Walking

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.

Balcombe Creek

 

Balcombe Creek

 

 

Advertisements

The Eye

I’m sure this will be a poem sometime: sitting in the bird hide in the Briars late yesterday afternoon, after a walk in the cold and wind, just enjoying being inside and watching some cormorant drying their black wings, suddenly a white egret flying in and sitting inches away, feathers rustling, holding itself close against the wind and the cold, it’s bright, unblinking eye.

Egret in the Briars
Egret in the Briars

Re-connecting: Walking in the Briars

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
all ruined
broken rocks and bricks,
beside the broken oak tree,
a non-allegorical snake.

Below: The view from the bird hide

11508624694_d28492498c_z

 

The prophetic sign: this was exactly the snake I saw half an hour after reading this sign.

11508627136_713f9df8c2_z

 

Signs of former use; old fence posts from when this was farmland.

11508646535_6886e7ae67_z

Common farmland birds poster in the bird hide

 

11508652206_4218384572_z

 

The boardwalk

11508698966_df66deec58_z

 

Spring Paddock Dam

11508742026_1de59f3118_z

 

Balcombe Creek

11508793164_cb8aa76802_z

Below: Balcombe Creek
Nice to see it flowing after a bit of rain this week.

Below: Spring Paddock Dam
Listen carefully for the frogs.

Winter landscapes

I must admit that, though I’m often a bit envious to see friends heading somewhere warm for the winter break, there is something I like a lot about winter landscapes. ┬áHere’s some images from the last couple of weeks on the Mornington Peninsula.

The milky look of the bay early on a very cold morning at Safety Beach. It was so cold that the waves seemed sluggish.

Safety Beach

 

Below: another early morning. Sunrise,  near Martha Cove.

Mist near Martha Cove

Below: I’ve been wanting to take this shot for ages. This is Balcombe Creek, looking north from Bungower Rd. I’ve passed it often, and it’s been too busy to stop, and it’s a dangerous place with no roadside parking nearby. So, I made a special trip for this one.

Balcombe Creek

Below: And, in contrast to the stillness of the bay some days, this winter break we had three days of wild and windy weather. This is Mornington Pier.
Windy morning at Mornington Pier

 

Below: This day was so gloomy that most of the shots I took were bleak and undistinguished. This was the best of those I took walking in The Briars at Mt Martha.

Winter walk in The Briars

 

 

A walk in the green

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.

Walking in the Briars

Walked this morning through the Briars park; doing the short walk and checking out a koalas on a fresh cool morning. Good to see more water in the dams and the creek flowing again after a couple of dry years. Walking back to the car, saw some little trees that had been blown down in the last storm, all cut up into neat pieces, with the vivid colours inside them clear and orange almost.