Thank you for supporting my blog and continuing to enjoy my writing while I was away. In this post, I share two studies of trees in Australia and tell you a little story. My study of the trees are mostly in Bellbowrie, and our nearby suburbs.
Early one morning on June 1, 2020, in winter, I was glancing out of the Brisbane City bus, enjoying the light captured by gum trees, leaves and their bark. I am always fascinated by light. I noticed many white spots under the trees and wondered what these spots were. It was misty.
They could have been hail, or even clumps of eucalyptus flower droppings. As the bus came closer to Pullenvale stop, the white ‘spots’ moved rapidly. It was a crackle of cockatoos. That sight, filled my heart and made me smile all day. The cockatoos were unbothered by what was going on around them. For me, it was such a beautiful sight in the middle of the pandemic.
I have revisited the images in my head with some colour. I hope you enjoy these illustrations. I have been busy with my children’s book, The Lazy Little Frog. I have now completed the work I set out to do in publishing the books in three Papua New Guinea national languages, English, Tok Pisin and Motu. You can view and purchase the books here.
Since then, the other three chickens’ were very nervous. They were frightened by the distant dog barks, people laughing, cars passing by, the crows that live in the back yard, and even the plane flying overhead. I was annoyed by the chickens constant panic cries and all the false alarms by now. But, I keep getting reminded by one of my favourite stories as a child, the Aesop Fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. I would have this nagging thought, full of guilt, “what if..?” (That is what if the neighbours dogs were back?)
I sprung out of bed and quickly opened the curtain. The chickens were still moving around nervously in the backyard, but nothing was on them or at them from the ground. They were staring into the trees. Something was moving in the pepper tree. The pepper tree was completely covered with my passion fruit vine and full of the season’s fruits, many were ready to pick. I could not see the moving thing; I knew it couldn’t be the possums, because with daylight, they were asleep in the roof. I had another thought, a large snake.
I moved to another room and opened the window to take a better look. Sure enough, there it was – a little white clump of feather moving in the thick greenery. The window opening distracted the sulphur-crested cockatoo and it sat up from the bushy tree and looked straight at me. In its claw was the half-eaten juicy passion fruit.
“The thief is back,” I told myself. The same cockatoo and company also stole the macadamia on my two trees and most times, they removed the nuts while still green, and dropped them to the ground.
Today, the cockatoo just sat there, devouring the fruit and then took another ripe one. I did keep them away from the passionfruit bush previous seasons by wrapping all the fruits in bags. I forgot to do that this season. The bird picked every fruit and dropped the un-ripe ones to the ground. I took a few pictures, but when the bird threw the unripe fruits to the ground, I chased it off.
The next day, even before dawn, I heard noises outside my window. The chickens were still asleep. I looked at the pepper tree. It was weighed over towards my room. The pepper tree was completely covered with a gang of cockatoos, clawing their way over the passion fruit bushes and branches and eating very quietly. They worked like the fruit pickers across Queensland who rise at dawn and work their way through the orchards.
I was amazed at how quiet and sneaky they were, a complete opposite to their usual loud antiques. I was too tired to chase them off, but by the time I was ready to wake up, they left me two ripe, one wrinkled and two green passion fruits from the entire season’s harvest. In spite, I pulled the remaining five down, but I decided not to chop the vine. I must remember to save the fruit before the cockatoos return the next season. They have tasted the sweetness of the fruit of passion.