10 September 2013
‘At first I was afraid. I was petrified ‘
I Will Survive by Freddy Perren and Dino Fekaris
What a night in the George Brown Eco House. It was a night with life - it lived, not like my woollen blanket desert nights that fit flat over you, fillyour ears with wool, muffling any sound or movement - desert animals have padded paws and low voices. The tropical night is filled with sound. It rushes in as if the setting sun has created a vacuum. Everyone is screaming. All living things suddenly find themselves in the dark and react as if they has never seen it before. Alarmed, they blunder about in the undergrowth fall from perches, crash into water, blind, crazed and screaming. Murder is being committed out there in the dark. Trees fall apart branches, bark, husks, fruit, smash and clatter down , chaos in the night. And my eyes like automatic doors open and shut with every unknown rustle and crash .
I arrived on the morning flight from Perth after being placed like a parcel in the Standby Passengers Only area until I was given the golden ticket to board flight QF792 to Darwin. The plane was full of men all going to work, they were clean and neat, oil and gas men. It was hard not to compare them to the plane load I had travelled with from the goldfields, a grubby lot, some still in hi viz with dirt on their boots, gold dust under their fingernails. Differing kinds of mining men.
I sat next to bloke who ordered beer after breakfast. Ah yes I am on my way to the Territory - gateway to the outback, place where some pack their addictions and go to hide from wives, relations, themselves, the law. All I had to worry about was my luggage and if it would arrive in Darwin with me or would I join those with lost luggage stories and have to whip off to Target for a fresh set of undies while my bag flew around Australia but the system worked and there was my bag on the carousel and Kaye Hall from the Northern Territory Writers Centre http://ntwriters.com.au/new-nt-writers-centre-website/waiting to greet me.
George Brown Eco House is in the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/botanic The botanic garden staff were welcoming and presented me with keys, tea, coffee sugar and phone numbers. The house is a typical pre Tracey louvered house, on stilts light, airy and welcoming surrounded by community gardens filled with a variety of vegetables and pawpaw trees. Beyond these gardens is the botanic gardens, a collection of tropical orchids, bromeliads, a rainforest walk, Tiwi wet forest and a collection of African baobab species. I can’t wait to visit every feature of the gardens which were destroyed by Tracey (everyone knows Tracey don’t they? http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs176.aspx) and resurrected by George Brown the botanic gardens curator and Lord Mayor of Darwin 1992 – 2002
sea breeze cools
brahminy kites wheel
smudged blue sky
burn off season
an end or a beginning