Boing!

In the gasworks the other day I noticed that the singing ringing tree has sprung back to life and once again is all a-blossom.

It gave me the idea of writing something about spring springing because, that same day, I saw my first clutch of ducklings of the season, eight of them paddling frantically behind mother black duck near the railway bridge, and then a pair of red-rumped parrots canoodling on a fence in Emerald Street. There was a sense of the sap rising, and not just in the plant and animal kingdom. The last three or four Saturday mornings a latex bloom of used condoms has appeared on the tarmac in the nightsoil lane from the night before. Someone in Hamilton North is having an affair!

But I didn’t get a photo of the ducklings, and the one I did get of the parrots I can’t find, and … well, who wants to see photos of used condoms? So here’s something else made of latex.

All this got me to thinking about the influence that the photos I take have on the writing I write. Sometimes I’ll see something and it’ll trigger a writing idea and so I photograph the thing to remind me of the writing idea. But quite often I take random snaps that take my fancy and, when I look at them later, they coalesce into a writing idea. The pictures drive the story.

The story that’s been going around my head lately (other than the spring has sprung story) is about litter. Familiar trope, I know, but I’ve been asked to do a presentation at Hamilton North Public School, along with the WaterWatch people and some others. A teacher and some concerned parents are promoting the concept of a “binless school” and I’m doing a bit on “where your stuff goes”.

Stuff like this, a little raggedy doll bullfighter, complete with little red cloth thing.

Or these lovely balls. (Whatever happened to Bratz?)

And these lovely, lovely bottles. So many of them! Soooo pretty!

And this … erm … boogie board.

Which eventually made it down to the litter boom by the TAFE.

It was here, on Friday morning, that I got talking to Dave. I’ve seen Dave around a lot as he’s one of the team of subcontractors who maintain the edges of the creek. They’re out with their brushcutters every few weeks pinning back the lantana, and when they’re not doing that they’re scooping up the bottles, balls, boogie boards, little raggedy doll bullfighters. And syringes, lots of syringes. That’s Dave on the right, with Old Mate 2 on the left.

Old Mate 2 got to wear the waders and risk life and limb in the deep pool. I got the sense that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with his role.

That morning, Dave and his team had already pulled a skip-load of rubbish from the creek on the other (Mayfield) side of the TAFE and the Cottage Creek litter boom down by Civic Station. Our crap keeps them exceedingly busy.

Which reminded me of a quote that Kevin M emailed to me once, Barry Commoner’s 4 Laws of Ecology:

  1. Everything is connected to everything else.
  2. Everything must go somewhere.
  3. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
  4. Mother Nature knows best.

I think I’ll be using that at Hamilton North Public  School.

Jambo bailed up this ringtail possum in our garden the other day and, bearing Commoner’s second law in mind, I bagged him up (the possum, not Jambo) and introduced him to the delights of the gasworks. After a slightly bewildered start he took off like a rocket.

One could say, if one were looking for a line to tie up a blog post, that he did in fact “spring” into life. But that’d just be lazy, wouldn’t it.

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