On Newport Lakes
Newport Lakes is a well-hidden nature reserve planted in the heart of suburban life, covered by thick bushes to block out the passing traffic. A winding, gravelled trail opens up, fork-like, into two grassed over ovals, and to the right-hand side, a hill which one hikes up with some ease, which eventually spirals down into two separate, open lakes. Yellow gums envelop the sky, growing straight and reaching high towards the sun, shading over the numerous ponds, bridges and lookouts that reign high over the ecosystem below. As I travel further into its lush, green chambers, this body of nature ignites a moment of thought where I become acutely aware of my own existence within the surrounds of the natural environment.
My sense of smell detects eucalypt mostly; my ears, the calls far into the distance from the vibrantly decorated blue fairy-wrens, and the occasional vibrational croak from the families of common eastern froglets concealing themselves within the wallaby grass. The trail embodies a removal from the realities of my human existence, accompanied by the knowledge that the non-humaneness of the location is the very thing that provides comfort. I reach the edge of the main lake, the larger of the two, and carefully hop across the bluestone and basalt rocks acting as stepping stones from end to end. Meandering over both mind and body become relaxed, a sensation that pivots between conscious and unconscious wandering, where nature and my humanness intertwine in moments filled with tranquillity.
A sun-bathing couple of black swans become my companions, my eyes keenly following their gentle movement across the brim of the brownish-green lake. In a quick second, they take flight, gliding seamlessly across to the other side, becoming two speckles of colour far into the distance. The bustling hum of insects and the calls from a family of ducks enter the soundscape, alerting me back to my conscious mind. In a moment, I remember the secrecy of the lurking tiger snake, silently slithering away from sight, creating a mellow sense of terror, of unpredictability.
Travelling uphill and wrapping around the edge of the park, I turn back around to witness the scenes in a panoramic fashion. As if a painter has tentatively moved their paintbrush over a canvas, the gum trees so seamlessly encompass the vision of the main lake, drawing back like curtains to reveal the hub of life that is so close, yet so far removed from the unconscious human eye. A moment of beauty and appreciation, one deep breath in, and back up the trail I go.