The sweet essence of milled sugarcane washes over me. I’ve wound the car window down as I drive beside the river, inhaling the echo of sugar that earlier waved from a patchwork paddock.
Exercising sun salutations in Winter’s stillness triggers the emergence of torchbearers.
Circling the crop molten flames drop.
Centrifugally forced, bush rats and the diamond skinned pythons who feed on them sizzle together in death’s burning trash.
Crematorium smoke columns upward against the winters clear sunset. Green burns orange, black ash tapers.
The valley’s bedspread lies wrinkled. Cooling breezes stir… Soon night will shadow dance in the caldera.
Wollumbin the ‘cloud catcher’ provides no view today.
The boy-child, born within sight of this geological fixture, takes possession with a long-armed swing, the incline on legs of a teenage man.
The girl-child waits patiently for her mother.
It’s been more than twenty years since younger legs raised her from palm filtered gullies, into the open forest and through the ancient beeches where moist moss curtains shiver.
A white backdrop with needle-leafed grass trees in silhouette. Rocks slippery with falling water, The muddy sponge of composted leaf matter compressed by passing feet.
After Wollumbin’s cool embrace, we dry fireside.
Alexandra J Cornwell
After completing the 9km return Mount Warning summit walk with my teenage children on 26 September 2015.
*Wollumbin was named Mount Warning for the presence of offshore reefs by Captain James Cook as he sailed northwards up Australia’s eastern coastline. It is the volcanic core of an ancient shield volcano that has eroded over millennia to form today’s mountain-edged caldera. Sugarcane grows on the rich alluvial floor where it is often inundated by flooding from the Tweed River.