April 2010

As March had substantially waned when Dr. Claudia Welch reached Byronshire, most of what she saw & did there happened during April, including the sight of two dozen dolphins frolicking off Cape Byron underneath a most spectacular (and spectacularly symmetrical) inbound thunderstorm, the vista of flocks of both black & white cockatoos, and kookaburras galore; a stroll partway up Woolumbin (aka Mt. Warning); and her personal favorite, an afternoon sighting of a koala snoozing in a tree in a friend’s backyard, just a stone’s throw from where we were having tea.

In Melbourne we ate well, particularly at The White Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant (185 Victoria Street, West Melbourne, phone 03 9326 6040), and made an excursion with our host out to Mt. Donna Buang, where he collects spring water for his family’s drinking pleasure. We reached the spring one morning at 4:30am, and after filling the containers proceeded to wander in the dark (with flashlights) among the gigantic trees, where we spotted a sugar glider (they are extraordinarily cute, and highly inquisitive), and heard the heavy “thump” of a large kangaroo, but couldn’t see him. We also picked up several leeches. Having been frequently leeched in more northerly portions of that country, it was a shock to realize that I wasn’t safe in the (much cooler) south; and though I summarily flicked off the two that I then found on me, and checked myself thoroughly thrice thereafter, two still escaped my notice until we reached Melbourne, where blood in my sandal and on my shirt spurred me to search until I found the malefactors, on the floor of the car. Unwilling to leave them in the garden & possibly have them breed there, they were unceremoniously deposited on the road in front of the house, and later found flattened there. I was pleased to be bleeding no longer on our arrival, later in the day, at the highly pleasant Peninsula Hot Springs, an hour south of the city.

Craig Ross, our tour guide for Melbourne’s justly renowned Botanical Garden, War Memorial, and local ice cream parlors, is a musician and music producer who is, with wife Jyl and various pets, in the process of moving from Austin to Melbourne. This trip I met with Craig & Jyl both in Melbourne and in Austin, where Craig took me one evening to a friend’s backyard for a private concert with noted Austin musicians Ralph White (http://www.ralphewhite.com/) and Amy Annelle (http://highplainssigh.com/). Sitting under massive oaks that had been doggedly preserved against the neighbor’s wicked designs to turn them into a driveway, drinking a cool local beer, listening to cool local talent, I had a vision of an earlier, more deliberately paced Austin; and recommitted myself to slowing my own pace of life accordingly…

Last Modified on July 12, 2015
this article April 2010