I have a scant half hour before they come to pick me up for a hiking trip to the top of Mt. Wellington, but I have had such trouble finding my way into internet that I’ll seize the minute.
I’m writing this from a hotel room in Tasmania, just after breakfast on Saturday morning. Over the past few days, my attention has shifted from the whirl of book-related activities to the outdoors of this wildly beautiful and enchanting landscape. I will write more about cultural discoveries, but this morning a few notes about the natural world, because that angle is so very different from my own.
Renee took me hiking in the Dandenong mountains–and just in the nick of time. After so many days of inside activities and mental exercise, I was getting scattered and maybe a little grouchy. Renee swooped in and we escaped the city for a 7 km hike (some of it REALLY steep!) through the temperate rainforests north of Melbourne. It was like falling into a fairy tale to walk amid the towering trees, mountain ashes and gums, in the deep silence. The air smelled of what must be eucalyptus, a green and clarifying scent that washed the cobwebs out of my brain and gave my body the vigorous hike it most desperately needed. More on the trees in a little bit, but first, the birds.
The BIRDS!!! We saw white cockatoos and rosellas and galahs and parrots, flying free. For Australians, this elicits no reaction whatsoever, but when your local birds are robins and wrens and sparrows with the odd blue jay flashing through the world, a red and purple rosella is a stunning sight, and a tree filled with big noisy cockatoos makes you laugh aloud, and a cluster of parrots is almost worth a tear of wonder. Not to mention the sounds! Kookaburras laughing, really laughing, in a maniacal, echoey way. The cockatoos screeching. Fantastical. We even saw a lyrebird, who seemed unbothered by us, and dug around in the grass by the trail, swishing her long tail.
Running out of time….more later if I can get on. I will also post some photos at that point. It will take too much time just now. Musings about trees and food and the wonders of Tassie. For now, I’m off to hike the local mountain.