Monday, December 31, 2012


'A Garden Stroll' by G.G. Kilburne (1924)
The last few days have been perfect for strolling. Warm and sunny, yet with a slightly cool tinge to the soft air. Gentle, dappled light. With no place to get to - no appointment or school pick-up - I've been ambling along at a relaxed pace, barely noticing the few kilometres covered each day.

The entire suburb's contents - people, dogs, and cars - seem to have evacuated to beach and holiday houses. It's left the area with a relaxed, if a little eerie, feel to it.

The streets are quite lacking in human activity. And quiet too, without the hum of the nearby freeway and its regular tides of cars running over asphalt. Each morning I'm instead waking to the sounds of currawongs and magpies.

The eeriness of a suburban landscape without people comes, I'm sure, in part from reading post-nuclear war YA fiction during the 1980s.

As a result, I've been more in my daily walk than usual. Being less harried and less physically tired helps, and has allowed me to really look. To see the things that must usually be there - certainly my youngest points them out - but I don't get to really notice very well: to hear the sound of a single leaf thudding straight to the ground from an evergreen tree, as I did today. Or to watch at length the butterflies tumbling and chasing each other through the air. Or to hear the sudden chatty outbursts from hidden birds. It feels good to stroll and notice these small things.

The suburb will probably stay like this for a little while still, until the bulk of summer holiday pilgrims return and resume the routines of school and work. The normality of noise and haste will creep back in gradually. The kids will start waking when the freeway comes to life, and we'll be back scampering out of the house and cautiously navigating the morning traffic. And part of me will probably welcome the jolt of activity, energy and movement. For now, though, I'm savouring the leisurely stroll.

(Image source: Wikicommons)

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