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Saturday, 8 December 2012


dead eucalypt
With two winters of good rainfall recently and the resulting greenery, this dead eucalypt is a stark reminder that drought is ‘normal’ in the Australian climate cycle. The new owners of this property will have to pay quite a sum to have this removed before it falls onto their house, or their neighbour’s, in a storm. Unfortunately, that means the local rosellas will lose one of their favourite nesting spots, in a hole where the trunk curves. That’s the dilemma of a modern living, isn’t it? The tension between human safety and native habitat. The birds had better make the most of it while this tree is still theirs.

Instead of a story this week, I have posted a satire in the form of a short play. Let me know what you think of it!

Devolution: a salutary tale

Two monkeys on a raft in a river.

They approach a fork and follow the main flow to the right.

Monkey 1 (smaller): I don’t think we should be going this way. I’ve got a bad feeling about it.

Monkey 2: You and your feelings! We need to be logical about this. There is no known reason why we shouldn’t go this way.

The river banks get steeper.

Smaller monkey: I’m really not happy about this. I’m sure something’s not right about this place.

Bigger monkey: Pah! Intuition superstition. We’ve never been here before so how can we know anything about it?

The river runs faster between high cliffs, and boulders begin to appear in the water ahead of them.

Anxious monkey: I don’t know how, but it feels familiar, like a faint memory…

Bold monkey (trying to sound patient, but failing): Oh, I see – a memory, race consciousness, that sort of thing. Well, whatever is causing your feeling is in the past now. We need to look ahead and let bygones be bygones.

Monkey 1 (becoming agitated): No, no, no. We need to stop before it’s too late! (Tries to grab hold of a boulder they sweep past)

Monkey 2: Really, all this emotion is unnecessary. Look, you’re making the raft wobble! Calm down, and let’s just enjoy the ride. We’ll be fine, you’ll see.

Monkey 1 (getting wild with the impending sense of doom): You don’t understand! There’s danger ahead. We need to do something now or it will be too late!

The raft races through a narrow channel, barely fitting between the sheer walls.

Monkey 2 (restraining smaller monkey): For goodness’ sake, will you calm down? You’re making this unpleasant for both of us. It’s all in your head – just a matter of perspective. It will work out okay, I promise.

The channel suddenly releases the raft into a wide expanse of water and a magnificent view of lands beyond a shining lip of water.

Monkey 1 (looking around, puzzled): So you really think we’re okay? It’s just been a false anxiety? Oh, maybe you’re right.

Monkey 2 (soothing): Yes, yes, that’s right. Calm and rational wins out. There’s nothing to fear at all, see?

At which moment the raft slips smoothly over the edge and plunges into the pounding abyss hundreds of metres below, and our monkeys and their makeshift raft are never seen again.

Until next week… (the blog, not the monkeys)
Claire Belberg