First sight of Potato Point sea for seven weeks
Beach runners and shadows
Around the weekend yard
This will be the last post from snippetsandsnaps for a couple of months. Meanwhile, I’ll be blogging at warsaw2018 if you’d like to join me there as I visit Warsaw for the seventh time since 2012 and catch up with my twin grandchildren, Maja and Jaś, now 5 years and 4 months – and of course their parents.
This fare-well-for-now hotchpotch is a catalogue of things I’ll miss while I’m on the other side of the world.
I’ll probably ramble the streets of Warsaw on early spring mornings, but I won’t dare take the liberties I take in the streets of Potato Point.
Catching up with friends
I have plenty of special places to do that here, a few of them visited recently in the ceremony of farewells. Downward Dog in Bodalla has added a few delights since I was there last – the big back room offers games to play with lunch or coffee and cake (we tested ourselves with the Trivial Pursuit cards) and the outdoor area is bright with tiles, dog-panels, hanging baskets, and a tower topped by bowls and a teapot
(Cafe shots are the first photos taken on my new camera – Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V – a younger sibling of the one I drowned)
The Tilba Teapot offers a verandah nook and on this visit a free scone, and both cafes give me the company of an old friend and the comfort of speaking English.
In Warsaw I’ll have to hunt out pleasant venues for coffee; be satisfied with my own company; and put my chatter on mute.
The geology museum is on the agenda for Warsaw, but it won’t be able to compete with the explorations at home. J has just begun his categorisation of rocks, repurposing two of the hall bookcases and relocating them to the living room. He reckons he needs me to harangue on all matters geological, but I bet progress is made while I’m away.
The beach, the beach
There will be no substitute for the beaches of home, fingers of god early on a dull morning, perfect sunshine at Honeymoon Beach, even on rainy days through the window of the car.
Oddities and artworks
I imagine I’ll see plenty of art but probably not a visitors book held in place like this …
… or sculptures on a headland like this
There’ll be vegetables in Warsaw, but they won’t be free (although they’ll be very cheap) or presented as a still life, straight from the grower’s garden.
In so many ways, for so many years, these two have enriched my life. A pity they couldn’t accompany me.
My maraudings into my neighbours’ gardens are becoming more daring. I’m no longer content to, at most, lean over the fence. I now move within touching distance of the house, made easier in this case because there is no fence and there is no occupant. The white flowers draw me: their solid inner shape and then their dangling … appurtenances, for want of a better word. They must be some kind of lily, possessing as they do those stamens that drip with brown stain.
Today DJ features a supremely delicate air plant. This is the most delicacy I can manage for a companion.
I wonder what it says about the balance of one’s life when there is more hotchpotch than coherent substance?
Still life waiting to happen
I have a lineup of bottles on my kitchen windowsill. The plan was to spend 5 minutes photographing them in different configurations and light, but my arrangements always look stilted, and since they are glass I can’t throw them towards a random arrangement, and hope.
Look closely at the base of the trig at the high point in my village. Maybe you’ll be quicker than I was to spot the joke.
I continue to practise floral and foliage kleptomania on my early morning strolls, although the leaves on gravel are fair game since they lie on a public road.
High on the crown of the eucalypts – the dark pink one opposite my place, the paler one on the corner a few doors down – are blossoms. I know I will never reach them, either with my arm or with my eye extension which is my camera. But then, as time passes, they carpet the ground and all I have to do is crouch down for an intimate view. Colour difference is the result of two different cameras and two different species.
The beach is usually pristine and the creek pool just before the rocks pellucid, tempting small children to flop and paddle and play. Over this holiday period the beach has been piled high with rotting seaweed and the creek an infective black, where no child plays. Just occasionally a coil or a spray of seaweed separates itself from the suppurating mass.
Early morning perchers, swallows preening and fluffing on the wires, graceful creatures of the air. A taped off area on Brou Beach to protect nesting Little Terns in their earth-bound phase from unwary clodhoppers. A pair of emus grazing along the sand-cliffs, leaving their startled footprints when we move too close, forever birds of the earth. An unperturbed egret, fishing in the dark waters of Potato Creek, at home in air and water. Fire, you may ask? That too, close to home. Bodalla school crest features a phoenix rising from the flames.
The beach is full of things left behind: the sea must be far more forgetful than me. It recedes and leaves shells, weed, sand grains, ripple marks. When it returns, it carelessly eradicates them all under its waves and its foam. Occasionally things people leave behind escape its attention, and very occasionally it returns what it has taken. We once found a jumper of J’s matted and salt-laden a year after he left it on the beach.
On an empty block, a lowslung chair has taken up residence in front of a potential barbecue frame. It lounges there taking in the view over the grasses and up the beach towards Tuross.
A weekend of death …
On Brou Beach and in Brou Lake things out of place and dying, if not already dead. A cicada on a vast stretch of sand, and a jellyfish imprisoned in the lake. Overhead at the river a cicada shriek overhead – doomed in the beak of a bird. At home the front yard hakea crashing harmlessly over the drive where there could’ve been people, cars, dogs.
… and maybe resurrection
The tree in the Brou camping area is spouting new growth. I photograph it with J’s camera. Mine is awaiting either resurrection or a death sentence, after collecting a pile of sand and seawater when I inexplicably fell over on the edge of the sea.
I usually hang my washing in full sun on the deck, but a while ago I had a pile of big things, so I lugged them to the downstairs line. There I found a flourishing lily, as tall as the fence, that I’d never seen before. The rope forming the clothesline had rotted through too. Maybe I hadn’t been round this corner of the house for two years?
So I pegged out the sheets and blankets, and heeded the call to photograph the lily. I have to confess, as usual, that I don’t stick religiously to five minutes. After all, when I’m writing I draft and revisit and discard and refine and try again. Why not with the camera? These photos are the result of two mini-sessions, one with my Sony after a night when we had five raindrops – about our limit in those days despite promising forecasts – and one a bit later on a dry morning a few days later, using my macro-wizard 3.2 megapixel Konica Minolta.
I’m not a fan of lilies, probably because I’ve got it stuck in my head that they’re the flowers of death. But as a photographic subject they are superb. The graceful spiralling shapes of the petals; the solidity of the yellow stamen-cylinder; the delicate green streaks; their crunkling in decay like the wise crepey skin of an old woman. I’m lucky in the background too: what better than the worn wood of an old paling fence?
Three or four weeks later, after a day of gloriously solid rain, I returned to the clothesline and found the lily partly prostrated, and the seeds forming.
DesleyJane has my deep admiration, both as a woman who puts pain on hold to photograph, and as a photographer of supreme delicacy. This week she spends her RegularRandom 5 minutes with a posy of roses.
With this post, I say a very happy birthday to Tish, writer on the edge, who has given me so many pleasures with her posts – historical, geological, horticultural, botanical, African, stylistic and photographic pleasures – since, somehow, I found her in the blogosphere.
Girraween National Park is not far from my daughter’s place near Stanthorpe. It’s in the Granite Belt which stretches for 250 kilometres from Warwick in Queensland to Armidale in NSW.
For its creation story, take yourself back 240 million years. Two tectonic plates approach each other and compress the crust of the eastern side of whatever was sort-of Australia then. The heat is intense, and a molten mass of magma invades older rocks. Two kilometres below the earth’s surface, it cools very slowly, creating coarse-textured granite. It’s under an immense weight of older rock which is gradually eroded away. The upper face of the granite expands upwards and cracks and large slabs, sometimes metres thick, break away from the mother rock. Gradually, where there are a lot of fractures, sheets break into blocks and the roughly rectangular blocks become weathered into rounded boulders, like the ones I’m walking through now. But there are less-fractured places in Girraween, now beyond my aging reach: broad slabs, steep domes and pinnacles of bare granite with names like The Pyramid and Castle Rock. The creation story continues today: chemical reactions dissolve the boulders into a mixture of kaolinite clay and quartz sand; each episode of freeze and thaw enlarges cracks; wind, water, animals, algae, bacteria, lichens and mosses also play a part in weakening and shaping the stone.
My Girraween walk this visit isn’t a long one (less than 2km): it meanders between boulders, the legacy of the processes of long time, as it makes its way to today’s goal, the Granite Arch. I have two cameras slung around my neck and my sturdy walking stick, just in case I want to venture beyond the well-made track.
The trail begins with a creek crossing, concrete bridges joining granite slabs. But the main beauty is the rockscape, everywhere rounded boulders, leaning over and resting on each other amongst the scrub, sometimes paddling in bright wattle, sharp leaved bell shaped heath flowers, a couple of white correas. Where the rocks are sparser there is plenty of moss and sundews.
I round a corner, and there’s the Granite Arch: a huge rounded lintel-rock, supported by two doorposts.
For once geological information is easy to come by, easily understood and accompanied by explanatory photos. I am grateful! For a photo gallery covering more of the park than my legs can manage, see here.
The panel near the Granite Arch was also informative, although geological processes satisfy me: I don’t need the handiwork of giants. It’s a pity too that the Thoreau quote is so apposite: David Henry is not my favourite person!