Spring Walk in Wyrrabalong National Park by Colleen Keating


In the bush I hear the trees
ferns, palms and moss
whispering their wisdom
renewing my being
healing my soul
– Colleen Keating

After winter

Still dark enough to note the morning star
she walks again the bush track. A few magpies
fossick in frosty grass for first feed. Swallows dart

among the insect motes off the dandelion spent heads
and fly back to perch on telegraph wires.
It is still cold. Apple-crisp and silver.

The clouds open as silk fans, their bone
displayed like veins of a feather. The magpies
sing now from branches above, and she thinks too

how their morning song is her Delphian oracle.
She walks the track that’s a bracelet of charms
taps a branch watching a spangle of diamond–

dew drops light the way while the early light captures
a scarred tree trunk hollowed black like Munch’s Scream.
A cockatoo perched above glints with the gold                                      

of a mohawk fiend, soon in flight it will have the air
of a Tiger Moth in a opal-tinted sky. She has always loved
the walks here, the brush turkey stepping from

its scratchy music of an old LP, the whipbird checking
on its mate from the high river gums, the wrens chirping
from the safety of undergrowth, yet today it is a rupture

of spring that sings a rhapsody of song: purple milkwort
ravishing attention, pink wax Eriostemon, wedding veil
showers of boronia and orange pea plants sitting

in their spiky foliage. There is joy in watching the earth
re-awaken, the inevitable journey out of a winter
segueing towards summer. Ahead she can see

why she came – a wild display of flannel flowers. Petals
still mostly closed – their green tips a rising choir ready to sing
an Alleluia chorus. Open petals like earth-bound stars have                                                

the velvety feel of a childhood dress and sparkle in the shifting
light. She loves those Banksia trees that shade the groves
flamboyant with rough bearded seed pods like sleepy-eyed owls

wisely peering down: with the zephyr of a breeze there’s
a shuffling sound as if feathers are being ruffled or a yellow
skirt swinging through dried grass. The sun now on the shoulder

beams into the canopy of green and she will walk back
her mind pianissimo as a gentle Brahms largo passage
alert to nature watching, her enlivened step. 

Colleen Keating