I’m now allowed to spend two hours outside of my house and as it’s a sunny day I’m going to make the most of it. I have my backpack, camera and a bottle of water, so I feel like I’m out on some sort of urban adventure. I have planned a route that doesn’t really go anywhere. It keeps to the quiet streets with gardens, decreasing my chances of running into people and increasing my chance of encountering something natural that might inspire me.
Unlike a hike in nature where I rely on my ears to let me know if something is above or beside me, I’m blocking my sense of hearing from the real world by wearing headphones. For this walk the predictable and over familiar sounds of my urban surroundings aren’t as important or reassuring as beautiful music. I’ve chosen ethereal electronica that blends the natural and manufactured worlds, much like my suburb does. I’m also wearing a face mask, hat and sunglasses, so I feel like I’ve constructed an isolation chamber around my head and I’m observing the outside world from behind an anonymous barrier.
This street, like so many in Melbourne, is lined with plane trees – an introduced species with big leaves and round, bulbous, inedible fruit. If I had a time machine I would make a stop at the point in Australian history when a colonial botanist decided plane trees should be planted along the streets of young Melbourne and explain why it is a bad idea. Every spring these trees release their spores like a blizzard onto the public and it seems every person is allergic to them to some degree. If it was a windy day today, I wouldn’t be walking here for fear of breathing in the spores and having a coughing fit.
They are good for one thing and that is lorikeets use them as nesting places. Across the road I spot the emerald and sapphire streaks of a couple clinging to the edge of a hollow in the trunk. I can tell by their guarded stance there is something very precious to them inside.
I take a lot of photos from a distance and a few moments later I see there is a car stopped in the middle of the road. I look at the driver because they are being strange, but then I realise they want me to move because I am standing in their driveway. I don’t know how long they’ve been waiting or if they’ve been tooting their horn.