Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Paradise lost? Not exactly

Today we headed out of town and took our two dogs for a bit of a frolic through a local nature area. It's one of the simple joys of life and we do it whenever we can.
This used to be our favourite place to take them:

And this is where we went today:

Alas, the first picture was taken when we lived in paradise. AKA tropical Far North Queensland. Sea and reef on one side of you, rainforest on the other.
We now live in Coolgardie, WA. Desert on one side of you. And - surprise! - more desert on the other side.
With the possible exception of Siberia, it would be hard to find a place more different from Cairns than the Coolgardie (I should point out it's in the Kalgoorlie region, because most people have never heard of Coolgardie. I know, how weird is that?).
Even the threats to life and limb differ. While at the beach we'd be on the lookout mainly for stinging sea creatures (of both the deadly and merely agonising-but-you'll-live variety) but also had to be wary of stepping on a crab or stonefish and, if near a river, of running into a crocodile.
Here, dangers include snakes, baits laid for wild dogs, falling down old mine shafts and the very real likelihood of choking to death on a fly or 20. People are not kidding, or even exaggerating, when they say WA is home to a schmillion billion flies, with all but about six of them looking to take up residence in your eyes and mouth.
Now, it's very easy to fall under the spell of tropical Queensland. I loved it more than I had loved any other place. But this little corner of WA I've now found myself in also has it's own beauty. It's there in the endless, captivatingly red dirt, the rich afternoon light and the big, wide sky.
And, for all the glaring differences between here and there, it seems the magic of each springs from the same source: the sense that neither landscape can really be tamed.
The sheer lushness and vitality of the tropic's rainforest simply over-runs any attempt at control that isn't sustained. Out here, the desert is silently defiant. Its harshness will, given time, overcome all but the most resolute efforts to make life softer.
Except for the flies. I doubt anything short of apocolypse could move them.

What do you love - or hate - about where you live?

Sun! Surf! Sand! Was mucho excitement on days like these.
Even here, there is still sun, sand (the red sort) and
great excitement.

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