Amazing Connections

December 8

The other day we had just come out of the surf at a place called Arrawarra. It was high tide, the surf was a bit up, and two men were frantically trying to hold their motor boat off the rocky beach. They had come in moments before, from an aborted fishing journey, and hoped to get the boat out of the water and onto the trailer at the boat ramp without any mishaps. Well, it just wasn’t happening, so I ran down in my board shorts to help muscle the boat around. The waves were bashing it about and two of us did our best to hold the boat while the owner backed the trailer and truck down the rutted ramp. We couldn’t get the boat lined up with the ramp and so the owner was trying to jackknife the trailer to the right and aim it at the boat floundering in the surf. This story will continue shortly.

Two months ago as we were hunting for bowers and meeting landowners along the Woolgoolga Creek Road one particular land owner said that they had a blanket policy of not letting people on their land. Apparently, there are some historical sites on the property, including an old gold mine, and too many people have asked too many times to go tramping about. We understood completely and respected their wishes. It was too bad for our study however, for their block lies right between other critical habitat where we have found bowers. We just knew there would be a bowerbird or two on their property. Their property was one of the missing links we just had to accept. Ok, now that you have some background on the matter, back to the boat ramp.

The tide kept coming in and the waves seemed to be getting bigger. I was wondering what was going to happen to the boat for I had my doubts that we’d be able to get it on the trailer. Well after about ten minutes of backing the trailer this way and that, we finally got it lined up with the boat and winched it on. With a few minor adjustments, he had the truck digging into the ramp, pulling the beastly boat up and out of harm’s way. Once the excitement died down, the owner, Peter, asked me if we were on holiday. I told him, no, that we were teachers taking a year to do research on satin bowerbirds. He then said, oh, I have a bower at my place up the Woolgoolga Creek Road, would you like to see it? Of course! So I got out my map of the area and he showed me where his property was. And guess what? His property is the missing link!

We have been in Australia for three months and I wouldn’t say that I have particularly gone out of my way to help anybody. We are just doing our thing and the world spins on. So it is a bit unusual in that the one time I reached out to help someone, they had something that I really needed in return. Connections with people can be truly amazing sometimes.

Sara and I share good connections too, fortunately, for we are living together in a 12′ camper trailer. Tonight when I got back from doing the dishes at the camp kitchen, she had a platter of 40 cicada cases spread about on the table. They were in little piles. It almost looked like she was preparing treats for a dinner party. I laughed and took this picture. She said that most husbands would have freaked out! I am glad that we share lots of good connections. I am glad that she wasn’t stuffing them with mushroom filling for a party :-).

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