Banksia in the forest

Summer banksia

The shade from the trees is the only reason I am able to be out here in this heat for this long. I’m not carrying enough water to be able to walk for hours in direct sunlight. The vegetation around me thrives in this weather and won’t care if I have to retreat back to my natural habitat earlier than planned.

I know there are animals out here too and some would have already spotted me, but I haven’t seen them even though I’m trying very hard to do so. This area has a variety of plants, each with different textures and shades of colour, making it more difficult for me to distinguish where an animal may be or what it has recently disturbed. I am concentrating on the forest floor today, mainly on the look out for snakes, but also because I’ve noticed lots of scratch marks in the tough, dry ant mounds which is a good sign there are echnidnas around. My decision to focus on the ground means I’m going to miss out on whatever is happening in the treetops and above, but snakes are a genuine concern right now.

I realise I have arrived at a banksia tree because some of its unique pods have fallen beside the path. These seeds have fascinated me since childhood. They are clusters of hairy mouths and could resemble a monster from somebody’s nightmare except they all seem so friendly. The mouths are never arranged neatly in rows and columns. They seem to jostle amongst themselves as they chatter and mumble.

Banksia in the forest - Oil on canvas - 40cm x 50cm
Summer banksia. 40cm x 50cm. Oil on canvas.

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