Red Wheelbarrow Moments – Ducks’ Wings and Stained Glass Air

The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white
– William Carlos Williams

Walking around the lake yesterday I stopped to marvel at the perfect jewel flash of turquoise and teal as a duck flew over the water. That stunning, unexpected shine against the soft tobacco brown of its feathers never fails to startle me out of complacency. The lake is crowded with water birds – swans, pelicans, moorhens and other exotic species –  but I am always astonished by the fabulous greeny blue iridescence hiding under the wing of a common duck.

It was a perfect day for walking – the air was bright and still with the first real hint of autumn. I have lived in this city for over three decades and I am always surprised by the subtle entrance of this beautiful season. Warm, sunshiny days are suddenly laced with a crisp morning chill, cockatoos (those raffish clowns of the sky) crack nuts in claret branches and the extraordinary light of the high country glows and shimmers through an incandescent leafy curtain of rose, lemon and amber. That shifting wonderful light turns Canberra into a series of stained glass windows and makes autumn in this city a glorious affair.

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Now that I am retired, I have time to pick up a twig of crimson tinged  oak leaves for my kitchen bench, to listen to a call of birds in the wetlands, to scuff my feet happily through a drift of freshly fallen leaves and to patiently watch a puddle of ducks just to get a glimpse of that exquisite shot of colour as they wing over the glassy lake.

© Anita Patel, 2015

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