OUR black labrador is now an elderly beast.
Once a bouncing bundle of energy, he now takes some time to get to his feet and eats his dinner on the back step to save having to bend his neck too low. He is somewhat deaf and his eyesight is fading.
He sleeps a lot during the day, snoring and twitching, dreaming of running freely through open fields.
Despite his stiffness, he must still check his “wee-mails” every day - the messages left by other dogs on the trees and telegraph poles on the block. His top lips will flare to suck up as much scent as possible.
While the rest of us hurry and stare at screens, thinking of other things and other places, Bertie’s attention is always trained on what exists in the here and now.
It can be fun to slow right down and be like Bertie.
Walking in the Boundary Road Reserve this week, a couple of us stopped to watch ants industriously managing their nest between showers. Each ant was carrying a single grain of sand, depositing it on the circular mound and scurrying back down to get another.
We continued on to the Christmas gathering of the Boundary Road Reserve Landcare group (I’m not an active member, but my partner is), where people sat on camp chairs looking out over the now-green landscape and the spreading town of Bathurst.
It was that golden hour of the evening, with the light intensifying details like the pink breasts of galahs flying overhead and the fuzzy coats of the mob of kangaroos bounding down to a spot to settle for the night. A dollar bird flew overhead.
The teeming biological world that surrounds us is often pushed into the background as we get on with our own busy lives. It can be a little like the sea – we’re glad it’s out there but we don’t actually see it that often.
This is the world that nourishes us, but is endlessly made to make way for us; is treated as resource or impediment for our own ends.
But all it takes to reconnect is to step outside the door and start noticing.
BATHURST Regional Council is updating its 2003 Vegetation Management Plan, which includes management of significant natural landscapes, native remnant vegetation, streetscapes and roadside vegetation.
It is now available for public comment.
With a rising population, expanded city footprint, increased demand for water and rising average temperatures due, efforts to protect and enhance biodiversity and resilience in our local ecosystems is essential.