Weather: Overcast, smoky. Cold and blowy at Mt Loch.
Snake count to date 5
Smells: Smoke hits the nostrils first thing; the air is full of it; controlled burns in lower Mt Beauty and Harrietville. Animals: Serious blowflies on Razorback Ridge. Activities: I drive through Harrietville to Hotham in an attempt to walk to Mt Loch through Derrick Col, but the visibility is pretty bad due to the smoke, so I start down the Razorback for a couple of hours before turning back. This part of the world was so familiar to me as a child: I am shocked by how little I remember.
I visit University Ski Club lodge, where I spent many winters playing ‘Spit’ and ‘Cheat’ card games, eating tomato soup, and catching the tiny pygmy possums as they ventured out from behind the oven each night (this population of mountain pygmy possum had previously been considered extinct). We would tempt them with bits of bread slathered in lard, and grab them by their curly tails. They would sit happily on your hand, munching bread and getting fat in their whiskers, their tiny paws gripping your fingers and their large eyes bright and black.
I look in the lower windows of the lodge to see if I can see the storeroom, which in the 70s was dusty, powdery and full of treasures from the real old mountain days: preserved eggs (what are they anyway?), old cans of Bartlett pears, tins of sweetened condensed milk. The food was kept on wooden shelves protected by wire mesh. As I look now I can’t see anything; it seems as though it’s been refurbished.
Nothing ever stays the same. Childhood is a different universe. Everything shifts and droops and breaks down and is rebuilt into unrecognisable things.Bold text