02 March, 2007

Give Me Hope, Goanna

Sometimes days just go well.

There was no particular reason why this one should have been special but it was. I set out with Wifie to do some shopping. We had breakfast at the mall, had the usual brain-in-neutral trip round the supermarket and headed home. Wifie suggested we stop off at the Mount Coot’tha Botanical Gardens on the way back since we hadn’t been there for a while and I readily agreed since it is a wonderful place. It’s huge and it hardly has anyone in it (especially on a week-day) and it has a great collection of succulents. I snapped the picture on the right with my cell-phone when we were in the succulent garden. The thing that looks like a space-ship on the right is the geodesic dome of the greenhouse.

We took a stroll round the lake (all the water-lilies were in bloom and it was a blaze of colour) then through the succulents, then the cactus house (which also has bromeliads and orchids) and then to the café where we bought macadamia nut ice-cream cones and went back to the lake to watch the ibises fossicking for insects. It was a beautiful day – so sunny and bright. Too warm to sit in the sun but not unpleasantly hot.

We came home feeling we’d had a nice time and I went off to do some work. About ten minutes later, Wifie called me down again to see something. So I grabbed the camera and hurried and was just in time to see a metre-long lace monitor walk off our terrace and into the garden. I followed it for a while and got a couple of snaps. Watching this beautiful lizard (right) was such a treat and we both felt elated at having had the privilege.

I came back to my office feeling happy only to hear Wifie calling yet again. This time the lace monitor had come right up to the house, tried the door and was wandering around on the veranda. Seen close up in all its splendour, the lace monitor really is a very beautiful animal. I assume it was the lacy patterns hat cover it from head to tail that gave it its name. They are reasonably common in this area and you sometimes see them in picnic areas, especially in the bush – although in nearly ten years we have never seen one in our garden. There is a close relative, the Gould’s goanna, that is much rarer but its very restricted territory does include our suburb. Maybe we’ll see one of those one day. Even if it takes another ten years, it would be worth the wait.

All that remains now is to finish this and go back down to join Wifie. I know exactly how the rest of the day will go. We will sit side by side under the sun umbrella, drinking a nice Chardonnay and chatting about Life and lace monitors as the Brisbane River slides quietly by. Slowly the sun will go down, the hills opposite willl turn golden, the fish will start jumping and the welcome swallows will race them for the insects over the water. The cat will come out and lie down nearby, the cicadas and the frogs will sing their hearts out and gradually, imperceptibly, the warm, breezy night will fall.

Sometimes days just go well.

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