It Rains in a Rainforest – Oldies at Large

KurandaBeing camped up in a rainforest brings its own delights, the least of which is the nightly orchestra of bugs and frogs, often accompanied by the steady beat of rain on the caravan roof. This is something that is a particular delight given that we have spent the last 18 months chasing the sun around Aus’. We have been yearning for rain for some time and here up in FNQ, in the tropical rainforests along the Cairns escarpment it has at times been a muddy delight.

I love the morning chorus of birds as the sun creeps in through the tall rainforest trees, along with the damp of the dawn and the inevitable question of just what is that noise I hear moving around the forest floor. It could be a cassowary, they frequent this area; or perhaps it’s a wallaby looking for those lush young grasses where the forest floor has been cleared. It could be anything, this is after all crocodile country.

Last night we tried to settle in bed, turned out the lights and were surprised to find that the ceiling of our caravan lit up with the tinniest of little lights. It was a delightful surprise. The lights kept us enthralled; until we worked out that the van had been invaded by tiny fireflies. What a wondrous and delightful creature they are. We then spent quite a time capturing each of them and releasing them back into the night.

We are visited by all manner of nature’s creatures but a particular friend we look forward to daily is the kookaburra who comes in for a mid-morning feed of prime steak strips. I love also to watch the small wrens flirt amongst the low bush and other flighted creatures of all sizes and colours… the colours are often striking, so bright and even reflective, catching the chancing light of the sun.

Au SpringYes, it is that time of year when nature delivers all manner of new things and surprises. The birds are nesting in Aus’ and there are often noisy young in the trees learning to feed and fly. It is the season of colour and while in the northern hemisphere the land is littered with ombré, orange and browns, the colours of autumn, Aus’ is springing to life with carpets of purple, brushes of red, yellow and all the hues and shades of the beautiful budding spring.

US autumnI remember most of the Northern hemisphere in the spring, the brilliant greens of England, Ireland and Europe… so brilliant that it was a colour that strained the eyes. In the US in the mid summer edging to fall, it was the patina of green that struck us… the green needles of softwood you find in seemingly endless forests of pines. It was so striking that it deceived the eye into thinking it was an illusion of shimmering movement.

Rainbow gumIn Aus’ our greens are that which are brilliant in the new growth, they tip the olives and yellows of older leaves, which have born witness to the season. The leaves on our trees often stay around throughout the year and it is the bark, which the trees commonly shed. This often paints a palate of white, grey, red or brown and even the most striking of colours such as in the stunning rainbow eucalyptus. Our bush is not uniform but a cascade of olive colour, of greys and browns in many shades, relieved by the brilliant colour of the birds and flowers. Yes our trees have flowers and I adore their bright splash of colour.

Autumn and Spring are my favourite seasons by far. Summer is often hot and steamy and winter, chill and biting, though each has a delight of its own. There is nothing like swimming in the heat of summer, or a fire in the cold of winter. But in spring and autumn, you can have both at different times.

We have moved up into the rainforest, high in the tropics just before the Wet arrives and while the humidity builds we are taking time out to enjoy the Grandies with the Christmas season on the horizon. It is a happy time of year for Aussies and by the time the full flush of summer arrives I have no doubt we will be likely exhausted with it. For now though it is a rich promise on the horizon.

Best of the coming season… enjoy!

Jan is an author and a writer, you can read more about her books at her homesite.

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