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March 2007, vol 3 no 1

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Barbara A. Taylor

Five Acres Keeps Me Happy

unfurling fronds
a baby's hand
reaching for new life

After months of drought now come deluges of heavy tropical rains, bringing leeches, ticks and mosquitoes; means grasses, strangling vines and weeds grow overnight. There's always tall grass to cut. I suppose slashing keeps me fit but I feel stiff, sore after mowing in this heat, twisting blades around trees, sweeping alongside sprawling shrubs. I still enjoy living here very much, yet, often these days when time marches on, I think where would I move? I know I cannot stay forever. This summer started with raging bush-fires and searing temperatures–the hottest on record. I dreamt of rolling in snowdrifts. Over Christmas it was forty-five degrees centigrade! Unbearable! My house became a sauna, floorboards were warm, cold-water taps ran with boiling water, my tank was almost empty. Lawns were yellow stubble. Flower beds wilted. O, but it's the freedom I treasure: to walk around the place, inside and outside wearing no clothes, feeling released in these sweet perfumed gardens. Occasionally, there's the distraction of the thumps of a passing wallaby or a 'roo, and the noisy screeches of silver cockatoos, or an instant of fright at the almost-stepped-on red-bellied snake, and sometimes, my surprise delight of spying a rare Birdwing. Then, as regular as clockwork, comes the unique cacophony of cackling kookaburras–I am contentedly, distinctly fixed here in this humble place called home.

abuzz with joy
busy as the bustling bees
in the bottlebrush