Monday, October 31, 2005

secret places

If you leave the botanical garden by the other entrance, especially when dusk is just falling and there are hardly any other humans around, you will find yourself on a small street that winds down the hillock to the sea. You can't actually see the sea from there, but you can see that the land dips away suddenly and you catch a glimpse of the scores of waterfront restaurants. If you then follow the street a little way down, you'll notice that the street suddenly splits into two, circumventing a rise in the ground. It's grassy, and with some odd rocks here and there. Avoid the single bench standing in a nook in front of one of the rocks- there are signs of frequent usage- a cup, some food debris and the embers of a half forgotten fire. Instead go to the peak, so to speak, of the hillock, and among the bulky eucalyptus trees, and the herd of sulphur crested cockatoos, you will come across a statue to the poet and story teller, Henry Lawson. He's standing up there, deliberately not facing the sea, but instead looking up the street. He has a dog and some other guy with him. You may not know anything about him, but that doesn't stop you from building your own story. Lay yourself down on the grass little away from the statue, and settle down for night to come. Look back over your shoulders into the darkening garden. As the light vanishes, hundreds of fruit bats take to the sky. Watch them wing around in ever widening circles, as they begin to realize where they are, and start their nightly flights. There is no other order or pattern, and they don't even fly agilely, if you watch them carefully, you will even see that they have several near misses with each other, and if you're really lucky, you might even see a collision. After a while, the bats start thinning- there are fewer of them- and after a while their silhouettes are harder to see against the night. Turn around now, and look at the cityscape opposite. The buildings across the water are all lit up, looking like hollow structures lit up on the inside by candlelight. Watch the first stars appear across the cut-out city, and feel the cool night breeze.