The Extraordinary

I don’t understand what’s going on in my orchard — or not going on, actually. The bower birds and the king parrots have arrived, as usual, to eat the fruit on the trees that I haven’t got around to netting, which is all of them this year. I knew the mulberries were coming ripe in […]

I’d just cut back the woody stems of the verandah vines — the ornamental grape and the wisteria. A scattering of brown tendrils and dry curling leaves had landed on the verandah and I began to sweep them off. Only, one decided it didn’t want to be swept and began lurching away. It was so delicate […]

Living on a mountain, my eyes are directed as often to the skies as they are to ground level. Clouds fascinate me — and I’m not alone — as the wonderful Cloud Appreciation Society website shows. I especially love it when massive cloud banks like this one, snagged on the mountain range, are lit by […]

The significance of ultra-abstract art often eludes me; I might appreciate it as design and colour, but it doesn’t speak to me. I don’t warm to it, relate to it, as I can to the merely abstracted, stylised, simplified, where the origin is vaguely discernible. In the latter the artist’s treatment of it stimulates my […]

After showers, if the air is still enough, for a very brief period before the sun soaks up the raindrops — I am given diamonds. Every tiny leaf holds a trembling drop of water that catches the sunlight to sparkle and shimmer. The magic only works while the light is at a certain angle, so […]

Clouds never cease to surprise me with their inventiveness, their capacity to confuse the senses and scramble their connections to the mind. In one almost cloudless sunset sky recently, at a time when I thought I knew the moon was half-full, I briefly also thought I saw a huge crescent moon.  Pink and perfect, it […]

A streak of white down on the little dam alerted me to something different happening there. It was some sort of bird. I crept closer, staying below the fenceline, as the bird had frozen, clearly on the alert, its round eye bright with tension. A solitary waterbird, with the typical long legs and neck and pointed […]

Drivng back from the Gloucester district a few weeks ago, I passed above the very steep and narrow, very special gully near Dungog where a remnant rainforest of giant trees like figs and stinging trees and white cedars stand tall and proud amidst a dense jungle of vines competing for the light. I am always […]

Recently I stayed in a rustic cabin by a billabong where Nefertiti rose serene from the water and Dusky Moorhens kept a respectful distance, trailing ripples as they trawled for food, and creating delightful reflections. At The Old Brush reserve near Cessnock, NSW, acres of mown native grass surround eight billabongs and countless picnic spots […]

On the way in to the New England National Park I began passing snow gums and trees so hoary with mosses and lichens that I couldn’t say what they were underneath. At over 1500m above sea level, this park has spectacular views looking out but also looking in. Gondwanaland plants like Antarctic Beech and tree […]

I have an old wooden stepladder that I keep in the shed. Last time I used it was to trim the ornamental grapevine on the verandah. The other day I fetched it and placed it under a grey gum where I was mending a swing. Perhaps an hour later I went to fold it up and return […]

I was walking around the lemon tree, which has several generations of fruit on it at present, trying to decide which might be the oldest and best to pick. Then I caught a glimpse of something not quite right hanging there. It was green and nobbly textured like the young fruit, but shaped more like the […]

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