Forest sprite

By Vita Forest

One day,

While focusing on where

I placed my feet

Amongst the rough uneven rocks

And crawling roots of ancient cherry trees

On the slopes of the Kumano Kodo,

I heard behind me the sound of a

Strider

Fast approaching

Heels ringing on stone.

I glanced behind me

And met

The eyes of a small boy

Who blinked and passed me by

Without a word

Continuing on at the same fast clip

He favoured,

Up around the corner and

Sailing out of sight

Amongst the trees

While I continued slow and crablike

Testing the moss between the rocks

With my pole and two-pronged stick

Finding the firmest way.

And I wondered

Had I imagined him?

This small child

improbably alone

Was he a forest sprite?

floating through the forest

with such confidence?

But later

At a lookout

I saw him again

Swinging his legs

as he munched on a snack

and looked out

At the mountains that receded

in layers

Far into the distance

He sat apart from the

weary walkers resting beneath a shelter

He sat and ate and looked

and waited

His face splitting into a grin

When the rest of his family

Finally

Caught up.

He had proven his point

He was as fast

As the wind.

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This week

By Vita Forest

Near Woolwich Dock, Sydney

This week or so I have been

WRITING

READING

  • We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  • La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

LISTENING to podcasts on ABC Radio

WATCHING Killing Eve on ABC iView

Woolwich Dock

WALKING around

  • Willoughby
  • the Lower North Shore
  • Hunters Hill and Woolwich

Cherry blossom in Hunters Hill

Blue Gum (for Lucy)

By Vita Forest

Where you enter

we heard

The angry screeches of white cockatoos

Glimpsed white flashes wheeling in the blue sky

above the silver-trunked treetops

Watched as they swung around and about and around again

As we descended into green shade

You may hear the sound of six species of frogs

And we did

or at least we heard one

singing its percussive scraping

as we picked our way beside the creek

over mossy rocks and

fretted roots aslant

under the lacy shelters of tree ferns

Continue straight to where a track comes in from the left

and follow the blue wren

It was the blue wren that showed us the way

The hop of the wren along the dried spikes of grass

The scratch of the bush turkey in the undergrowth

And down in a dappled gully

A warbling chorus of currawongs

Across the bridge, stop for lunch

Sitting cross-legged by the river and

pinching a peck of grated carrot

on a smattering of grated beetroot

laid on the soft spongy whiteness of

the halved baguette piled with shards of

cheese and khaki rounds of

pickles and leaves of

lettuce and slivers of

translucent cucumber closed between

the covers of two golden crusts

and two rows of teeth.

At the first junction

Walking past the facilities and

missing the ghostly W

that means the girls enter

at the door marked OMEN and

Return to the start of the walk.

This week

By Vita Forest

On the Two Creeks Track, Roseville

This week I have been

WRITING and REWRITING poems

READING Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman

RETURNING to school

PRACTISING

  • for our big audition for an inter-school performance at the Sydney Opera House
  • for an item at assembly
  • for an item at a school performance night

Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney

VISITING Hyde Park Barracks on a school excursion

ATTENDING Writers’ Circle and having a good laugh and a good chat and a good listen to some good writing

MAKING mandalas in the playground out of found materials with a bunch of Year 3 and Year 4 children

Gordon Creek, Two Creeks Track, Roseville

WALKING and TALKING with Saskia and Vastra at Roseville and Waverton

Wattle trees on the Two Creeks Track

SPENDING time out in the winter sun (it’s warmer outside than in here in Sydney)

SEEING a whole crowd of women doing Tai-chi with coloured parasols beside Chatswood Oval.

This week

By Vita Forest

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden, Lavender Bay

This week I have been

WRITING and REWRITING my novel

READING Laurinda by Alice Pung (highly recommended)

SKETCHING at Wendy’s Secret Garden at Lavender Bay, ah delight!

WATCHING The Hundred Foot Journey with Lucy (one of our old favourites).

WALKING in the bush near my place – very energizing

VISITING my school on the weekend for a crazy community event

TALKING Japan with a friend of Briony’s as we plan a trip there later this year! while

EATING chocolate brownies and zucchini cake.

Creatures of Kiama Part 1

Cormorant at Bombo Headland

By Vita Forest

Just letting you know – this is Part 1…

  • On top of a tall lamp post on Blowhole Point… on each of its three lights, sprawled three birds; two black cormorants chilling in the sun, and one pelican, asleep, tail up in the air, head down. How it stayed up there, I do not know.
  • On the Kiama Coast walk from Kiama to Gerringong… we heard again the scrabbling chatter of fairy wrens hidden in the dense scrub pressed into the hillside by the wind. And later behind Bombo Beach… a male in his iridescent blue finery danced around the bare feet of a man sitting on a bench and staring out to sea.

Kiama Coast Walk between Loves Bay and Gerringong

  • At lunchtime, between past Loves Bay and before Gerringong, when you can see no houses or roads and you truly feel you are away from it all, where we sat on the track, looking down on the waves smashing on the rock platforms and the shivering grass on the hills, there, at the most isolated point, who should appear over the crest of the hill, but two walkers and their dog, their friendly dog who saw our lunch and bounded down the grassy track, while we scrambled for lids and bags and clutched our food away from its eager jaws. (And not long after this, our peace was disturbed again, by the peal of a bell, not a bird but a mountain bike that we turned and saw negotiating its way down the grassy slope toward us while we grabbed our possessions again to make room for it to pass, Lucy snatching up her iPhone that lay right in its way, on this track, in the middle of nowhere, or perhaps not after all.  After that we finished our meal in peace).

Kiama Coast walk

  • At Minnamurra Rainforest… the scratch of claws amongst the ferns and dry sticks alerted us to the presence of a lyre bird. Then another crashed under the walkway where we stood and into the greenery beyond, trailing its curling brown tail flowers, like the fern fronds it was pushing through.  And we heard it trill and chatter and screech.  Max played a ring tone on his phone (he’s seen this done on YouTube, how they’ll copy other sounds) but this one was too caught up in its own crazy song to worry about sounding like a doorbell.

Cicada in the rainforest

  • And higher up in the rainforest… where we climbed to see the waterfall, we walked through a force field, a pulsing deafening din that you could feel in your bones – cicadas. We noticed some on the track – black bodies and beady red eyes.  But it was the ones that we couldn’t see, hidden in the trees that shook the air.
  • After lunching at The Boneyard, a delightful rocky bay just around the corner from Bombo Headland, while surfers straddled boards out on the break and snorkelers floated in the clear water closer in, we pulled on our backpacks and our hats and retraced our steps around the bay on our way to Cathedral Rocks and beyond to Minnamurra. On the path a shriek from Lucy, and I turned to see a small snake wriggling through the soft grass where I had just stepped.  It seemed little and harmless…

There be a snake somewhere about… The Boneyard

 

This week

By Vita Forest

This week I have been

ENJOYING a lovely holiday in Kiama and it’s surrounds

HAVING visits from my sisters and parents and Fleur (nice to share a favourite spot with others!)

SEEING many many creatures (more of that coming up in another post)

EATING lots of good things including

  • delicious gelato from the Kiama Market
  • duck pie from a farmers market
  • burgers from the fabbo milk bar at Gerringong

WALKING

  • from Kiama to Gerringong
  • from Kiama to Minnamurra

  • around Minnamurra rainforest

  • around Bombo headland

SWIMMING all around Kiama

REREADING Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (Ah bliss!)

WATCHING the weather change from gale-force winds, wild seas and general chilliness to serene seascapes, hot sun and endless blue skies…

THINKING about planning next year’s holiday.