Where the wild things are

I’m sitting in my backyard, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. And also, the wildlife that regularly visits us.

As a girl growing up on a farm in Australia, I’m ashamed to admit I never appreciated how lucky I was to grow up surrounded by nature. Kangaroos, emus, cockatoos and galahs, and yes, snakes and spiders were all a part of the experience.

Moving to Sydney as a young adult I was blinded by the bright lights and excitement the city brings. Having lived in cities most of my adult life I love everything a city offers. If I needed nature, I could just go visit a park.

It has only been in recent years that I have begun craving that space to breath. Maybe it was living in China where space, fresh air and sunshine is not something you take for granted. I’ve written about this before….

Maybe it is a changing view of what I want from life. I’m not going to say I am getting older (although that is also true) but at some stage the bright lights of the city became a bit too bright.

While we are still technically living in a city, I have been really surprised by the wildlife we have discovered in our back yard.

Raccoons, opossums, squirrels, woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays all regularly visit our backyard. I have spent hours watching the squirrels collecting nuts in preparation for winter. The morning we had a family of opossums visit us was particularly exciting, especially once we had Googled to confirm that they really were opossums. And then there are the deer we’ve sighted not too far from here. Not to mention evidence of coyotes in the forest behind our workplace.

My fellow colleagues roll their eyes in boredom when I tell them about these encounters just as in Australia we would have been equally as unexcited when a kangaroo crossed our path. However, it is such a thrill to see wild animals in my backyard that I had previously read about in books or watched in cartoons from my childhood (Woody Woodpecker!).

The joy of these new experiences is what I love about travelling and living in different places. The newness and differences fascinate me, and maybe are even a bit addictive.

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

Miriam Beard

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