On the highway home, I was stuck behind a road train whose trailers swayed from the skinny road to the verge, hit the gravel and swayed in again. I was getting used to this rhythm and even that of the oncoming road trains, as they swayed away to give each other space, starboard to starboard and spraying red gravel to the left.
As we rounded the scarp to see Mt Manypeaks, the road train ahead of me threw on its brake lights, first blinking on and off to let me know he was slowing - and then braking hard. Two hundred metres later, a man stood on the shoulder beside his ute.
Everyone was okay. The driver who lost his load looked a bit stressed as he worked to free his trailer. I was thinking, Well I'm glad that wasn't the truck right in front of me because it would have taken me out. I drove slowly past the wreckage, feeling my mortality (believe me). The trailer and black stuff that looked like volcanic sand was strewn all over the road and blocked the turn off to Cheynes Beach
Twenty minutes along the highway, the coppers and road works cars started passing me, heading out to the accident. An hour later the local radio news announced that the trailer that rolled had lost thirty tons of genetically modified canola seed. A spill of seed may seem innocuous, silly and historically ordinary but
this particular seed is genetically engineered to colonise the
country with Monsanto products and resist all herbicidal attempts to kill it. So. Thirty tons.
CBH the local mob in charge of this politically charged freight rushed out there too, trying to work out how to 'contain' a spill of this magnitude. I'm not sure if CBH actually have a containment policy. I'd like to know.
It happened right on the edge of the Cheynes Road Nature Reserve; quite a beautiful, pristine piece of country full of tea tree swamps, Banksia and grass tree country.