The Call of Nature

Those of you who know me at all well will recall that I have a nodding acquaintance with Nature. That basically means I nod to it as I stand on a verandah with a gin and tonic in my hand, waiting for the cheese platter to arrive. I do not camp, I regard it as an unnatural and unnecessary activity.

But this is the last day at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and I thought I should walk somewhere other than from my room to the dining room then to the library and back again – particularly since I’ve eaten my own body weight in cheese, pastries, etc, each day. So I thought “I’ll go to the Wishing Tree”. I needed a bit of thinking time seeing as how a story I’d been working on decided it didn’t want to be written. I needed to work a few things out in my head, like how to wrestle the damned thing into submission. Everyone else had done the walk and said how lovely it was, and how much I’d hate myself if I didn’t do ‘something’ outdoorsy (proof that no one here really knows me). If nothing else, I could wish on the tree for a better story.

Nature and I are not pals. If Nature and I were the last two beings on Earth, there’d be a serious problem. But I strapped on my sneakers and headed off on the mossy path (with all the Little Red Riding Hood warnings in my head).

Here are some observations:

  1. The ‘liar’ [sic] bird is not a bird you meet in a bar who insists he’s footloose and fancy free, while there are in actual fact two child seats in his car.
  2. The elegant wallabies do not wear long black dresses like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, nor do they carry those long cigarette holders. They do, however, seem to wear mascara.
  3. The paddymelons are in no way melony; nor do they like being referred to as ‘those rock-paddy-thingies’.
  4. People who are bird enthusiasts do not like to be referred to as ‘bird nerds’.
  5. You will invariably wish that the Wishing Tree was a little closer.
  6. If you’re busy watching your feet and trying not to trip over rocks, vines and the occasional well-intentioned serpent, you kinda miss some of the scenery.
  7. Rainforest is very green with brown bits … a bit like camouflage.
  8. When faced with a suspension bridge, a certain type of brain will immediately think ‘OMG, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!’
  9. What goes down, must eventually have to walk up hill again unless airlifted out.
  10. If you have just finished reading VanderMeer’s Finch, then being alone in the forest and stumbling upon fungus and mushrooms can make you nervous.
  11. The moment I am faced with Nature, I immediately turn into Melman the Giraffe from Madagascar.

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