Saturday Evening Post #74 :A New World

“A Solitary Crow
In Winter snow
Needs no jewels”
Deng Ming-Dao

As a young lad, I watched, “Disaster Movies”, or read books that one way or another predicted, or pretended the “End of the World”, the lone hero/ine stranded, alone.  “War of the Worlds”, “The Day of the Triffids, “Panic”, “On the Beach”.
But never dreaming that perhaps one day, I would, with those around me, live in times of significant social, community and national change. On a scale that is impossible to grasp.

When I was a little lad, Neville Shute’s novel, “On the Beach” carried on its dust jacket a quote from
“The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot.

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

It would be many years later, that I would be able to appreciate the depth of Eliot’s work.
As a country lad, our family would travel to Melbourne over the summer school holidays, and as best my young memory can recall is that somewhere or other in Frankston, or thereabouts part of the movie was filmed.  It was the talk of the dining table of our extended family at the time.  We used to swim at Frankston Beach, and explore along the cliffs toward Mount Martha.
And if I’m not stretching the memory too far, the making of the movie would have featured on the then fledgling tv news.
So much so that I recall our collection of kids, played at “Making Movies” that summer.
The female lead, Ava Gardener is  purported to have described Melbourne as “the perfect place to make a film about the end of the world.” However it seems it was an enthusiastic Sydney copywriter who made up the quote.

It’s hard then as we face, “Self-Isolation”, “Social Distancing”, our personal hell of “4 metre square”, and the impossible task of finding Toilet Paper to grasp the huge changes thrust upon us. Perhaps not the end of the world, but I hope we all manage to come out the other side, safe, secure and with minimal loss.

Which brings me back to the Crow in the Snow.

Meng writes ,”A single crow standing unconcerned in the falling snow is the very image of independence. It needs, no clothing, no wealth, nor status.”

Readers will know I have quite the affinity for White-winged Choughs.  Not the independent bird of Meng’s meditation, but rather a community dependent bird. Their feeding as a group, their closeness with their young birds, the difficulties they face keeping their young together, and not losing to the family in the next territory, and their patient purposeful feeding always bring a smile to my face whenever I get to enjoy an encounter.

This bird, I’d guess to be a female, it and half a dozen or so of its  family were working along the downed logs foraging, but not eating.  Then when it seemed all had full beaks, they turned and all flew off.
“They have a nest somewhere and are feeding young”, EE observed.  And no doubt she was right.  We might on other occasions taken the time to follow them and see, but other duties called, and we left with their calls ringing through the Grey Box Forest.



10 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #74 :A New World

  1. An interesting read, David. We are in ‘interesting’ times. It is, in some cases, difficult to avoid contact with others who may, or may not, be carrying the virus. And certainly the world has changed, forever or not remains to be seen. A couple of positives, the traffic on the roads is much lighter when I must needs venture out on them and yesterday I was able to get all on the shopping list, needs only – there are some wants I would like but ………!
    Lovely to see the Chough, they are fascinating birds to observe. Hopefully we will be able to continue being out with the birds!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David, thanks for dropping by and sharing, this would be without doubt the most difficult blog page I’ve written over the years. So many ways to go, so many things that might be said, and yet in the end, words just fail me.

      A factoid, Cambridge University closed for a year because of a virus threat and a student named Isaac Newton was sent home. The rest is history. 🙂


  2. It’s good to know that the Choughs are just getting on with feeding the next generation. I agree that there are positives for the environment coming out of this – did you see the article on Venice? – and let’s hope we all learn that relentless consumption and ever increasing manufacture and destruction of the natural world is not the best way to live.

    A lovely image, and good thoughts to read as an accompaniment. Stay well and safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Eleanor, had a hard time finding a balance of words for this page. I did see the Venice article, and smiled. I do think, that given a break, the environment has a way of dealing with upheaval.
      I’m always impressed at the farms of France and Belgium that were bought back to life after the carnage of WWI.
      I’ve never seen an article or book on the subject but I’ve often imagined what it was like for the first farmer to return, take out his shovel, and begin to clear the land and then boldly plant a crop. There is magic in that story.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks David for an interesting narrative. The Chough are very unique and well organised in their activities and like other birds can teach us a lot about what is important in life. Yes there have been several improvements due to the restrictions the virus has brought with it, Venice is one and I heard someone tell me that the pollution over China which is visible from space is almost gone also. We did church on the internet today, it was different, but the good thing is the leaders are making more contact with their members than previous to see how they are fairing via phone which is a good change. We may see many new cultural norms forming from these changes imposed due to the virus outbreak some may stay depending on how long it all lasts and we may find better ways to do life. Certainly we may learn to act sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ashley,
      I’m ok with the ‘self-isolation’ thing. I have a skin condition that has resulted in my auto-immune system being turned off for the past 18months. Down side is that I have limited person to person contact. (I’m not a hermit!!!)
      And I have been able to get out to do coffee with friends etc, but major events, and gatherings have been off my agenda for quite awhile. I’m able to shift gears and move with the current turn of events, reasonably well.
      We shall just have to wait and see how things develop. I’m quite concerned the current Victorian Lockdown, will mean we’re not able to get out the field in the foreseeable future. Small inconvenience, in the scheme of things, so I’ll be able to devout more time to my Tai Chi and other studies.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Listening to the PM 1/2 an hour ago, David. I think we can still get out into the field, we will have to wait to see what the Premier says later tonight or in the morning. Still I can set up on the balcony and perhaps get a few shots! But will be acting school teacher for the rest of this week anyway – the school sent home the ‘Home School’ packs on Friday!
        Take care and stay well!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, this virus has brought so many changes to so many aspects of our lives. Our much needed holiday will now be at home, possibly doing home improvements,my lens repair is held up and my book promotions are put on hold to name a few, but we had a lovely walk today in the reserve with hardly the sound or sight of a bird. Enjoy your week, praying you stay safe 🙂


  4. I truly enjoy catching up with your thoughts David. Now the sun comes out from behind the clouds so I’ll switch off the laptop and go out to my garden. Best greetings to you and EE.

    Liked by 1 person

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