After 75mm of rain in the last day or so I took the opportunity to see how the local creek had responded. Balcombe Creek runs down from the slopes of Mt Eliza and is usually a slow moving flow. Yesterday morning it looked more like a river, running into Port Phillip Bay and discolouring the bay with the sediment and soil washed out.
It was nice to be able to get outside for a few hours after a very wet week.
Upstream, the moving, swirling water flows to the bay.
After a busy time lately, it was nice to take a bit of time yesterday to walk in The Briars, a little historic homestead park close to where I live. I took some photos, looked for birds from a couple of hides and followed the line of Balcombe Creek back towards the sea.
I quite like the idea of walking the same place again, year after year, and seeing the fine and subtle differences. As Thoreau wrote: ‘Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.’ I have high praise for the local: from Gilbert White to Thoreau to the place examined in contemporary writers like Robert Macfarlane.
Most of the year for me is spent split between working in Melbourne and getting down to the Mornington Peninsula on weekends.
So, one of the things I like most about the holidays is the chance to be in one place for a while, and re-connect with some of my favourite places like the Briars.
I’ve blogged about the Briars before (do a search if you like) but I never get sick of the place, and the way the creek defines it as well as its sense of history.
Today I did the longer 4k loop and also walked out via the new Harrap Creek track for the first time. I’ve captured some of the moments below, but one moment I didn’t capture was seeing a big red-bellied black snake asleep by the side of the track. The trouble is, once you’ve seen a snake on a walk, you see them everywhere, in every shadow, root, branch or piece of broken bark on the track or just off it. It tends to take the meditating mind off the poetry a bit. Though, it did make me think, ‘have I ever written a poem about a snake?’, like D.H. Lawrence did? Looking back, it seems I have only had one go at it, this poem that was published in *Eureka Street* in 2011. Maybe it’s time for another go?
Late Walk Along Jerusalem Inlet
Rows of trees knee-deep in bracken
trunks green with soft moss
all dead or dying
a shovel shaped pit
the sound of water
some Mirkwood path
to a wide green place
where a house was
broken rocks and bricks,
beside the broken oak tree,
a non-allegorical snake.
Below: The view from the bird hide
The prophetic sign: this was exactly the snake I saw half an hour after reading this sign.
Signs of former use; old fence posts from when this was farmland.
Common farmland birds poster in the bird hide
Spring Paddock Dam
Below: Balcombe Creek
Nice to see it flowing after a bit of rain this week.
Below: Spring Paddock Dam
Listen carefully for the frogs.
One of my favourite places, the mouth of Balcombe Creek, especially when it breaks through to the bay from the estuary after good rain. I took this footage on the iphone on a cold Friday afternoon. It’s a place I come back to again and again in my writing.
Enjoyed the chance to visit a couple of my favorite places over the long weekend: the Briars in Mt Martha and then the walk along Balcombe Creek on a perfectly still morning. They are places that appear again and again in my writing and I must admit that I don’t mind that at all. You never really know any place, let alone think you can ‘capture’ it in a poem. But you keep trying, that’s what writing is.