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The Inevitable Encounter 

Maria Arbizu Duran 

There is a crunch that disrupts the tranquillity of nature. Thuds of my shoes pressure rocks into the land, signalling my existence to the trees and living things; my arrival is upon them. I imagine an animated rustle as squirrels and possums probably proceed to hide as I disrupt their peace. Humans have not always been trustworthy with animals and nature; I rightfully support their departure into hiding. There is a silent chatter from the leaves as they follow the sway of the wind carrying their conversations from branch to branch. I soak the sounds in, their comfort playing as white noise in my mind, constantly soothing me from the chaos of human life. The world around me stands calmly and silently. It takes nothing from me and asks nothing of me. It allows me to co-exist with all the distractions, yet this guilt of standing before the might of the gum trees consumes me. I understand why I have not travelled into the bush again, the overwhelming guillotine over the existence of Earth looms over the beautiful economy of nature. I do not feel worthy of walking before the peace of the trees — even the brown thornbill shutters at my presence. I do my best to stay on the trail that has seared itself into the dirt; the apparent path is a warning to plants and animals. They do not flutter out of their hiding places. I am envious that I cannot guarantee their trust to experience a sighting of a brushtail possum or the slither of an Eastern-Water dragon. The idea of nature barely exists; this conception of a clutter of flora and a sprinkle of fauna runs more profound here than a six-letter word. It is a deeper ecosystem connected by the centuries of being ingrained within the gum tree rings. Wisdom and age start here. 

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