Walking in Parramatta Park

October 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Australia, Experiences, Gardens, Nature, Tourism, Writing | 8 Comments
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One Thursday recently, I drove my husband to work in western Sydney. I then had the day to myself until I had to pick him up. I decided to go to Parramatta Park, through which runs the Parramatta River.

The park is an historic place, part of it being the site of the first Government House building constructed after Australia was colonised by Britain. It also had the first real farm and the first successful dairy. Before that, it had been a significant place for the Aborigines, who had become displaced by the newcomers. 

The name Parramatta is based on the local indigenous word that means ‘place of many eels’ and the river was an important source of food. No doubt, the origin of the name is why the local rugby league team is known as the Eels.

Going to this large, beautiful park has inspired me before: to write, or to just enjoy the peace and the significance of the place for both indigenous and European inhabitants. There are the riverbanks, pathways and many open spaces in which to walk. There is also the old King’s Park cricket ground, and the Eel’s home football ground and Leagues Club.

On this day, it had been raining, and the clouds looked as if they held more rain to come. But, after parking the car, I set out for a good walk. In the end, I spent about enjoyable six hours in the park, and I came away with some images that I would like to share with you.

At the weir, river water washes through the overflow vents, swirls and churns into fluffy mounds, like suds on over-soaped dishwater. These float downstream, bright white islands on green, tree-reflected water.

Multitudes of flying foxes hang upside-down in the branches of riverside trees, like an abundant crop of plump black fruit.

I watch 767 passenger jets take off from the airport twenty miles away. They slowly climb into the air, and I marvel at the laws of physics that allow Man to conquer the skies. My ancestors, only a few generations back, would marvel even more.

The counter and shelves in the café display cakes and biscuits – creamed, chocolated or brightly icing-sugared. A gastronome’s sweet delight of highly processed sugar and carbs that draw in the unwary, and add yet more inches to already expanded waistlines.

Swallows swoop and dart for insects just above the lawn, zipping closely past each other but never touching; a perfectly choreographed aerial ballet.

A pair of batting gloves rests on the ground next to the cricket oval gate. Were they lost after a weekend match? Will the owner return to claim them, or will they continue to lie abandoned in the rain?

A man strides briskly past me, umbrella open and raised overhead against the rain. So intent on his thoughts, he does not realise that the shower has passed and the sun is breaking through the clouds.

An old peppercorn tree stands in the park, its thick trunk gnarled into rough lumps upon fissured bumps. A hole, deep and shadowed, could easily be the small entry to a fantasy world of trolls and goblins.

My walk in the park turned up wonderful images everywhere. As always, I had my notebook and pen with me to capture them.

 

© Linda Visman

 

Four more of my Writing Stones

January 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Writing and Life | Leave a comment
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Sunset

An evening sky, lightly painted in pale pastels – soft blues and pinks, with a touch of lemon.

But then the setting sun comes along, an artist with a heavier hand and a richer palette, and splashes the sky in flaming orange-red and gold, against a rich teal background.

As the sun disappears, the colours fade, washed to silver-grey in the fading light.

Gradually, the dark of night strips all colour away, but there will be another sunrise in the morning.

 

 Paper Wasp Nest 

An old paper-wasp nest, made from tiny scrapings of wood, and saliva to bind them together, has been dislodged by the wind from under the tree branch that sheltered it.

 So beautifully constructed, so light. Each cell forms a womb for the developing young, which feed on caterpillars supplied by the adults.

 With this home now lost, the female adult must create a new one, perhaps just a few cells at first. In these, she will lay her eggs, to begin a new generation.

 And so the cycle continues. Despite adversity, Nature finds a way to carry on.

 

 Misty

 Misty rain from a pale grey sky

warm and gentle on my skin

brings to my mind the soft fragility

of my unborn grandchild –

so full of promise.

 

Two Feathers

 I see a small, grey feather in the back yard and pick it up. It is sturdy and dense – probably from a Noisy Miner.

There is another small feather in almost the same spot. This one is ultra-fine, downy; unbelievably soft and wispy; speckled brown and white – from a young Tawny Frogmouth owl.

I hold them high between finger and thumb, one in each hand. When I let go, the breeze carries them away.

The Noisy Miner’s heavier feather falls first;

The Tawny’s feather floats high on a soft current of air, and lands lightly further up the slope.

I leave them where they land;

The elements will take them back to themselves.

(c) Linda Visman 2012

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