A Walk full of surprises
Surprise No. 1 A phenomenon
The sign list wild flowers
as ground cover
along our dune walk
planted to hold the earth
from a hungry ocean
eating away the beach
built too close to the edge.
From the headland the ocean
spreads innocently today
like a dark silk quilt
slightly ruffled with silver lines
by a gentle breeze.
Along our track
we marvel at the array of gazanias
yellow to orange to deep tangerine
as if an artist had come with her brush
painting petals with dots and lines
extra patterns for variety.
Pig face, pink to purple
bursts brightly, its showy array
taking our attention and with
bees and butterflies we delight
in its sunny face.
The blue fan dune flower
goes unnoticed . . .
till we notice it.
We sight our first.
Thinking this was a lone plant
and we were lucky.
Down on my knees
I make a fuss
admiring its delicate blue fanned petals.
Then a phenomenon occurrs.
We start to see it dotted amongst
the ground cover of gazanias and pig face
How excited to find this phenomenon
has a name
Frequency illusion *
once a thing or idea or word finds your attention
your mind tends to see if often.
* Frequency Illusion first noted as Baader Meinhof Phenomenon
It’s the difference between something actually happening a lot and
something you’re starting to detect a lot. When your awareness
of something increases leads you to believe it’s actually happening more, even if that’s not the case..
Surprise No 2 The coming and the going
(after The Snake, D.H. Lawrence)
A heron came to my walking track
on an early spring day
and I on a hike to enjoy the heathy dune and beach
on a dry balmy-scented path lined with bushy banksia trees
I came along the track
and must wait
must stand and wait for there it was
on the path
It had dropped down
on slender stilted legs spyed kikuyu grass
at the edge and remaining stealthy-still
fully focused on the unseeable in the grass
and with pickax precision struck
lifted its neck tall
gobbled back its prey
its long slender throat lumpy in its impulsion.
Someone was before me on my walking-track
and I, like a second comer, waiting.
It stretched its neck after eating as herons do
and looked my way as herons do
and tucked away a leg
pondering on one leg
mused a moment
and refocused fully engrossed
being like a taichi master of mindfulness
on this spring day in mid September
during my hour of exercise
out from a pandemic lockdown.
This is where I differ from DH Lawrence
the voice of my education had no sense
to do it harm. Of course I had no fear
like one might with a yellow snake.
i liked being close to it and wanted it to stay
just for awhile to admire
its silvery blue-grey down
its fine white lined face.
This was my chance encounter
and like Lawrence’s next thought
it delighted me.
I too have to confess how I like it
How glad I was it had dropped down onto
my sandy path
like a guest, come in quiet, to feed in the grass
to depart peaceful, pacified and thankless
into the blue clean air.
Was it perversity that i longed to talk to it?
Was it humility to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured. . .
that we should meet here on this path on this day.
It fed enough
lifted its head dreamily
as if sniffing the scent of the lake once again
stretched its whole body into full height
and looked around like a god or goddess
unseeing into the air. My still statue did not deter
as it slowly, very slowly drew its body in,
legs like the wheels of a plane tucked under
wings with the lightness of an angel
lifted into the air
becoming a white air brush of the sky.
And I was thankful for my education
in being aware that this creature
is one with all of nature
and we are part of the whole
to be in reverence before it
and to be astonished.
I regret it had gone as if in exile
for i feel I am the one in exile
in demanding this my track
my world before its rights
and so foolish to think it my heron.
For it seemed like a king or queen
and in a world of enlightenment
i shared a moment with one of the angels of life
and i have reason to be gratefull:
for the presence of grace.
Surprise No 3 Out of the blue
from the lookout
on the sand dune
sea and sky all blue
the tawny winged Kestrel
hovers into the wind
as if a show for us
its perfect audiance
and as if curious
flies over us
and i too afraid to look up
for fear of being pooped on
it circles around us
as if a grand performance
then stock-still on the air
it pins its wings
as if pegged back
swiftly with harpoon speed
into the foliage, feeds and returns
to play on the wing.
clumps of gazanias
colour my day
with all the moods
of the rainbow