Tuesday, April 17, 2007
when a stranger calls
I swear this story is only going to fuel the myths that abound about Australia. I know my regular overseas readers are informed enough to know that kangaroos don't bounce along the inner city freeways, and that koalas don't live in trees in everyone's backyard. But any innocent blog-surfer who happened along would be at risk of believing these things. I often write about Mum's farm, which is teeming with wildlife - judging by the tales Mum is forever telling me . There was the snake above the front door. The native hopping mouse nesting in Mum's chest of drawers (complete with pink, newborn babies). A dingo attacking a defenceless calf. The frog living in Mum's bathroom. And now, a mysterious visitor at the back door......
A few nights ago, Mum was spending a quiet evening at her farm. Mum's sister, my Aunt Zany, was staying over, so the two of them were peacefully talking.
"Bang! Thump!" came a sound from the back door.
Mum and Aunt Zany exchanged mystified glances. Cautiously, they approached the door. Slowly, carefully and somewhat fearfully, Mum opened the back door and peered out. There, immediately beside the door, clinging on to the log wall of Mum's hogbacked home, was a koala.
Mum and Aunt Zany stood and spoke softly to the koala. I don't have it from the horse's mouth (sorry Mum, you are in fact the horse in this scenario), but I bet Mum was saying things like, "Hello little fella! Whatchyou doing here, hmm? Did you think this wall was a tree, hey?". The koala eyed them warily and declined to comment. Eventually, Mum and Aunt Zany went back inside, and came around from the front to the side of the house, to spy on the disorientated marsupial.
They watched as the koala slowly clambered down, and then sat lazily on Mum's back porch awhile. A few minutes later, the furry creature headed off towards Mum's nearby Jacaranda tree (see photo). Two feet up the Jacaranda tree, the koala stopped, and gazed about. Obviously having some sort of an epiphany, (doesn't FEEL like a gum tree....hmmmm....doesn't SMELL like a gum tree....errrrr.....doesn't LOOK like gum tree either. Back up, back up, I'm comin' down!) the confused critter shunted down the trunk. Mum watched as the koala trundled off into the night, finally reached a blue gum tree, and climbed up safely.
I'm not sure what was going on in the brain of this fuzzball. My friend Heather suggested the animal was inebriated (gum leaf shooters, anyone?). I'm thinking this koala was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
I wonder what the poor little tyke must have thought of the night's events. I'm guessing the koala was traumatised by all the kerfuffle - mistaking a house for a tree, being spoken to by Scary Humans, then climbing another tree that wasn't quite right. Did it shake its grey head in shame, muttering 'How embarrassing! ' to itself? Was it shivering, quaking, and exhausted, up high in the Blue gum?
After all, how much can a koala bear?