Friday, 2 November 2007

Revisiting favourite places

I’ve learned a thing or two over the last few years. One is never to brake quickly when I see an interesting bird. The driver behind usually (never!) has the same appreciation of the natural world. I now slow down gradually, keeping my eye on the road instead of the bird.

This lesson held me in good stead this morning. I was driving to work thinking about the priorities in the day ahead when I noticed something that had me looking twice. All thoughts of work disappeared. The wattle with the beautiful mistletoe (that I wrote about in May) is no longer in existence. The bulldozers working on the Geelong freeway have now moved on the Stage 3, in my part of town, and even though I knew where the roadworks were going to be I wasn’t expecting so many trees in the paddock to be cut down.

My mind went back to the time (nearly 20 years ago) when I revisited my parents’ farm after it had been sold. The gully that mum and dad had fenced off and nurtured for years, the beautiful tree-filled, ferny gully with a little creek that was home to native fish, had been destroyed by the cattle allowed in by the new owner. Only the trees remained -- everything else had been ruined by cloven hooves and grazing, and the water was muddy instead of clear. I still feel sad when I think about it.

Fortunately the nearby Darlot Creek is still in reasonable condition. It has one stony bank, the result of a lava flow from Mt Eccles, so the land on that side has only ever been lightly grazed. But lots more could be done to restore the health of the creek. Getting rid of willows would be a good place to start.

Darlot Creek

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