28th March 2016
I awaken to a dark forest of lingering dreams.
First to greet the predawn sky: two kookaburras.
At the correct interval of planetary spin, I dimly hear another laughing pair.
High falling whistles: a nameless bird joins the rustle of dead leaves overhead, heralding yet a lighter sky.
I silently breathe within my tent, afraid to disturb the forest music with my zip.
A single currawong greets the sunrise, and, as if permission has been given,
wrens and small trilling, chittering birds join in.
After many breaths, a raven caw marks a different spectrum of dawning light,
soon followed by my tent zip.
Cockies cackle from beyond the charcoaled forest.
After several brief arias of dawn chorus, as apricot sky gives way to grey blue,
Emily alights from her hammock, just in time for the full avian ensemble…
and a cup of billy tea.
the cool west wind blows
in gutted tree; embers glow
smoke drifts through our camp
curled dry pods split open
orange lobe, dark seed
cool, grey diffuse light
subtle, brittle whispering
forest bids farewell
I can’t help wondering what the dawn chorus would have sounded like before the recent fires. On the other side of the unsealed road that brought us into this forest, the fire burnt less hot (only another 100m, and it was not burnt at all). On that side was singed evidence that the forest had been carpeted in moss and lichen, and filled with very tall and very old myrtles. The fern trees were still covered in singed fur, looking like shaggy-coated mammoths. My side of the divide was dominated by stags of eucalypts towering over blackwood trees, and tall fern trees with all their “fur” burnt off, but still able to unfurl new fronds. There seemed to be less myrtle on my side where the fire burnt hotter, but it was hard for me (a non-botanist) to assess the charcoaled remains.
Dan chose to hang his hammock on the less damaged side of the dirt road to Em and me. When he brings out his photos and videos of Em playing violin in the woods at the edge of the fire-line, you will see why. Here’s a peak at what Em and Dan were getting up to, with Em dressed in a costume designed by Tsugumi Tanaka, made from felt embossed and dyed with natural leaves and nuts of Tasmania.
Emily… the violin elf… Wait til you hear the music she composed. Magic!
Photos by Daniel Haley. ...
I found a website on the ferns of Tassie. It tells me that there are five Tasmanian fern species that form trunks over one metre in height [and shorter varieties as well, of course]… “Dicksonia takes about 30 years from the time of germination to develop a one-metre trunk… A two-metre trunk may be well over 100 years old.” We saw many many fern trunks way over two metres tall.
The next chapter in my Tarkine Adventure: -–> . Lost