The wombat is a buff to greyish-black, course-haired, thick-set animal about three feet long and it stands only about one foot three inches high. It is heavy (often about 70 pounds in weight) and it's weight is carried by it's short thick legs. It is very strong and fast. It can run the 100meters in about 6 seconds and, when in a hurry, looks like a mini-tank as it takes all types of hills and gullies in it's stride. It leaves a footprint like a foreshortened human footprint in mud or snow. Northern wombats are fast becoming extinct but South Australian hairy-nosed wombats and the species in south-east australia (where i live) are thriving. Wombats are very individualistic and probably the worlds most intelligent marsupial.
... oops, thought i was writing an essay for the wildlife newsletter ..
well, it suddenly struck me the otherday - i am part of a community. I know jesus said: "be no part of the world" but stuff him. I am part of the world and loving every minute of it [:p] When i first moved to this valley i thought i'd isolate myself in the forest and not have much to do with people but it turns out that i am now more involved with other folk than i have ever been in my life (big cities are lonely souless places folks - get out in the country before you wither up and .. )
One day i saw an add in the paper to sit a W.I.R.E.S. course. (Wildlife Information and Rescue Service) I sat the course, joined wires, attended the monthly meetings (usually very informal with everyone bringing plates of food etc... mmm ...) At one meeting i raised my hand at the wrong time and now i represent the far south coast branch of WIRES. So, i attend monthly meetings throughout the valley (which are held in differnt homes and properties throughout the shire) and help build kangaroo and wombat enclosures etc..
For a guy like me the very word "meeting" filled me with dread but these are no Kingdom Bull meeting folks .. we get the buisness at hand over very quickly and get into the barbeque and animal cuddling. Most members are mature women with a wombat, wallaby or some other soft furry animal in care. At WIRES we are dedicated to rehabilitating injured and sick animals back into the wild. Last week, on the way into town i rescued a joey from it's dead mothers pouch. "Wilbur" the swamp wallaby is being nurted by a woman who will hand it to me for 'soft release' in about 6 months. (since i have a large bush property i'm designated a release site :)
A friend of mine, Brian has two little wombats in care and they're real characters. They sleep in his bed, get carried around in a cloth bag, ride on the tank of his motorbike and are bottle fed every 6 hours. As soon as my wombat enclosure is build i hope to have babies of my own (wish i could post photos)
As i said, attending WIRES meetings is nothing like going to a kingdom hall. Last weekend we held a raptor course. (i even helped disect a wedge tailed eagle :) Did you know the concord took much of it's high tech from the study of Falcons? Owls, Kites, Hawks, Osprey, Eagles ... these animals are awesome and i'm building a huge avery to keep them. (i will be hospitalising themn for several weeks after initial rescue then handing them over to a specialist raptor carer several hundred miles up the coast.)
In the last few weeks i've rescued and released a wide variety of animals and birds. The local vet doesn't charge for wild animals so she's my first point of call.
ps: In Australia it is illegal to hold or keep any part of a native animal without a licence. Speaking of which, i will soon have a gun licence again (to euthenase* wildlife .. someones gotta do it)
OK, enough about WIRES.
Last week i finally enrolled in an arts degree at university. This little town (Bega) now has a small campus of it's own and i'm happy as a pig in poop. We have video conferencing back to Woolongong and i sit here in this airconditioned room with 40 brand new computers with only one other person cliking away :) Truly the tutors almost outnumber the students here (about 40) yep, three years of study and i'll be a BA and a year after that a teacher (touch wood, fingers crossed and all that) Again i'm struck that i'm part of a community. People here couldn't be more friendly. (a mate of mine is also studying here and he can't stop smiling either. Cr Hughes represents the greens at the third tier of governmrent - local council)
OK enough about Uni.
Building a house is fun too. I got hold of 80 meters of 120 year old hardwood floor planks the other day. They are covered in cowshit. (yep the people actually kept cows in this house .. sometimes it's just like 'greenacres' around here :) anyway i've sanded some back and am halfway through making a traditional gate - you should see the colors in the wood! (i must include pictures in my up-comming book "building a 100 year old house")
OK enough about my warped building projects. Tutor's waving at me .. it's time to go.
I've been lucky to make so many friends on the net and i feel a little guilty being so happy with my life when so many of you are hurting. All i can say is don't despair. Ignore the insanity of the Watchtower overlords, join a group and "be part of the world" and may all your days be tranquil and deeply satisfying.
love and best wishes, unclebruce.
*if any pedant can spell 'youth-en-ayse' all proper-like please let me know :)