Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oct 23 Tallow Beach, Lorikeets and Lawnbowling

Today, we decide to make it a walking day. Arakwal park is just out our doorstep. The sign for Arakwal Park - just at our doorstep, is filled with reminders, warnings and handy illustrations that leave one feeling both bemused & sorry for the heavily pummeled little stick figure. We wander downhill along a baked & crackled terra cotta soil footpath, through the underbush to where the path falls away onto an open field that looks like it may be kept clear by occasional flooding. Another path through the brush opens out onto the beach - empty except for one well-tanned and bedreaded couple out for a quick skinnydip. Further on, we have a little picnic with the requisite seagull and the beach is open out to Byron Light. We find a mini marine Sydney Opera House, and a palm stump walrus - googoogajoob. There seems to have been a fairly constant wind since we’ve arrived, likely augmented by yesterday’s storm, and today is no exception. The surf is a bit chilly and boiling madly, but we’d not planned on swimming anyway as the adult segment of us had been warned against it by locals with shark pattern knowledge.

We hike back up to the house, then north, into the sun and town. We pass some of the charming “character homes” - older bungalows with gingerbreadded deep porches and well developed gardens. There seems to be an entire flock of lorikeets - bright males bickering - fluttering back & forth among the trees of one neighborhood. I’m reminded of a sign from Taronga zoo stating that birds were around about 150 million yrs ago, rainforests showed up abt 60 million yrs ago, predating humans by about that same amount. Even though it seems incredibly lush in the coastal area we’re in, about 3/4 of Australian rainforest has actually already been cleared for agriculture & logging, so if you look at a rainforest map of the continent, you’ll see only specs of forest residue along the Eastern shores & in Tasmania. And because they take about 1500 years to form, (and, presumably have some climate & other assorted requirements as well) - rainforests are not readily replaceable.

Just the other side of the lorikeet trees sits the Byron Bowlo - a clear community staple, well-used & maintained since about the early ‘60s. We have the benefit of coming in at an odd hour and before the workday lets out, so we get some tips on the sport from Steve From The Pub. The basic premise aligns with bocce - with a target ball and points for proximity - but the greens are kept at a verrrry short clip with real grass that appears astroturfy, and the balls are slightly oval and weighted to one side to curve when rolled. It keeps us out of trouble, and we make a decent game of it, although Steve pops open a window from the clubhouse to shout out with a grin “Ya naow thi poynt ah thi gaim is ta git NEAh tha bull, don ya?!

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