Thursday, 8 March 2012

Jottings from the Tropics: 08 March 2012


The yellow corkwoods (Melicope bonwickii) are in flower. As was the case with the blue quandongs, only the tallest trees are attracting birds. The corkwood immediately in front of my living room, so popular as a perch at other times, seems to be invisible to them at the moment. That might be for the best, because the Ulysses butterflies are still dropping by to lay their eggs on it in. If the fauna keep up this division of resources, I'll happily forego the photographic opportunities for a cloud of blue butterflies.

- o O o -

You know, I must learn to look before I empty cold tea and coffee out of the window. More than once I've upturned a cup and immediately heard a startled grunt from a brush turkey. They see the object in my hand and scurry underneath it, hoping that I'm about to distribute food. Life must be a continual disappointment for these hopeful birds. There is a lesson in this for all of us. Except for the turkeys. They never learn.

- o O o -

One of the good things about living here is the dearth of people plying electricity and telecommunications deals door-to-door. It was an almost daily occurrence in Melbourne. The proselytisers still drop in occasionally, but I think I've managed to get that under control. (I remember having a conversation with a disconsolate LDS elder in Footscray during which I'd made him homesick by talking about my trip to Idaho. "Along this street, everyone's a Buddhist, Catholic or atheist," he said. "Do you think there are any houses worth visiting?" And I thought, Missionary work. Ur doin it rong.)

The other day, I was writing at home when a huge, sparkling white, brand new sedan came up to the house and parked less than a metre from the carport. The driver wound down the passenger side window and yelled to me, "Have I come to the right place?"

That sounded like a koan to me. I mean, it might've been the right place, if it were the one he was looking for. But if he'd been after another destination, then, no, it wasn't. Who is to know? People have meditated for years to answer this question.

As it turned out, it was not the right place. He'd got the correct digits of the rural number, but in the wrong order. I waved him on his way.

Strangely, he left the property so quickly he bottomed out the car twice and hit the edge of the megapode mound. I couldn't imagine why. Until I happened to be passing a mirror later and remembered that I'd tied up my hair with twist ties to keep it out of my eyes and off the back of my neck. I looked like a cross between a hedgehog and Worzel Gummidge.

I anticipate more visitors soon. Possibly with white coats and nets.

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