Flirting with domesticity

Lately I have noticed that a wallaby mother and her joey have taken to sitting under my verandah. In fact she sits right up against the mud wall, under where my front door opens, so I walk over the top of her often. My verandah decking is pretty bouncy and noisy– as am I — and the screen door unavoidably scrapes out and back across the uneven boards, in order to exclude the slimmest snake when the door is shut.

Nothing fazes her, and I have become used to the glimpses of fur between the boards and beneath my feet. There is perhaps a metre clearance there.

So the other day, as I crossed the verandah and headed down the steps,  I was surprised to hear a deep snort/cough from behind and below me, and a heavy, panicky thud or two. I peered between the step treads and there was a very large wallaroo, now silhouetted near the sub-verandah opening. He saw me, gave another loud cough — almost a bark — and leapt away.

Of course I leapt for the camera, hoping he had paused. As he had, only a few metres uphill, and still inside the yard.

In the six months or so since the yard has been open, the few wallaroos about have rarely come inside. I love it when they do, as there is something about their long fur and their powerful build that is more ‘wild’  than even a big male kangaroo. To have one choose to come so close to the house is unprecedented, but to have him choose to go in under the verandah is astonishing!

It is bare dirt under there, raked clean of dead leaves only weeks ago, in readiness for the summer fire season. There is nothing to eat. I wonder — is he sussing it out for a shady spot for summer, or is he thinking of compromising his wildness, of flirting with domesticity?

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