Matters of the heart and spirit – thoughts on going for a walk in the bush by Salvia Conti

A walk in the bush; sometimes I walk along the roads and tracks and sometimes on the narrow and faint meandering lines created by kangaroos and wallabies as they thread their way through the forest to their favourite paddock (café), creek or meeting spot. All tracks are created for and by movement and reflect the relationships and desires of people, animals, insects and plants, water and air and the structure of the terrain.

Grass trees in bloom

A walk in the bush, and I add to the registry of the many diverse feet that have travelled over time along these tracks. The footprints of people, deer, wallabies,kangaroos and dogs; crisscrossing, overlapping, coming and going, sometimes vanishing from the changing surface of the road, time and the weather.

No deer this week, only two or three people have walked up this track in the last few days, quite a few kangaroos, the shape of water that fell and flowed along the ground a while ago, two thin bike tracks creating circular and serpentine lines; a large contingent of equestrians last weekend, at least six horses chopping up the soft sand of the road leaving big round disc like prints. I heard them laughing in the distance and the thud of the horses hooves as they went down the track to the creek and the first bridge. Sections of road further along are deeply gouged and eroding due to the passage of the weekend four-wheel drivers.

Shell tree and green

The terrain is so diverse and changing, the road begins as hard gravel, becomes a mixture of clay and sand changing to soft sand and back to clay…

A walk in the bush; I throw on an old cardigan and some comfortable shoes and walk out into a ravishment of greens. The bush is so changeable that within a one to two hour walk I can pass through a forest that seems to be predominantly made of grass trees to an area, nearer to the creek, that resembles rainforest, with tree ferns, blackwood, swamp gum and mountain ash; closer to the ridges the trees are shorter, sometimes peppermints and messmates, prickly tea trees, acacias and banksias.

Rosella thinkingThe bush at this time of year is breaking out into small white and yellow flowers with reddish tinges. In spring the birds are busy, flitting and bobbing, finding materials for a nest, chattering and playing. The rosellas like to bounce on the new long blades of grass. A currawong gives me a beady eye as I walk past a tree he is interested in. Something whisks across the track so fast that all I’m left with is the impression of something small and ginger coloured and a flick of a soft tail, maybe a fox cub? The unusual sight of a koala being chased along the branch of a tree by two sulphur crested cockatoos. They leave him hanging precariously clutching two twigs. Meeting wallabies or kangaroos on the walk usually leads to a long stare only broken when I look or move away and then they disappear with the sound of thumping and breaking twigs.

 

A walk in the bush; I smell the pungent eucalypt, peppermint perfume of the trees, the distinctive scent of a large nest of ants to avoid and sometimes on the ridge the very occasional faint tang of the sea travels by. The air moves through the foliage creating an ever-changing music, we all breathe it in and the forest exhales.

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3 thoughts on “Matters of the heart and spirit – thoughts on going for a walk in the bush by Salvia Conti

  1. So evocative – reminding me of the wonderful privilege of living in this special bushland that we all must strive to care for and conserve so future generations can also enjoy its life-affirming gifts. thank you for this word picture – I must go out there more and make my own!

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