I love trees.
New, springy saplings and old, weathered stumps, good climbers and great shade-ers, ones that rustle dreamily in the wind and others that burst into scent when the sun warms them.
And I especially love ghostly ones that shimmer and shiver ominously and look stark in the moonlight.
My friend Sue recently took me to a spot filled with such beauties, Underwood Park. Just down the road from the Buddhist Temple, it is a gorgeous pond/swamp that looks delectably mysterious on dark, overcast days.
At first glance the area seems empty and eerily quiet, but the longer you look the more you see until it is veritably teeming with wildlife.
Oodles of birds make their homes here, Purple Swamphens and Australasian Grebes, Dusky Moorhens and Little Black Cormorants. Sue and I stood for ages watching them paddle, swoop, and float, amazed by some of their otherworldly markings that look straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Other creatures live here too, vivid green tree snakes and terrifying brown ones. We met a lady along the boardwalk who told us about a particularly aggressive brown who chased her husband the other day when he was out for his run. Yipes!
Before we heard that charming tale, I was blissfully unaware, thoroughly delighting in the deliciously creepy surroundings, peering into the murky waters to see what I could see.
I was just saying to Sue, “This water looks like it would be full of life…” when this fellow popped up from the depths and startled me half to death. A man on the boardwalk came over for a chinwag, (they’re a chatty lot, these board-walkers) and informed us that he, the lizardy chap, was a water dragon. I was delighted. Especially since he stayed right where he was and only blinked at me.
On we walked, loving the darkly medieval feel of the place yet keeping a weather eye open for any bad tempered brown snakes that might be lurking nearby. It reminded me of that scene in the old Disney Swiss Family Robinson movie when the two brothers and the girl they rescued are wading warily through a similar swamp, only to be accosted by a massive anaconda. Shiver.
Thankfully the snakes kept themselves to themselves and we had a terror-free stroll through an exquisitely beautiful place, watching Spoonbills and Ibis sun themselves and look for breakfast beneath the rippling surface of the swamp.
Where is your favorite place to go for a morning stroll? xo