My daughter Sophie gave me a beautiful pair of silver and pearl dangly earrings. I’ve worn them every day since Christmas. I was wearing them, together with a long skirt, (and a spray of perfume), when we headed off into the bush, a few days ago, for a walk.
“Let’s buy ice creams and then stroll around the lake,” I suggested. No need to change into shorts and tough bush trail shoes. No need to remove dangly earrings. Not for a walk around the lake.
So we drove into town wearing our finery, and soon we were licking ice cream waffle cones as we watched the ducks gliding through the water. And that would have been the end of the story, but…
… to one side of the lake is the bush, and it beckoned.
“Perhaps we could just stroll a little way down the track,” I suggested, my feet already moving from the concrete path to the bush track. Everyone followed behind me, as they continued to lick.
I inhaled deeply. The bush smelt so damp and earthy and GOOD after recent rain! Water from the creek was running over the track, and so we jumped.
“Which way next, Mum?”
Then up a rocky slope…
and then down the other side.
Long skirts were lifted away from our feet.
Helping hands were offered.
We were lured deeper and deeper into the bush. We had no choice but to continue. We were under the spell of the Australian bush.
After walking 3 kms, we arrived at the top of a steep set of rocky steps. There was a sign:
Waterfalls, ½ hour
Only ½ hour more walking to reach the waterfalls? Surely we could continue on. And then as I peered down those narrow steep steps, the spell broke.
“Perhaps we should come back another day,” I suggested, “wearing more suitable shoes… and shorts instead of long skirts.” So we turned back rather reluctantly.
We picked our way down another loose rock covered slope.
We peered down at the creek.
We took hundreds of photos.
And eventually we arrived back at the lake.
Have you ever fallen under the spell of the beautiful Australian bush?
Unlike us, you might not have the opportunity to walk through the bush, but you could still come under its spell by reading Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay:
While Joan Lindsay’s haunting Australian classic Picnic at Hanging Rock is a work of fiction, the story is often considered one of Australia’s greatest mysteries.
In 1900, a class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion to the isolated Hanging Rock, deep in the Australian bush. The excursion ends in tragedy when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what has become of the others . . .
I featured this novel in my podcast: Books, Music, Burnout and a Mystery!
There’s also a movie version of Picnic at Hanging Rock:
Visually mesmerizing, Picnic at Hanging Rock is moody, unsettling, and enigmatic — a masterpiece of Australian cinema and a major early triumph for director Peter Weir.
And if you like Australian Eucalypts or gum trees as much as me, you might enjoy the book, Eucalyptus by Murray Bail:
Winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Eucalyptus is Murray Bail’s best and most moving novel.
On a country property a man named Holland lives with his daughter Ellen. Over the years, as she grows into a beautiful young woman, he plants hundreds of different gum trees on his land. When Ellen is nineteen her father announces his decision: she will marry the man who can name all his species of eucalypt, down to the last tree. Suitors emerge from all corners, including the formidable, straight-backed Mr Cave, world expert on the varieties of eucalypt. And then, walking among her father’s trees, Ellen chances on a strange young man who in the days that follow tells her dozens of stories set in cities, deserts, faraway countries…
Eucalyptus is both a modern fairy tale and an unpredictable love story played out against the searing light and broken shadows of country Australia.
‘You will never forget what is at the heart of this book-one of the great and most surprising courtships in literature.’ Michael Ondaatje
There are some sensual scenes in this book. Just thought I’d mention that!
If you’d like to hear about a few other great Australian novels, you could listen to my next podcast, episode 18, which I’ll be publishing tomorrow. As I discuss some of the novels I’ve recently read, I chat about unschooling writing and reading and coarse language. I hope you’ll listen!
|The Angels of Abbey Creek|
Did you know there is a bush walk story in my children’s novel, The Angels of Abbey Creek?