Thursday, September 18, 2014

Climate Change Conversations - September 21

Early August - Wollangambe area 10 months after the fires

 Climate Change Conversations Springwood
Sunday, September 21, 11:00 AM
Town Square, Springwood, NSW
Macquarie Rd, Springwood, 2777, Australia

 On September 21, 125 world leaders, including President Obama and  President Xi Jinping from China, will be attending a special UN meeting in New York to discuss the threat of climate change. Our PM will not be there.

 I intend to offer an opportunity for a conversation with anybody who wants to talk about the issue of climate change, in the Town Square. My role is to listen and also to ask good questions. It is not to put my point of view or agitate. The square is right in the middle of a town where I have lived for 25 years. We ( Beth and I) want to create a convivial 'back patio' kind of atmosphere, but there will also be a stall with information flyers. 'Simple' is the operative word for this action. For those who don't want to have a chat, we'll make an installation (a note tree) where written thoughts and feelings can be displayed. If you want to help out, see this web page :

and you can contact us through that. Or come down and sit down with me under the umbrella, in the spring sunshine, and we’ll chew the fat, shoot the breeze, kick a few thoughts around….
on King's Tableland - 2 weeks ago

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The mist, the rain


The mist, the rain

When a walking day in spring is forecast to bring “light showers”, leap from your bed! On Saturday it was only a small contingent of Conservationists who dragged themselves from beneath the warm doona, for my walk to Lion Head. We all agreed, on this walk, that it’s been a very cold winter. We thought it might be the extremes of temperature (which are not reflected in an average), or else the solidly low temperatures of June and July. 

The visual world has many moods when the air is damp. Okay, it was cold, being spring. But we’re used to that now, and can bear it for the promise of summer. And spring is typically a time for many flowers – like my favorite.
Boronia floribunda

I was the leader, so I didn’t write any haiku this time. Finding the way, being aware of time, being the leader is more than enough to concentrate on. But when I walked the track last August I did write this. 

wattle blowing 
on the edge of a cliff -
my hat flicks back

Will I ever get sick of sunshine wattle?
It is so cheerful, so tough, so bright in the cold last days of winter, when everything seems hard - rising into the cold, the laborious layering on of clothes, the constant need for food, colds and flu, the torrent of idiocy from those currently in power. But I haven’t yet written a haiku about sunshine wattle that stands on its own.

We had a lot of time to just look, and linger – the colours of the heath vegetation out there on King’s Tableland was vivid. We’ve finally had a good dumping of rain in the last few weeks.

There are never many birds out in wet weather, though  a few honeyeaters in the banksia, and we heard a grey shrike-thrush. Lingering on the rock outcrop, somebody noticed a steady trickle of birds coming from the north. Honeyeaters!
Harold said,
I knew it was migrating because it had a suitcase under a wing.

And the spring flowers! There is a wealth of knowledge in the Conservation Society. On this walk our resident botanist said that there are no true flowering seasons in Australia, things tend to flower opportunistically. Longer warmer days, rain, opportunity knocks, here’s what is out!

Dampiera stricta

Comesperma ericinum

On last year’s yatra to Lion Rock, it was not only windy but the cicadas were emerging. As there had been three seasons of plentiful rain before 2013, they were in great numbers. After about eight drafts, I wrote this:

dazed cicadas
crash-land into bushes –
the spring wind

Do you recognise these three rock outcrops? In the 1880’s they were called the Tri Saxa ( from the Latin saxum meaning stone or rock).

 Tourists flock to the mountains to see ‘the Three Sisters’, bring their much-needed tourist dollar, fill the cafes and hotels and the main street of Leura. They might go away with the impression that there is an ‘Aboriginal’  legend about three beautiful girls from one tribe, and wrong love, and an intertribal battle, and the girls being turned to stone to protect them. But that is wrong. By the twenties, the rocks had been personified as sisters. The legend came about when a newspaper ran a competition, and an imaginative girl made it up and won the prize.  Mel Ward repeated the story ad infinitum in the thirties. It’s a pity that things get skewed like this. There is a Gundungurra story about the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades (a constellation of stars), but I’ll leave others to tell it.

Thanks to Harold Thompson and Barbara for the superb photographs. 

a grass and its fruit hanging near a cave entrance

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