It's Saturday again and I decide to pick up the river road where I left off last week, while my companion spends an hour working on the river reserve. He drops me off, and I set off. The property beside me is familiar to me from thirty years ago. An old lady lived there then (probably younger than I am now). She knew the world's business: I went for a job interview which I mentioned to no-one and I was hardly in the door at home when she rang and said “How did the job interview go?” That sort of old lady. As she aged more she became another sort of old lady. My car broke down one day near her place, and when I knocked on the door she answered with a gun in her hand.
She's long gone and the valley is peaceful. A tractor and a motorbike pass me, and then a car offering a lift. I can hear birds, invisible and unidentifiable, the scuffing of my feet, and occasionally the wind blowing across the casuarinas lining the river. A group of caramel cows walk along the thin line of the horizon observing me curiously – “A pedestrian? we don't see many of them around here” – and then skitter off in belated alarm, presenting rumps. Ducks make triangles on the lagoon as they paddle about their business. The hills on the other side of the river are splotched with the yellow of wattle, and edged with the maroon of new tips on the eucalypts. A man working near his stock yards yells a greeting. Looking back, I can see the mountains of the Great Dividing Range. I'm drawn to the gentle folds of the hills, old trees offering themselves and their shadows, old posts, and the water, of course, blue under a cloudless sky.
I stroll, and bend, and squat, and sit right down, and stretch, depending on the position of flowers or grasses demanding portraits. I mostly use my old camera, confident that it will give me some satisfying close-ups, but both cameras are slung round my neck. I encounter chicory, that lovely delicate blue flower last seen in the flower-meadow in Warsaw that I crossed every day on the way to the bus. I meet again the tiny star shaped flower with red striped berries, no bigger than the top of a pencil, that used to proliferate on the verge outside my house: and meet for the first time pink, brown and cream grass that waves energetically every time I get it in focus. Mostly what I see are beautiful invaders.