22 March 2014

The land is bursting with ridiculous fecundity, as if we’re entering a season of growth. The forest in front of us is filled again with sounds of birds, competing songs patterning the air. A low underlying mumble of satin bower bird, a deep incessant throb of wonga pigeon, the steady beat of the bellbirds, the punctuation of the whip bird. Higher in the forest a chorus of excited parrots quarrels from tree to tree. Magpies sing arias from the back of the valley.

The garden is overflowing with energy. Seeds that have sat dormant through the drought are now emerging, to an uncertain future. A group of some sort of cucumber or zucchini (what did we plant there six months ago?) is sprouting in the top bed, where a late crop of tomatoes is flowering and fruiting. There is one fully-grown watermelon and more on the way. The watermelon vine is spreading down the bed, sending burgeoning green tennis balls poking through the tomato leaves. The rosemary, covered in purple blue flowers, buzzes with bees, both big (black and yellow) and small (blue and black). The kale has revived from its infestation of invisible bugs and has a new crown of crinkly grey leaves. Perversely, the silverbeet that fed us through the months without rain is now wilting, covered in rust. Rampant mizuna, mustard and parsley spring up in every spare spot around it. Heads of parsley droop with the weight of their seeds.

The cows are knee-deep in grass. Three Fernandos (white belt on small stocky black bodies) poke their curly-fringed faces over the fence and contemplate us. Tamed by full bellies, they no longer turn their heads eagerly when we open the gate. They don’t care about us and our green growth on this side of the fence any more. As they munch their way down the hill I wonder, should that be black heads and tails on white bodies?