By Vita Forest
Tonight we took a walk. Lucy and I strolled down the road at twilight with Max click-edy clacking away and back on his skateboard. We soon turned off the main road and headed up the hill through the quieter streets. Max scooted ahead until it was flat and swerved along a car-less road. Our suburb is full of walking tracks and pathways between apartment blocks and we followed him down one such track into the cool damp shade within. There were brush turkeys scratching about between some trees, but they soon dashed out of the way when the sound of the rolling wheels grinding over concrete alerted them to Max’s presence. I was suddenly aware of the gradients of the path, the hills, the jutting cracks in the footpath. Having a fourteen year old on a skateboard will do that to you.
We walked through another track to a park hidden between an apartment block. Someone had personalised the pathway to their door with ferns and potted palms and a few pink Impatients for colour. Further on we glanced up at “the hoarder’s house” a balcony we had noticed on another visit, I don’t know what the inside of the apartment is like, but the balcony is overflowing with “useful items” – a microwave oven, an ironing board, piles of chairs and more chairs, a rusting electric fan, a folded banana lounge and boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff. Makes me feel ill just thinking about it. Max was pleased with the deserted day care centre area that backed onto the park and was “available to the public” at this after hours hour. There were gentle slopes, steep inclines and different levels to roar across. I inspected the rocky course for the water pump and the tiny veggie garden with its neat row of brightly coloured watering cans. Max and Lucy peeled off their shoes and pulled themselves up to the top of the climbing frame, laying back and looking up at the fading blue of the sky. Max relaxed into the ropes but Lucy kept a firm grip on the edge. I lay back on a convenient chair and looked up at the sunset.
Later, Lucy and I inspected the “house” – a part of the park with the outline of a building mapped out with some low walls, some empty window frames and a welcoming wooden door frame. Inside the “rooms” there are tables, chairs (some moveable) and even a wooden chaise longue. Every table is decorated with brightly coloured pottery and doily inserts. It’s very homey.
While waiting for Max to reappear from one of his skating jaunts, Lucy and I were calming watching a couple of brush turkeys pecking around in the damp earth of the park. Suddenly another, crazier one appeared. It dashed across the lawn to one of its friends, then proceeded to chase it up into a tree. Lucy and I watched as they branch-hopped, jump-flew their way up the tree then we scattered as the chas-ee took flight (very badly) and heaved across over our heads before landing on the grass and running off again. They are not the most graceful flyers.
We walked past the oval, past the grunting footy players on the astro-turf, and turned for home as the light dimmed. The clouds were chiaroscuro mountains in pink, orange and dazzling gold. The world smelled fresh and alive after all the rain and our clattering heads had calmed.
Walking does that to you.