8 July 2014
When I go outside to let the chooks out, the air is as bright and crisp as the sun. There is a thin white layer of frost on the grass, and the leaves of the plants huddle in. An exuberant burst of song from the lyrebird fills the valley, rich and moist. It’s like velvet, yet the morning is as spare as cotton.
Once the sun comes over the hill and hits the ground, the frost is gone, leaving drops of water on the dried blades of yellowing grass. The cows are looking for the bits of feed they’ve been ignoring, next to trees, under fences, and the barbed wire is coated in little black tufts of cow hair. Kookaburras fly low across the paddocks. One darts from its watch on the roof to snatch a tiny green caterpillar from the kale. The land is looking shrunken, its coating becoming sparse.
There is a lot of fuss in the big gum by the creek as bowerbirds chase each other from branch to branch. I heard their noisy flap of wings, their guttural mumbles, when I arrived yesterday, the only sounds in the quiet valley. This morning they are still there, adding a flurry of warm life to the pale blue sky and the glinting trees.