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Another bird


A white-faced heron this time. A juvenile again. Experiences can be difficult without experience.

It honks distress through my bedroom window. Backed into a corner near the verandah. Wielding its beak as a spear. Holding off the neighbour’s cat.

I shoo the cat and herd the bird. It’s not flying. Not running. Just walking. It lets me get too close. It doesn’t seem to care.

It hunts bugs in the garden. I stand guard. My friend phones wildlife rescue. They’re no help. I’m thinking about how to catch it when it leaps into the neighbour’s frangipani. The neighbour with the cat. The neighbour with a large, aggressive dog.

For three days the roaring of supercars has buffeted Newcastle. Residents, animals and tranquility have fled. The brash and greedy pocket the profits. The vulnerable and voiceless endure the costs. The ill. The elderly. The poor. The wildlife. The environment. Money shouts while poverty whimpers.

The RAAF joins the circus with deafening low-level flyovers. “That’s not power. This is power”. There are other ways to make the point. Cheaper. Quieter. More eloquent. A single skywriter sent aloft. A giant dick scrawled over the city.

Crowds and cameras. Fumes and fury. Beer and souvenirs. And noise and noise and noise and noise. The cash has probably already left town. Bound for climes both sunny and shady where the taxman never calls. Snapping selfies with royalty and rock stars. Gated capitalism enjoying its dotage.

The neighbour holds the dog and the ladder. I maneuver the bird into the box. In the morning my friend takes it to a shelter while I prepare for my medical. I like to score zero in pathology tests.

I don’t know the heron was a supercar refugee. I don’t know much at all. I have my beliefs. I have my prejudices. I use them to scaffold my stories.

From → autobiography

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