On Monday I turned 70. I planned to drive to Canberra and back for the day, a round trip of 400 km. Instead I head off eagerly and early for a segment of the river walk. The air is cold and the sky grey as I park in a spot just above the river. By the time I’ve walked through the first cutting the sun is shining, and the air warmer.

The gifts my walk give me are many. The river moves along just below me, shallow and brown, with the sound of tiny rapids in the stillness. Trees reach into the sky and lean over the road.  The second cutting offers sliced rock revealing pinks and purples and browns, and fountains of yellow pea flowers. Two magpies sing their melodious song and a willy wagtail, dapper in black and white, swoops across the road. Mysterious chalices line up on a grassy bank, remnants of purple flowering in the hollows where the seeds wait for dispersal.

As I drive home every old fence post seems to have a kookaburra perched on it.

I don’t feel 70. Every time I acknowledge that number I do it with astonishment