‘Roo-spotting on the Tundra

The old coach road from Byron Bay to Newcastle is literally swarming with ‘roos and their young, bleached buffalo skulls, the ghosts of highwaymen and desperadoes and cackling kookaburras, emus still trying to learn to fly After all these years and snakes and lizards fighting tooth and nail over territory which has been disputed for generations. This is the cruel unforgiving nature of the outback, the harsh sun beating down cruelly on billabong and ghost gum indiscriminately.

The soothing sound of thousands of molten koalas nibbling quietly on the eucalyptus, nutritious but notoriously hard on the gums, the harsh reality of being alone in the outback except for my band really hitting home now.

The needless death of a wombat on the side of the road makes no sense other than to magnify the fragility of the delicate Eco-system, it’s guts spilled half on the Tarmac and half on a verdant patch of grass in a vibrant mishmash of obscene red and green against the man made grey of the bitumen and metal road where it has not degraded into a reddish brown dust bowl. Every couple of feet or so there are roadworks, maybe happening now or maybe abandoned some time ago.

Herds of kangaroo fossick and hop from feeding hole to feeding hole, roaming the landscape, the scouts going ahead sniffing for the next billabong, the old timers starting a fire by rubbing their rear legs together, like giant silent cicadas, their oversized clown feet comical in their buffoonishness yet critical to their survival over the eons – since they discovered the miracle of fire the kangaroo has continued to dominate the landscape, lighting fires everywhere they go, to keep their arch-enemy the platypus at bay.

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