At night I hear the swans out on the water, chattering. In the mornings I go down to the shore before work. I can see them, black shapes against the silver skin of the inlet. The swans are moulting. Most birds moult a few feathers at a time, which is why you may occasionally see a notch missing from the outstretched wing of an eagle, but swans moult all at once, making them uniquely vulnerable to predators. So, they camp out on the water, twenty four hours a day and their feathers as they shed them line the shore.
As the water goes down from the summer's evaporation, the swan holes are exposed. These pocks are the ones I usually fall into when pushing out the boat. They are formed by the swan's beaks as they forage for cockles on the sea floor.
Now the swans sit out in the middle of the inlet, quietly shedding feathers. The sand bar out there means it's still shallow enough to feed.
Along the track, the tall karris are shedding as well. Their bark folds away in strips and littering the gravel, making millennial mounds of mulch around the base, habitat for critters and feeding the fungi that, in turn, feeds the trees and helps them communicate.
The snakes are moulting, shedding their skins. There is a tiger I encounter often on the mountain steps at around this spot:
The snake is usually powering up in the mornings when I go chugging up the steps but it gets out of the way politely enough. The first time I saw it about two weeks ago, it was dusty looking, almost shabby. Over the last three days I've seen it every day and it is brilliant, shining black with bright yellow stripes. Brand new. The dugites are the same, curling over the granite like a trickle of deep brown oil. I nearly ran one over yesterday. I thought it was dead until it lifted its head to check me out. So shiny and new. I stopped the car a few metres away.
'Okay, so what's going on?' I said to the snake but it still didn't move.
'Would you like me to drive around you then?' I considered which end of the snake, stretched across the road, that I would drive around. Dugites are so doughy, casual as. I still chose its tail end.
So yes, shedding season. Is it all trying to tell me something? Maybe it's not about me at all. Quite likely but interesting to take cues from the bush, even if it is just to notice what's going on.