Darkness Visible

My morning begins slowly. When I eventually draw the curtains to let in the startling light of another day getting away from me, I notice that it must have rained overnight. The nasturtiums by the side of the house, which have grown thick and large and more like lily pads than something for a salad, are dotted with water that gathers in perfect brilliant droplets like polished glass.

It is almost winter.

It feels as though colour has been leached away. Beneath a dirty white sky everything is a darker, more muted version of itself. It is especially hard to find the beauty in things.

Birds provide some brightness. The blue of fairy-wrens, red-beaked finches, noisy wagtails. There were pelicans in the dam last week. And above the empty cornfield a sea eagle. Below, gathering the maize kernels that the flocks of cockatoos and ravens missed, ducks. Russet-breasted ducks with stark white collars who would reveal themselves as they periodically scan for predators, peeking above the stubble of the field.

The field is beginning to fill with grass and weeds. A carpet of green, slowly forming between the orderly rows of cut corn stalks.

There are moments on the trail, when there are no distant cars or trucks, no low whine of tyres on bitumen, no devices or whirring fans, moments when the only sound is birdsong and the busyness of insects, of tall dried grass stalks rattling against their companions, brief periods that quicken the heart.