In a few days we drive east from Darwin. We’ll take the main highway but make trips up to Borroloola and Karumba. eBird has a recent sighting at Karumba (or is it Normanton, I can’t recall) of over a hundred Brolgas and over a dozen Sarus Cranes. I’ll swoon. We’ll keep going to the Atherton Tablelands, where we’ll spend a week looking at both species in winter flocking mode.
Great anxiety accompanies this step. There’s no concrete reason for any concerns. The trip will be a tad uncomfortable – unlike most grey nomads, we’re just carrying a tent and an esky, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to the longish drives and the heat – but discomfort shouldn’t worry me. No, there are two sources of worry. Firstly, the notion of dodging pandemic lockdowns to get home afterwards fills me with exasperation. I even expressed to P the notion of abandoning ship now to head southward home and returning next year; thankfully her saner perspective held sway. More importantly, what is the point of a writing project revolving around fifteen species of birds, of which this trip will only encompass two? The prospect of travelling to catch the other thirteen species, in China, Bhutan, Nepal, Africa, USA, Northern Europe, and Japan … maybe I’m too old to countenance waiting out the pandemic to hit the road?
But of course the adventure is the fear, isn’t it? Inchoate terrors, glimpsed in the depths of the night, can only be a positive. I’m not ready to vegetate in suburbia.