Tomorrow, in English, I’ll tell three stories: one about a crab, one about a cow and one about a frog.
If you drive north from Adelaide and turn left after an hour or so, you’ll find beaches with shallow water. You can walk out for miles, raking the sand for crabs. My father would take us crabbing. We’d stop just as I was getting used to it, and hike back to the land. Sometimes we’d cook them on an open fire, right there, watching blue claws turn red.
I love walking. Recently I walked from Ballarat to Daylesford. Sometimes I was in the forest but sometimes I’d be among farms with their sheep and cattle. One herd of cows found me very interesting, and trailed me from inside their paddock, stretching back in a line against the fence. When they reached the edge of their paddock they stood together, watching my body diminishing along the road.
I once lived in Bangladesh for a few months, in a monastery. Someone said: “do you have the moon in Australia?” I felt very far from home. Thankfully there was a room in the compound with a computer at which I could read messages from my family and friends. But to reach it I had to cross a verandah dotted with frogs. I stepped very carefully among them. One of the monks was not so careful – he just swept them aside with the edge of his sandal. Now whenever I hear a frog I picture his foot.
Now, take a piece of paper and write me a letter about an animal. One you’ve seen, or one you remember. You can choose one of these animals or one of your own.