31st May 2006
Three days ago our computer hard-drive ground to a slurry; I’d backed up three years’ work but lost seven that were archived in magnetic back blocks. All told, 57,000 sent emails suffered the local equivalent of “net death”: data particles lifting like heat from midsummer asphalt, though now the cold nights have come, and we scrape ice from inland windscreens.
Before sitting down to write I chopped a pile of wood – grey-fleshed wandoo from seasons back, picked off the aching, cleared blocks of an ambitious farmer’s property. Like burning the body of place. As I was chopping with the splitter – sledge-hammer crossed with axe – shattering the fibres, parting petrified waters; I wavered, reverberated to the ground hallucinating black and white stilled shots of here and all other spaces I have been part of: now I close my eyes to remove after-effects.
For months now I have been planning
a version of the poetic fragments of Parmenides, but the edition I was going to work from was called back by the library: another user with a rarefied interest in the ancient; even when called back I had a week up my sleeve and I thought this the impetus to recompose a language, but the pressure was like borers in the almond tree outside my window: leaves withering branch by branch, the frost charring what’s already dead.
Bizarrely, the cold has brought new insect life, or old insect life changing, egg-laying, metamorphosing, going under bark, under ground. The time sequencing seems out: moulting when moulting comes with high summer, cocoons when cocoons have split, what’s within emerged. Less rain and warmer, despite the frost, despite what’s said.
People who want to know can’t trace the eyries of the two great wedge-tailed eagles sailing in over the farms, circling town. They are so high up – as large as rocs... as I write, tell people. We know they nest on the mountain overlooking the district, the granite of Walwalinj eggshell from which a young roc
will emerge. We keep it quiet lest they eat the unborn and bring down doom.