After a recent knee replacement operation and being confined to the house for a few weeks of bed rest, my entire world has shrunk to the view from my bedroom window.
Suddenly, everything that was previously taken for granted is now of great interest: the comings and goings of neighbours as they drive to work on weekdays, have a night out on Fridays and go to church on Sundays. The weekday mail delivery becomes a high point of my day and even the weekly visit of the rubbish truck is of interest. Dog owners deliver and collect their dogs at the kennels up the road, dogwalkers go past every morning and horse riders at weekends.
It is a beautiful autumn on the New England Tablelands in northern NSW. I watch the weeds growing in my formerly colourful and tidy garden and wait impatiently for the day to come when I will feel well enough to get outside and address them. At the same time I gain comfort from it, and particularly from the pond and the glitter and movement of the water spraying from the fountain in the sunlight. I watch the leaves turn colour and fall from the poplars across the road and the grass dry out and turn to gold, striped by the shadows cast by the trees.
I watch the kangaroos and wallabies continue their daily lives, coming out to feed at dawn and dusk. The joeys race around and have fun before returning to their mothers. The elders of the mob sit up, keep watch and have a good scratch.
Sometimes they all take off at once and race through the grass and disappear from view — maybe spooked by a dog-walker or a particularly noisy vehicle. I watch the local magpies, currawongs and kookaburras gather and I hear their morning and evening choruses. Small flocks of firetails and fairy wrens fly in for the grass seeds in the small patch of lawn outside my window and a honeyeater perches on the windowsill and admires its reflection in the glass. A Pacific heron flies in daily to the dam across the road, disturbing the local ibis as it arrives. Black cockatoos make their usual dignified fly-past and the rosellas, lorikeets and king parrots fly in to feast on any remaining apples and peaches on the trees in the garden — their colours brightening up a dull day.
Then, one morning, over breakfast in bed, a stag walks across my view, slowly striding through the golden grass, head held high and the early morning sun turning his antlers silver. He disappears from view but the glory of him remains. I forget what the coming day will bring — exercises, bed rest, discomfort, pain killers and ice packs. The surprise and wonder remains with me, and for a brief moment all is well with my small, restricted world.
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