Small Lives Living Large Before the Flood

Small snail on a dragon’s wing © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2022

As we gardeners in the other half of the world, the southern hemisphere, bid a fond farewell to summer, I thought about some of the natural highlights around me.

The coffee bean tree is laden down with green berries. The agapanthus flowered abundantly for the first time in four years. The lawns are lush, the weeds are going feral. Every garden is flourishing, flowers and green foliage abound. Shrubs, hedges and trees are taller and their leaves are broader. Insects are so noisy the sound gets inside your head.

It has been a smorgasbord of a summer for the plant, animal, bird, reptile and insect domains in my suburb. Oh, and I just found out that snails are from the phylum Mollusca family. I am loathe to mention the toads but they relish the dampness at night courtesy of La Niña.

The Orchard Butterfly is our biggest and today I spied a huge one drying its wings during a brief respite between showers before fluttering free from the mandarin tree.

Scrub turkeys are getting bolder, scratching garden beds and terrorising cats. Birds generally are spoilt for choice when it comes to food and where to build a nest. But like homemakers everywhere, they have to make a good decision. The eagle-eyed hunters are watching, waiting, taking their time. Even the possums are walking more leisurely across our roof.

Actually the agapanthus have already been and gone. There was a sea of them in the back paddock but due to a computer malfunction those early photographs are not available – c’est la vie.

GOODBYE SUMMER

Birds sing at 5am,
grasshoppers hop,
lawnmowers til noon,
cold drinks and ice-cream for arvo tea,
pray for a cool breeze,
clothes stick to skin,
a quick swim,
a light dinner,
air-con fades away,
windows open to humidity,
can’t sleep,
hoping no holes in the flyscreen,
late summer storm rattles the house,
memories rattle through my mind.

GBW 2022

Summertime sundown © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2022

As the Australian pop rock band GANGgajang so lyrically sang:

“Out on the patio we’d sit, And the humidity we’d breathe, We’d watch the lightning crack over canefields. Laugh and think, this is Australia.”

Full lyrics https://www.lyrics.com/artist/GANGgajang/212403

Our cat JoJo is a respectful blue-tongue lizard watcher and a keen rodent catcher. However, I am worried about a white ant termite nest beside the house. Never seen one before but I know they are voracious eaters, chomping through wood at a great rate. The pest control people are swamped with work at this time of year. Fortunately cats and termites are not the least bit interested in each other.

Australian summertime will soon hand over the weather to autumnal March. Cooler maybe, my advice is still wear a hat and sunscreen. Speaking from experience, I personally would not participate in a fun run unless it ends at the local swimming pool. Afterwards I would never ever eat greasy takeaway food. Ah, but those hot chips with salt and vinegar…

 Gretchen Bernet-Ward

** NEWSFLASH ** As I proof-read this post the city was already soaking from heavy rain and now the wet weather has continued in earnest. Day and night torrential rain has fallen, flooding large parts of Brisbane and South East Queensland causing major havoc to housing, business, roads, rivers and creeks. Sadly lives have been lost. About an hour ago we had a power failure. It is drenching, pounding rain, the air is humid, the sky dull grey. From overflowing guttering to washing away bridges, fast flowing flood waters are powerful and dangerous, carrying a multitude of unseen debris. Stay dry, stay safe. As the saying goes “If it’s flooded, forget it”. GBW 2022