Australia, Beach & Coastal Walking
Comments 11

Meet Stumpy the Mangrove & Friends

Hey, folks.

Well, my little dwelling is looking a lot better — arguably better than it did pre-maelstrom. My parents and I moved most of the mud and water out over a couple of draining days in which despair always lurked close by, ready to pounce, and it was a good excuse for some more downsizing.

In fact I’ve downsized to the point where my place looks almost Japanese in its simplicity. I sit on the floor now, which sounds worse than it is, as I sat on the floor at mealtimes for three and a half years in Japan and two more in Korea. It’s very…grounding.

My blue couch, an unlovely but very comfortable thing I scored for a hundred bucks or so at a local op shop (thrift store) years ago — and whose cushions I saved to soften the zone between butt and tiled floor — has now joined the piles of flood-damaged stuff lining the road on our end of the street, where there’s still a car or two standing open-doored and sodden-floored:

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My parents’ losses, financially speaking, were far worse than mine, and I was actually glad for the diversion and the sense of purpose that mopping up provided. Good honest dirty toil. I just hope the smells of mud and bleach wear off in time.

Anyway, thanks for the good wishes, and here’s the final part of that little mangrove story, so crudely interrupted by the unannounced visitation from old Mother Nature…

*          *          *          *          *

After I got back from my photo expedition in the mangrove forest, Alex drove us north and across to Bribie Island (4th-largest sand island, I believe) for breakfast. A hangover was settling by the time we got back, via a fruitless (ha-ha) stop at a roadside market…

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Spot the redundant apostrophe, a trait shared by vegetable-sellers worldwide.

..where the low prices were matched only by the quality — we left unburdened by vegetables.

I enjoyed a recuperative nap in the Breaking Bad van, and emerged reasonably healthy to return to the water’s edge just in time for sunset:

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An incoming tide and a dusky sky as I head out a-mangrovin’.

This time I went south — to the right in the picture — where the mangroves are sparser but no less charismatic. Just a short dash a few hundred metres and back, with barely a quarter-hour to make the most of the light, but here’s what I grabbed while the grabbing was good:

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One of three or four rope swings I encountered. I have quite a collection of rope-swing shots for some reason, many of them dangling from mangroves. And just as I prefer to photograph bicycles unridden and brooms un-sweeping, I like my swings un-swung.

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Meet Stumpy, thumbing a ride to the next Peter Jackson movie.

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Another participant in the swinging scene.

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“Pipes submerged at high tide.” This area was also hit hard by last Friday’s super-storm. Not sure how it fared, but undoubtedly this would not have been a good place to be standing.

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Like bonsai, only big.

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The tasteful use of accessories can add class to even a simple outfit.

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Another self-swinging swing does its thing in the evening breeze.

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A drainage canal aflame with sunset.

Back at the van, a quick shot of Alex (who’d come looking for me but abandoned the search, exhausted, after about 20 metres) and the construction site…

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Man & Van.

..before we headed indoors at the main house to join his family — Alex to cook and me to glance at his labours occasionally while sharing some of my pictures on the laptop with his parents.

It’s curious how on these escapes with Alex, which often involve an unhealthy amount of drinking (I drink very little in solitary life — or did until my recent troubles), I still get most of my day’s pictures edited before turning in each night.

Guess it’s the change of scenery, the stimulus to creativity, the invigorating energy of all-too-infrequent catch-ups with old friends. It’s rare, too, I get a chance to show finished pictures to anyone in person, so there’s a bit of impetus to offset all the excess with spurts of productivity.

We were a little more restrained that night, but still sat up till around 2:00 in the little trailer enjoying hours of music and the telling of many tales. And yes, all the while I was tinkering with the pictures you’re seeing here.

I let the mangroves sleep in next morning — best to quit while ahead. Couldn’t resist one last shot of one of the neighbours stopping by for breakfast, though:

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You ever heard of knocking?

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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11 Comments

  1. Stumpy is a rather appealing hitchhiker, but a tad too big to fit into my matchbox on wheels!

    If you hadn’t labelled the drainage canal I could have mistaken the shining water for a glass/marble surface. The sharp edges, the corner and reflection of light are deceiving. Clever shot.

    Bikes not being ridden, brooms not sweeping and swings absent of swingers? A people-less theme. The fact that the people are actually missing from these scenes can evoke strong emotions though. Empty swings in particular! Funny how inanimate objects can be given a life of their own in the hands of a good photographer such as yourself. Like Stumpy. My brother and I had bonsais when we were younger and they often reminded me of creatures.

    I hope you get to spend more time with people who stimulate your creativity. We get to benefit from the results too. Great post as always. Let’s hope you have a disaster-free life for some time to come. Best wishes.

    • Cheers, Jane. I’m not too good with photographing strangers and events — too shy — so where I do include them, it’s usually as figures in a landscape. And I like the eeriness, the hints of a mysterious second life I find in human-made objects when their owners are absent…

  2. Like Jane, I’m glad you noted what the drainage canal photo. I took it to be a very shiny boardwalk at first!
    The lighting in your last photo of stumpy is just right – my favourite of the mangroves. I love the neighbour. He/She probably did announce its presence, but not with a knock, as such. You possibly weren’t awake/listening. 😊

    • Thanks! It’s at a quiet seaside town half an hour’s drive north of Brisbane. My friend’s folks are building there. I grew up in a village that was very similar, just smaller and even quieter!

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