Day 13 of the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild, and we have been so busy doing "wild things" that sitting at the computer writing is the last thing on our minds! Only when the day is done, and the young "wild things" are themselves settled in to their quiet evening activities do I feel that I can justify some "quite time" on the machine that so often distracts me from the wild. I find myself resenting the fact that I am now sitting here, with the children but alone---typing while they chat and prepare to go to bed.

It is winter here in Australia: the days are short and the nights are longer than we have been used to during the last few months. Every minute of daylight is precious when you are young and have a life of exploring ahead of you. It seems a shame to bring the children inside to work at their written exercises and because we are in the middle of the Days of Wildness, I am using it as justification for minimising the time spent over books, and when we are engrossed in " 'riting, reading and 'rithmetic" we are trying so hard to give it a wild flavour: counting beetles, measuring garden beds...

During the last two days we have made the long trek across country, west to Albany. We were making the journey to celebrate the 18th birthday party of a niece, and order to get to our destination we had to wend and wind through the Porongorups, the massive ancient granite domes of Porongurup National Park rise 670 metres above us, but they are dwarfed by the ranges withing the Stirling Range National Park. This park encloses what the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife describes as the only major mountain range with in the southern half of Western Australia. The rugged peaks rise to more than 1000 metres above sea level and the stark cliff faces and sheltered valleys and gullies foster a rich diversity of unique and colourful wildflowers. We rarely stop to explore these magnificent wild places because we are always on a mission, but driving through the wilderness reminds us of the way this ancient land was before European settlement, with the cleared farmlands providing a stark reminder as they crowd around the land that still belongs to the kangaroos. As we drive through them, I lament the fact that my camera has gone flat....


(above photo of Porogorups courtesy of www.perthnow.com.au.)

When we get home, after enjoying a bonfire in the cold crisp air on the evening of the birthday celebrations and a re-run of the previous day's drive, we are back to our routine. Our wild garden, the trees that tower over us everyday, and lovely feeling that comes after a journey away from home and a welcome return.