It’s official – Sunday the first of September and Spring is most definitely here. Has been for a while, actually. Some days have even felt like an early Summer already, with the increased heat of our climate changed experience of the Sun.
But oh, who can’t love Spring? There’s just so much going on! With Winter visitors like the Top-knot pigeons still hanging around in a scattered few flocks, and with the dry Spring thermals and westerly winds bringing new visitors in the form of various raptors (including a pair of HUGE sea eagles a couple of days ago) … it’s all action stations amidst my ecological neighbourhood and I LOVE it!
Last weekend Tarn and I went out to the Border Ranges for a bushwalk, practice for our upcoming trip to Nepal (eek!). Took us a while to find a track that was actually open and in the end we were rebels and ignored a ‘closed track’ sign and walked anyway. Many tracks are still closed thanks to the terrible storm we had back in Summer. Shows you how under-resourced our Rangers and National Parks are in the current political/economic climate … (oh no, don’t mention the Election, Sal! … too late, I have! Yes, it’s next weekend we get our chance to vote in what has to be one of the most uninspiring elections this nation has ever seen. It’ll be Green all the way for me, of course, as usual, even though I know they’re not perfect, either, at least their policies make sense and they actually have policies!) … anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the Border Ranges, which in places looks like photographs I’ve seen of Vietnam during the war – the devastation wreaked to the forest canopy is reminiscent of that wrought by napalm. Really quite shocking to see such ancient, resilient forests so scarred and trashed by forces at least not directly man-made.
But of course we also found deep beauty and tranquility there among the ancient, ancient Antarctic Beech trees. Thousands and thousands of years old, these beings are. Very humbling to walk among them. And Spring was doing its thing up in the mountains, too, of course. I was incredibly lucky to catch an unusual rasping sound as I was following the trail a little behind Tarn. Stopping and back-tracking, my ears led me to look up and find a shiny, black winged bird in the midst of a strange, elaborate, entrancing performance. I recognised him immediately as a Riflebird, practicing his mating dance. His wings were held like rigid fans and he swept them back and forth, brushing against each other to make the distinctive rasping sound I’d heard. It is rare indeed to catch such a sight. As I stilled, other birds also appeared, including two Golden Whistlers who were so intent on their chase of each other that their wings brushed my belly as they swept by! After a time I ran quietly ahead to tell Tarn and amazingly the Riflebird was still there on our return, though he only lingered long enough to do one more burst of dancing before winging away.
This morning the Black Cockatoos have been hanging nearby, it’s always a pleasure to feel their very palpable presence. The grinding, creaking noises of their fierce beaks ripping bark off the sallywattles is accompanied by their almost constant communication with each other – one cockatoo making an ongoing breathy, raspy noise while the other makes the familiar high-pitched screech, though its softened and abbreviated in this intimate setting as compared to the raucousness of their calls when in full flight. Mum and I watched one of them for ages this morning as she demolished a big yellow grevillea blossom, tenderly licking and nuzzling each separate nectar-drenched golden curl before casually shredding it and casting it to the ground. Her huge body weighed the boughs of the bush so that she swayed and almost toppled from time to time … total entertainment! I’ve always felt that there is something naturally clown-like about parrots in general, and yet that does not at all undermine the regal bearing of these mighty black and yellow birds, it only magically adds to it.
And yes in the midst of this ecological fecundity, fertility, mating rituals and new life, I can’t help but feel my own sap rising. My creativity is re-awakening and the PhD proposal I’ve been plodding at for a while seems to finally be unfurling towards its true shape. The libido is awakening, also, and I am gloriously re-finding the sexiness in trees and rocks and breezes and rays of sunshine that I have not been as open to as in the past. The occasional human is also vaguely attractive, too. 🙂