Tuesday, January 23, 2007


In the mainlawns, now largely bald and dusty from a rainless winter, tucked in a corner there is small tree. Twisted a little, like something from an oriental painting. On its thickened branches are encrusted these flowers, fleshy, red and odourless. A little lustrous, reminding me of coral. I have no name for them. I'm a poor botanist and then this place is replete with exotics. (The truth be told many of the names we know, most of us, belong to exotics; Gulmohar, Trumpet flower, Poinsettia.)
They bloom and the air around them is thick with insects, and the cries of small birds. I didn't know that Tailor birds are nectarivores, or that White-eyes are. Barbets I had already learned are catholic in their diet. I've watched them bring as many termites and large mantises to their chicks as they have brought figs. Our classifications of the diets of many things are largely mythology I think and many birds will attempt rather unkosher things in the lean seasons or when they are harried by young.

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