I have become attuned to the cadences of the forest.
Daily I listen to magpie melodies. I know when they are communicating that the seed plate is empty. ‘Ahem, please address this matter.’ I wander outside under their watchful eyes, armed with fresh supplies, smiling to myself as feathers begin to flutter with anticipation. Later, a bobtail will help himself to seed or perhaps curl up on the plate and absorb some heat. At twilight, a foraging kangaroo may clean up any remaining grains. The simple offering has become a communal platter.
I know that when a black cockatoo is sipping from the bird bath, there will be two guardians in a nearby tree. I know that wrens, fantails and robins rarely bathe alone. I know that on warm sunny days, roos will quench their thirst from this popular bird bath.
I feel honoured to witness the lives of our wildlife friends at such close quarters. My sense of wonder is never lessened each time I see a joey suckling from it’s mother or peering with curiosity from her pouch or taking it’s first tentative hops on the forest floor. Sometimes this happens right outside my window. On many occasions, a bright red robin has rested on my window ledge, facing towards me as if to say ‘hello, human friend‘. On many evenings, as we prepare dinner in our kitchen, members of our resident phascogale family (a rare marsupial) clatter around as they undertake renovations in the roof cavity. A wide-eyed gecko watches us laugh from his kitchen ceiling beam.
I admire the resilience of our wild companions. How exposed they are to elements, predators, human interference and so on. Where do these fragile bodies go when storms shake the forest? Where do they shelter?
Life amongst these stately trees offers up daily observation and contemplation for which I am so grateful. Yet soon I will leave the forest. Events are leading us to a new environment. There will be new adventures. There are always adventures. But in this moment, my heart has a sprinkling of sadness as I imagine a world away from familiar sightings, sounds and scents.
I shall adjust and settle into a life elsewhere. I shall speak, eat and sleep in different surroundings. And here, magpies will continue to work as a tuneful team. Cockatoos will continue to shriek amidst the treetops. Fairy wrens and fantails will continue to dance through scrubland. Kangaroos will continue to nibble, relax, breed and scratch.
For all of us, life goes on. For an unknown duration. Regardless of how many limbs we have. Regardless of whether we are covered in skin, feathers or fur. Regardless of whether our home is in a forest, beside the sea or in a city.
For now, I shall savour the last few days of natural rhythms in this little pocket of vulnerability and community that is our forest home.