn’t take long to creep up on you.

Patience is a funny thing. It really only comes into play when you’re feeling impatient, when things are not going the way you planned, when someone, and how dare they, has an opinion quite different from your own, and are quite convinced their way is just as good if not better than yours. Or when the task we have hinges on someone else doing their part, and they don’t, and we have to carry the can and sort out the mess.

Do we react negatively at such times? Probably, and we might feel justified in doing so, or are we prepared to be somewhat gracious and cut someone a little slack for their indiscretion. The degree to which we’re able to extend patience and tolerance cannot be underestimated, for our response could very well be returned in kind when we are the guilty party.

My obsessive little wren is hardly something to get uptight about, but I think my patience in waiting for the perfect shot is probably going to be outweighed by my impatience if he keeps coming back at the crack of dawn to tap on the window. After several early mornings this week, a Sunday morning reprieve would be most welcome.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Red Chair Sitting There

Went for a bushwalk the other day just on the edge of the village, camera in hand to see what delights I could find. As I wandered looking for the first signs of native ground orchids, this sight greeted me along one track bringing me to a halt and making me smile. It prompted me to wonder how it found its way there, and who might have left it.

Was it just a piece of junk, dumped before its final destination, or did it hold a message as it stood in stark contrast to its surroundings. Was the person who carried it looking for a spot to sit a while, find some peace and quiet, reconnect with creation and be refreshed.  

The humble discarded kitchen chair could be regarded as cluttering the scene, but it beckoned…
“Sit down, take a spell
close your eyes a while
listen to the silence
see if you don’t smile.”

A rock or stump would have sufficed, but if the chair hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have stopped to wonder at this incongruous addition to the scenery. I would have kept going, enjoying the walk, but stopping for a while helped me take time to use my senses more keenly. Listening, touching, even if it did mean a leech wanted to have a go at me, smelling, looking closer, seeing both the beauty of the bush as a whole, as well as observing the intricate details of moss and lichen, bark and ferns, rocks and fungi.

Tuning into the spirit of the place, letting the bush pass through me, instead of me simply passing through the bush.

Red chair sitting there
By the bush track
Says loud and clear
Come sit a while
Before you head on back.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gardener's Lament

Deer eat agapanthus
Leafy hedges, saplings too
Whate’er is it they shouldn’t eat
They come in and chew.

You’d think the grass would be enough
To satisfy their needs
I wish they’d come into my yard
And free me of my weeds.

What has happened in the bush
To change their diet so
They never came and ate these things
Many moons ago.

It’s usually in times of drought
Our night invaders come
But with yards a year round smorgasbord
They find take-away on the run.

Once tall and leafy plant life
Screening blank brick walls
Are denuded now of waving fronds
And chewed down to their stalks.

My veggie plot’s abandoned
It used to yield a feast
But all it fed as years rolled by
Were nightly hungry beasts.

The possums strip the fruit trees bare
I’ve given up the thought
Of juicy summer nectarines
My efforts come to nought.

The wallabies get in the act
The pademelons too
I used to think that they were cute
But now I just yell ‘Shoo.’

Why don’t the deer cooperate
Chew things we have to trim
Work with us like the gardener
Why can’t they be like him?

Instead, they’re quite selective
As they wander yard to yard
A broad leaf here, a flower there
Making it so hard

To work out exactly what it is
They really cannot stand
Then plant that in profusion
To cut off their demand.

I never thought I would regard
The fallow deer a pest
Go eat your own bush greenery
Come on, give ours a rest.