On my knees before the hearth, it's a nightly ritual of prayer and matches. I like to arrange the kindling in a pyramidded grid over the cube of firelighter. 'That's cheating,' a friend said to me once. A lazy critique, since I was the one holding the axe and the match. I could use newspaper, I guess, but having to twice light a fireplace as the sun goes down sets up a superstitious dread in me. The spack and cackle of a happy fire bodes well for an evening.
The swans have left for the inland paddocks. This year there were hundreds of them, summering out in the inlet. All night I could hear them chatting to each other. Now there is the owlet nightjar, squawking her coordinates as she begins the hunt. Driving to and from work, the sun is always low and bright, strobing between the trees, blinding me suddenly on the hairpin bends through the forest.
Selkie's best mate Sexy Rexy is back. His humans are over at the bush camp behind my house. He's part dingo and lives in a rubbish bin - just like Oscar the Grouch but much nicer. I do love this dog with his black points and dingo habits but damn does he have to piss on everything? Even my mosquito net is not immune. He turns up at daybreak and my outstretched arm tells him to get out. So he does ... but not before Selkie slinks off after him and they disappear for hours. I'd love to put a go pro on her collar to find out their travels.
The commercial fishers are back with the beginning of the inlet season. And some old surfer/yachties camped in the hollow just near my place. There's me - circling around the idea of being alone, circling, circling and then finally settling into my nest like a dog - and then sitting around a campfire with people who are happy to tell me stories.
A prescribed burn across the inlet was going on and the evening opened with clear skies and glassed off blood red water, a true wine-dark sea of fire and light. One of the commercials gave us some flounder and we cooked them up. Fell upon them like kelpies, crunched through the crispy skins to the sweet meat, sucking white flesh from robust rib bones. I haven't eaten flounder for an age.