Monday, 24 December 2012

My (cousin's) first...

My cousin (technically first cousin once removed) is 11 months old and Christmas Eve marked her first visit to Kings Park, our botanical gardens overlooking the Swan river and city of Perth. Kings Park is beautiful: in On the steep slope down to the river native flora grow wild while above manicured lawns festooned with gardens of natives provide the perfect locale for family picnics and weddings.

Picnicing near a young tree, my cousin decided that now was the perfect time to indulge in a little exploring, particularly of the black dirt in which the sapling stood. With no restraints and little more than a mild protest from her mother, my cousin liberally covered her feet, legs and hands in good clean dirt. Watching such indulgence was a simple classic image that could have dated from anyone's childhood and reminded me of photos of my own sister: I recollect a photo of her from before she was walking crawling across the grass with her mouth covered in dirt and grass and if anything, its just given her a more detailed interest in plant life.

King's Park is delightful for not only does it possess and array of plants native to this area, but it also contains varieties of English trees that herald back to a time when we were still only a British outpost actively tried to recreate the English landscape many settlers missed from home. Wanting my cousin to experience as little more of the park, I kidnapped her from the party and went for a wander showing her some of the different plants and introducing her to some of the sounds and textures of the park. I felt as though I was introducing her to the smooth bark of a eucalyptus, the metal plaque of a war memorial, the crunchiness of the flowers of the everlasting (paper-daisy) and the stiff velvety leaves of a banksia.

It was an utter joy discovering such natural things with her and seeing her follow my example and touch things or just sit there with a smile, taking in the thinks I was pointing out to her: the magpie having a standoff with a crow, the pavilion in which her Nanna married... I know she's too young to remember any of this but I suppose I want her to have the opportunity to have as rich a life as I do but with the type of richness I feel to be most important.

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