My primary reason for journeying to Australia was to visit with my dear friends Craig Hosmer and Daryl Reinke. We met some forty years ago in Washington, DC. They have been the most constant and generous friends.
In 1994 they retired to Australia, Daryl’s birth place. For years they had dreamed of a bigger garden and, by gum, they got one! They purchased 40 acres of cleared land on the Sunshine Coast. It had been cow pasture for decades but it was previously rain forest and they set out to return the land to its original state. Their success has been spectacular. In the two pictures above you can see their land from my first trip in August 2001 and the same land fourteen years later.
Lots can happen in fourteen years, obviously. Things change. Friends and family pass away. New babies are born, so are new countries. But amidst all the swirl and chaos there is, as Paul Simon so eloquently put it, “the automatic earth.” Treat it tenderly and it is your friend for life…literally.
In 2001 we planted a tree in honor of Robert, my late husband, who had been gone for just three months. We planted it along the left edge of that pond you can see in the top photo. And just below you can see what a difference fourteen years can make.
Craig and Daryl in front of Robert’s tree, November 2015.
Planting Robert’s tree on Sept. 4, 2001
While in Australia I learned about the Butchulla people, an Aboriginal tribe that lives on Fraser Island. Their tribe has few laws but the first is, “Whatever is good for the land comes first.” Part of Robert’s ashes are in that magnificent tree and it is good. ❧
Tell someone you’ve been to Australia and you can expect to hear, “Wow! Did you see any kangaroos?” The answer is, “Yes!” But the ‘roos I saw were not what we think of here in the USA. On my first trip, in 2001, I did see one of those big ‘roos, hopping down the fairway on a golf course!
On this trip the sightings were less dramatic. We saw several Red-legged pademelon (Thylogale stigmatica) which Wikipedia describes a “a marsupial rainforest kangaroo.” They are quite shy and hang in the shadows which makes photographs difficult. This little guy is probably an adult which means she/he is about 2 1/2 feet tall when upright. Because their habitat is rainforest the range of the species has shrunk and Wikipedia says it is a vulnerable species. Australia has many preserves where these charming creatures can live but we humans, frankly, are crowding out everything. It would be too bad to lose a creature with such a lyrical name. ❧
That’s me in Australia and that thing above my head is a Stag Horn fern — a relatively small one. They grow like weeds Down Under. Same with Birds’ Nest Ferns. It is a magical place. This particular picture was taken on Fraser Island, just off the Sunshine Coast. It is the largest sand island in the world and is listed on the U.N. Heritage Sites which means, hopefully, it will remain as pristine and special as it is today for generations to enjoy.
Australia is quite keen on ecology and environment, as well they should be. They have been able to protect so much of their unique flora and fauna even with the massive amount of global travel and commerce. In one park we visited, another U.N. Heritage site, there are machines where you clean the bottom of your boots with a disinfectant and brush before hiking so as not to track in contaminants. Despite that effort there are invasive species of plants and fungi. Still, you must do what you can do.
Today I am back in the States, finally emerging from jet lag and trying to “get back into it.” That won’t be easy, especially as I begin the sorting of my 2,000 pictures. Stay tuned…plenty of Aussie pictures coming soon. ❧
Hello gentle readers. It has been several weeks since I have posted to this blog but Alice’s Wanderland is truly living up to its name this week.
Greetings from Australia! I am mid-way through a three week holiday with a bit of business at the very end. It has been a wonderful time.
Australia is fun. It is at once very familiar and, at the same time, very different. Coffee is a good example, as you can see in the above picture. It is a simple cup of coffee with cream (milk) but Down Under they call it a Flat White and the very best of them have wonderful designs created from the milk. This particular cup was enjoyed at a cafe called Emelia’s in Gympie, which had wonderful food, coffee and pastries.
I forget how much “foreign” travel can do for the soul. It pushes to the rear all the day-to-day stuff that consumes our lives and forces a re-awakening, a re-visiting of attitudes and customs, a great kick on the door marked “Learn” to throw it open as wide as possible. Everyone travels these days. Age doesn’t matter…from 8 days to 80 years and everything in between. All colors, languages, dress…and all with a slightly wary eye on our fellow travelers because it is, dear friends, a dangerous time too. But at the end of 8,000 miles you can emerge in a land where people make hearts on your coffee. And I am certain in every land there are these gestures of acceptance and welcoming. Humans, most assuredly too numerous for their own good, nevertheless have great hearts and show them in a hundred different ways. Keep looking. ❧
It is really, really fall up here in Western North Carolina. Tango is enjoying the cooler days and all the different smells. Life is good. ❧
Twin acorn…enough said. Happy fall to the Northern Hemisphere. ❧
Most people are aware of the horrific rains that we have endured here in the Carolinas. I am in Western North Carolina at about 2,ooo feet elevation so most of what falls here heads downhill…towards South Carolina. Poor South Carolina. Anyone who has watched the news in recent days knows the heartache that is being endured in the Palmetto State after a flood of Biblical proportions. But here in North Carolina things are drying out and the sun has shown for two days. It has been wonderful.
The return of the sun has encouraged my mushroom friends to emerge. The first were these helmet-style little guys who popped up at the base of my hickory maple.
I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the photos and saw another little one emerging under the bark.
Later in the day I climbed the ridge behind the house and found this soldier pushing its way up through the pine straw and perfectly lit in the setting light of the day. Things are drying out, life goes on. ❧
At the end of a sunny day.