Autumn is stepping gently into our city – the sky is a singing stretch of blue and trees light up like candles.
We look for new places to walk during the weekend. Our usual walk from bridge to bridge is much more crowded on Saturdays and Sundays. With no cafes, restaurants, galleries or libraries – people flock to the lake so we roam further afield.
We wander from the National Museum to the Australian National University. I love these wooded paths by the water.
It’s a time for noticing small things – leaf litter, ivy wrapped tree trunks and the haunting blue grey of eucalypt bark.
My feet always recall their younger selves — eager and quick— when I track through the ANU. I remember their anticipation as they marched me over the damp crunch of yellow leaf to a lecture, a tutorial or a cuppa, in the Union café, with a new friend. Over forty years ago these poplars scattered yellow hope on me. My heart lifts at the sight of Sullivan’s Creek which flows and ripples as it has always done.
But today the quietness is startling. The university is deserted – no throngs of students in the usual places. We see bicycles looped and chained in green leaves, bees hum in clusters of wahlenbergia (our city’s floral emblem) burrowing their way into amethyst bells. They are not disturbed by the trample of hundreds of passing feet.
Everything is in its place but nothing is quite as it should be…
We venture on a new walk – a loop around Curtin. It’s such a delight to discover pockets of freshness in a city where we’ve lived for so many years. I love peeking into suburban backyards – at lawns scattered with children’s toys and gardening tools, at people sitting on decks in the autumn sunshine, at weathered paling fences covered in leaves.
We catch our breaths at a shining grove of golden trees…
Autumn in this city just catches you off guard and knocks you off your feet!
© Anita Patel, 2020
Published by anitapatel
Anita Patel is a writer (and retired teacher) who has lived in Canberra since 1982. She is as Australian as a banana paddle pop and a pair of sandy thongs and she is also a part of the Asian diaspora. Her collections of poetry are: 'Petals Fall' published by Recent Work Press in 2022 (https://recentworkpress.com/product/petals-fall) and 'A Common Garment' published by Recent Work Press in 2019 (https://recentworkpress.com/product/a-common-garment/).
In 2019 she collaborated with acclaimed artist, Annie Franklin, to produce 'Heart Stitched' (a story (in paintings and poetry) of the quirky, unexpected and dazzling layers in the natural world).
She has had work published in the Canberra Times, in Conversations (Pandanus Press, ANU), in Block 9, Burley Journal, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Demos Journal, Mascara Literary Review, Not Very Quiet Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Backstory Journal, Other Terrain Journal, Pink Cover Zine, FemAsia Magazine, Plumwood Mountain Journal and Eucalypt: a tanka journal, The Australian Poetry Anthology (Vol. 8 2020) and Print Issue 42 of The Blue Nib Journal. Her children’s poems are included in an anthology Pardon My Garden published by Harper Collins. Her poem “Women’s Talk” won the ACT Writers Centre Poetry Prize in 2004 and her poetry was selected for and published in Australian Book Review’s States of Poetry ACT, 2018.
She has performed her work at the Canberra Multicultural Festival, Poetry on the Move Festival, Noted Festival, Floriade Fringe Festival, In Other Words Festival (at Lost in Books, Fairfield), the Queensland Poetry Festival, the National Folk Festival, at Smith’s Alternative, at Word in Hand, Glebe and La Mama Poetica.
Her reviews, “Found in Translation”, on the performances of four Japanese women poets and their translators at Poetry on the Move Festival, 2017 and “No More Silent Waiting”, on the anthology Autonomy edited by Kathy D’Arcy (2018) have been published by Not Very Quiet Journal. She was the guest editor for Issue 2 of Not Very Quiet Journal. View all posts by anitapatel