I have a “lap around the block” that I like to do about four times a week. It’s about a 45 minutes walk – longer in the heat. The family call it “my usual walk.” Such as, “when will dinner be?” or “are you ready to eat?” “After my usual walk.”
My usual walk makes for a great divider between work and home, so on work days I do it of an afternoon or evening. On holidays and weekends, I do it whenever the mood strikes or the weather allows. Not that the wet stops me. There’s an added beauty of walking through the Bush in the wet. (It’s not bush walking, given there’s a wide concrete path, but the path skirts through the edge of some bushland. And most is on suburb streets.)
On my usual walk I daydream and let my mind wander; it’s good for both de-stressing and reducing my flabdomen.
Even while I let my mind wander, lots of things catch my eye. Animals. Flowering plants. Birds. Lizards. Eels. Trees.
One of my favourite gardens always has different flowers in bloom. Even in the heat.
Look: parasols for plants. A novel way to protect a flowering plant in 38° heat.
I rarely walk with headphones on – I like to listen to the birds as I walk through a bit of the local bush.
This bridge crosses a little creek. I’ve seen eels in there – but not since a big flood washed them away. There used to be a family of ducks, but not for several years. They probably were killed by cats or foxes.
There’s often little kids with their parents investigating around the creek, or throwing sticks in and watching them float away. It’s also dog heaven, running across the ford.
I know the river dragon thinks it is his creek. When he jumps out from his camouflaged position on a rock, scatters across my path and plops into the creek, I squeal. Always.
One day I heard some scratching in the leaf litter next to the path. And there, right on the path was an echidna. I look for him all the time. But have only had one other sighting. (I did see a family of three deeper in the bush.) I am sure the little fellow is OK – his thorns would protect him from predators.
There’s always parrots or cockatoos or kookaburras. My favourite are the crimson rosellas.
I love the little finches that scatter and hop about through the low shrubs. Less common is the lyrebird that I have seen a couple of times. Being a ground dweller, I do worry he will be victim to cats and foxes.
Recently I heard an Eastern Whipbird. I actually saw him while he was making the unique call. At the end, he flicked his head back. (Worth listening to.)
I was excited to see what I thought was a new bird. Turns out it is the juvenile Eastern Koel. Not rare at all. (Apologies for the poor photos. I am walking with a phone and not camping out with a camera with a zoom lens after all.)
Of course, the dreaded brush turkey has made it to Sydney. They make a huge pile for their eggs. The male tends to nest to keep the eggs warm. I say dreaded as once they invade your garden, you’ll never get rid of them. And their size protects them against all predators. Here’s one roosting near his nest. A photo of the nest doesn’t show how truely huge the nest is – about three metres across. So I haven’t bothered with a photo. It’s just a pile of leaves anyway.
I also love looking at the trees. The changing texture as the gums drop their bark. While the trees are ever green, they are sort of deciduous – dropping their bark every year, revealing a smooth tree trunk. I’m not sure if I prefer the red trunks or the white of the ghost gums!
Either way, I do like how the bark sits around the base of a trunk like the tree has stepped out of its pants and left them on the ground.
Then there’s my favourite tree. It is hanging on despite most of the soil around its roots having been washed away. It looks as if a few little rocks are all that are left under one root. Bits of the tree have fallen off. Yet it lives on.
Coming back into the suburban street, one garden ornament often catches me out. I forget it is there and every so often, I notice it. I think I miss it as I am often looking elsewhere – at the nearby brush turkey, at kids on bikes, at an occasional car – or struggling up the hill. When I do notice it, I always smile.
I’m always pleased when the flowering gum I pass is in bloom.
Likewise I love when the hedge of gardenias are in bloom. The scent always reminds me of summer.
Pink bottlebrushes sing to me in a way the red ones don’t.
In other seasons, there’ll be a carpet of cherry blossoms confetti.
I don’t do the walk as much as I’d like when it gets dark early. It is a bit creepy walking down the track that crosses the creek. A young girl was abducted there one afternoon – so it doesn’t have to be dark, I suppose. Luckily she escaped when someone else walked by.
Mr Sans and I like walking with a torch in the dark along the path as it has no street lights. Despite evidence of an excessive number of possums living in our suburb – think jackboots on our roof – I haven’t spotted any when we wave the torch up the trees.
I also haven’t seen any wallabies – though Mr Sans says he has. Reason enough to keep walking this route. I may see one someday.
If I time my walk right, I can come up the last hill, just as the sun is setting and get these views: