White Lace

Standing across from the open coffin, I see the white lace of mothers slip reaching out from beneath the pretty blue dress I bought her last Christmas.

People are crying, dad is giving the eulogy, telling everyone about the fond memories she leaves behind, and all I can see is the white lace.

Aunt Grace is holding tight to my hand, trying to push what feels like a an already used tissue into it, but all I can see is the white lace.

Uncle Bob steps up to the altar and draws dad into his sad embrace and all I can see is the slip of white lace.

My next door neighbours sticky beak wife cries so loudly it echoes, but I only hear mothers plea about the white lace.

A trail of family some known and some foreign begin to line up, to kiss mothers face, but all I can see is the white lace.

With no time to cry and no time to waste, I push to the front and hide the white lace.

She sleeps a cold slumber, all dressed for the fate with the flow of her blue dress enhanced by white lace.

I watch her twirl to the church house doors, smile her last smile before… she moves on.

I feel through my sadness at her demise, the wildest wonder shining from her eyes, with one more pirouette she leaps to my side and thanks me for remembering the lace I did hide.

Tasmania’s Gift to Life

Spans of green land reach the long miles separated only by a short expanse of tree and brush. Long blades of grass edge one side of the tree line, the Nile river edges the other. In this small area lives many creatures, some domestic, many wild.

A family of mountain Wallabies rests in the warmth of the day, stretched out on large hot boulders along the river bed. A small herd of Deer have come down to lap at the clear flowing water, and to graze upon the green grasses. Snakes are swimming in the freezing mountain waters that flow from the Ben Lomond Ski Resort. Like an invisible piece of string, they are not close to each other, as one does not encroach upon another’s territory. A mob of Kangaroos has congregated on the other side of the river, at the base of a steep mountain. The warm stones and pebbles that make up the river bed crunch under their weight, with a small Joey, not long out of the pouch, sliding down into the water. Using his powerful back legs, he swims around the small pool area that has been created by many floods. The shift of boulders has provided a very deep well, surrounded by smaller streams that collect the overflow.

Just off to the right is a small echidna using its long beak like, brown snout to lift rocks and clumps of grass in search of another ants nest, its favourite being the Tasmanian Jumping Jacks. He must have found a lovely patch because his snouts dives in at an angle, it digs down deep and fresh dirt is tossed into the air as he brings his snout back out and munches on the large nest he has discovered. The local eagles prey on the wild ducks, grasping them in their talons, carrying them away to eat them whilst they live, leaving visibly shaken animals in their wake.

As the sun begins its trail down below the mountain line, there is a sudden movement seemingly collapsing the bank of the river and frightens the deer. Crawling out of the river bank is a large Duck billed Platypus. As she flows out into the water, she is followed by her mate. Diving under the water they seek freshwater crayfish, dragonflies, trout eggs and tadpoles for their dinner. It must be mating season for there to be two platypus together. After fossicking for their meal they mate in the water and then continue their search for food. At the end of June, he will go away and she will lay her eggs in a burrow that she has dug specifically for that reason alone. He is not allowed in that burrow. Her eggs will take just twenty one days to gestate.

The sun has almost gone and so have the day time critters who share the rivers bounty, only to be replaced with a female wombat with her babies head protruding out through her back legs. She takes a step, then grazes, when she stops, her baby also grazes. The Tasmanian masked owl lands on a branch in one of the trees and her babies can be heard chirping across the darkening sky as she seeks out the field mice who also need to swim and drink. Possums screech and Devils scream while brown and white spotted quolls growl.

As the dwindling rays of the setting sun finally dissipate, the nighttime habitat comes alive. With most of the larger animals all tucked up for the night, the smaller night feeding animals make the river work hard for its grasses and the waters flowing to maintain life. Its life, the animals lives, the insects lives… The trout oxygenate the waters, providing the infinitesimal water creatures with continuing environs so that they too can survive and all this may seem like a little story about the different creatures in Tasmania, not all of them, but it is not.

This story tells us that without even the tiniest Earthling, the greatest of us would not survive.