Since a truck cut across my safety, I have lived in divans and beds. That rock-hard pallet augmented with the chill of cotton blankets; my bunk at home, back raised using an upturned chair. A friends’ recliner where I settled in its softness like a nest; the armchair padded with pillows with a stool to rest my feet. None has eased discomfort. I have been cloistered for too long missing the company of friends and the Bush to sing her songs; step by step, trudge up the hill until I reach the summit. There is my other chair wedged between three eucalypts for heavy-laden hikers by a carpenter who understood that trees came into being long before us. I do not need the comfort of armchairs and cushions. Lingering here is the blessed scent of petrichor, filling famished lungs. Rooting my feet in the earth, back against hard bark I become one with this vibrant soundscape, listening to bustling birds calling through a symphony of leaves and my pain flies off screeching with a mob of cockatoos.
Contextual Essay: After a motor vehicle accident I missed daily walks in the bush and connection with natural life. Many weeks passed before I was able to reach the summit of our hill, where a thoughtful person has built a bench between three gum trees. It’s still a struggle but sitting there in the natural surroundings is bush therapy at its best.
Hazel Hall is a widely published Canberra poet and musicologist. Her recent collections include Step By Step: Tai Chi Meditations (Picaro Poets 2018), Moonlight over the Siding (Interactive Press 2019), Severed Web (Picaro Poets 2020) and a verse play for radio Please Add Your Signature and Date it Here (Litoria Press 2021). Hazel’s collection A Hint of Rosemary is forthcoming. She has been invited to judge several international competitions. From 2018-2022 Hazel coordinated Poetry at Manning Clark House in Canberra, ACT.