The solace of a nature walk- a writer’s view

August 31, 2009

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I take the bus to my day job at Macmillan. The bus is a 1979 Volvo. I first caught it at the age of ten when I went to a World Series game in Sydney. (In Australia, this means cricket: if you are American, this is not related to insects ot “jiminy cricket”. Think sport. Consider baseball take away logic and reason, replace with deep, enduring patience and sun cream. Only the British aristocracy could invent a game that takes five days to complete. That’s cricket. Also take away hot dogs and replace with meat pies. If you are Indian, replace meat pies with samosas.) So anyway, there I am, on the old rattler. I’m 40 now. And sure, I’ve aged. The bus though has carbon dated. Pulling away from the kurb, it sounds like a cross between the Industrial Revolution and its cousin, the end of the world. People with swine flu and people with the fear of swine flu trade suspicious looks. Up the back, a man coughs. Hack, hack, hack. He keeps time with the knock of the diesel engine. I see a stop coming up, around 5 miles from the city. I get up. No swine flu, no despoiled childhood memory is going to take me while I still have use of my legs. So I get off and start walking. I walk and as I walk I feel better. I walk past a blue tongue lizard, sunning himself like the dream of an extinct dinosaur. What progress has he seen? Concrete floods, an increase in flies. Why his tongue is as blue as Sydney Harbour is a mystery best left to naturalists and seers. To me, it simply means there is hope that the world allows certain minor rebellions to go unpunished. Above the lizard, a canopy of eucalypts where sits an Australian raven, bothered by a gang of smaller squawkers intent on the defence of their unhatched eggs. fresias I walk on, past the inevitable, harmless domestic infrastructure and onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a walk at some altitude that is as yet not invoicable, past the aging, hapless security guards, watchful for terrorists eager to bring down this miracle as payback for who-knows-what. I walk and I walk and I walk until the bridge gives way to the city and the city gives way to the lift and there I am alone, in the corner office, ready to do battle again, space opening up like the corona of springtime fresias.

Photos by Tammy Puntii and Chris and Steve

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