The frogs are calling—little clouds of steam
are visible around the solar lamps
that dot the garden by the swimming pool;
the pristine smell of eucalyptus damp
with sunscreen lotion, Aerogard and chlorine.
Little clouds of steam—the frogs are calling
across the family friendly tourist park
from hidey-holes around the swimming pool,
clueless that the garden has them marked
for death by slow approach to squeaky clean.
They say a house without books is like a room without windows, and a room without books like a body without a soul; they being Horace Mann and Marcus Tullius Cicero respectively, or conversely Marcus Tullius Cicero and Horace Mann temporally speaking, neither of whose books I ever got around to reading by the way, nor is it likely I ever will, since a room without books–call me soulless–can’t be a room with a window and a house with books at the same time. So next time you can’t put a book down spare a thought for those of us who can’t tear ourselves away from the window.
The sunbeam that glides over sleepwalking water is catching the wink in the sail, where clumps of the claystone of glazed orange ochre rub shoulders with wet inks of shale. Some say every silver-grey cloud has a mudrock, and every such mudrock its day; others say all the good silver-grey clouds have been taken so take come what may.
So when did the silver-grey cloud of the day become the new fish in the sea? It all sounds like herrings of cherry conflating in snowclone to me.
Before and after shots of this cactus flower at my front door–the former as I left for work today, and the latter on return–could just as easily be selfies of me. Next time I tell someone I’m cactus, I’ll know what I mean.
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce J, my new travelling companion.
J on Moonah Track, Big Desert Wilderness Area
At the time of this photograph—approaching sunset, 3 Jan 2017—J was not travelling anywhere, and it won’t take a seasoned 4WD veteran to see why. We did feel some trepidation with the sand becoming softer and deeper as we progressed, and did consider turning back a couple of times before getting stuck in this predicament, but since it was getting late and my camping site guide had promised me that a conventional 2WD could traverse Victoria’s Big Desert Wilderness Park to the Casuarina Campground where I had decided at the last moment to spend the night, I was not about to let my growing fear of the unknown dictate that I turn and retreat—“J is a 4WD… we can do this,” I foolishly fooled myself. In hindsight it would have been sensible to weigh up some of the extenuating factors: I was carrying no tyre gauge, no air compressor, no recovery kit, and I was following my sat-nav directions rather than the directions in the camping site guide. Indeed, there are two roads in and my sat-nav put me on the road that a conventional 2WD can’t traverse.
I started letting air out of the tyres but, not having done this before, did not know what the recommended 18PSI might look like on a tyre sunk in sand in the absence of a gauge. I feared I might further complicate my situation so resigned to calling Emergency – 000, the only number I could call from here.
Shortly after 11pm that night I had arrived at Casuarina Campground, with assistance from an out-of-town police officer and local farmer. One of the tyres was almost completely flat when we arrived, and another was sitting mangled in the spare wheel compartment after it popped off the rim along the way. The campground was empty, so the local farmer returned in the morning to re-inflate my tyres and I followed him back to Patchewollock along the safe track.
The whole experience was extremely embarrassing, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Roger and Irene for extracting me from the danger I had foolishly placed myself in, and to Kevin at Patchewollock Rural Supplies who gave J a checkup at no cost before we limped off to Mildura on three standard wheels and one undersized space saver to have my damaged tyre replaced and wheel refitted.
I will know in future exactly how to be prepared and what to do if I encounter sand like this again, and since there is always a bright side that will be it, but if I had done a one day 4WD course when I bought J the bright side would have been Casuarina Campground with me with my feet up watching the sun set, and this would have been a journal about the day starting beside Glenelg River at sunrise with beautiful birdsong,
then setting out for the Silo Art trail through Sheep Hills,
Sheep Hills silos
via a dry Albacutya Lake boat ramp to boat ramp track crossing
topped off with an exciting sandhill adventure. They say you live and you learn. If you haven’t taken the appropriate precautions it’s ‘If you live, then you learn.’
The Architecture Of Water, a collection of poetry written and compiled by the late and great Brisbane poet Paul Squires, is now available for purchase. Paul originally submitted this manuscript to the judges of the 2010 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript; the prize, had he been successful, $3000 […]