THE ODOUR was unmistakable. The smell of damp earth, of moss, of rotting logs. As a log truck passed, the scent of the forest was spread across the tarmacadam of Macquarie Street in the heart of Hobart. It was carried on sawdust and dried leaves, on pieces of bark and twig, mixing with the dry city dust, in gutters, in doorways and window sills. Walking to work one morning I was reminded I had not been able to get to the forest at the start of spring, when the swift parrots … [Read more...] about Macquarie Street
New Nature Writing
I strayed from the path of traditional, or pastoral, nature writing years ago when I discovered not only urban landscapes rich in wildlife, but anthropomorphism, irony, and bottles of red wine and bourbon with birds on their labels. As a young reporter, I had been impressed by the New Journalism of the 1960s which took reporting into the realm of the novel and short-story and a few decades on I found what were termed New Nature Writers breaking with tradition and exploring similar territory.
Although I still treasure the book that was my introduction to words about nature, Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selbourne published in 1788, I now find inspiration in one of the new journalists, Hunter S Thompson. Thompson might not have written of nature as such but his words “I write with rage and ink” have an irresistible resonance that carries far beyond the suburbs to the wooded hills of the horizon.
Fear and loathing on the mountain
WE were somewhere around Halls Saddle on the edge of the mountain when the alcohol began to take hold. I remember saying something like, “I feel a bit lightheaded … ” and suddenly there was a terrible roar around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge birds, all swooping and screeching and diving around. “Good heavens, what are those birds?’’ said Lindsay, and I replied matter-of-factly, calmly even, “Black jays”, and then I corrected myself and said, “Tasmanian … [Read more...] about Fear and loathing on the mountain