She sits at the edge of a grove of young ti trees. Grey and still. Looking at me expectantly as I lift my eyes from my breakfast.
I put down my cutlery, take down the container of bird seed from the shelf, grab my phone and cautiously slide open the glass doors. She is still there.
I sat on the chair, opened the container and held out a handful of seeds towards her. She confidently grabbed my hand with her paw while nuzzling my palm and scooping out the seeds with her tongue. As she pulled her head away to chew I noticed a joey’s head poking out of her pouch.
I take a few quick photos as I feed her, worried that she will bound away at any minute.
|Mine, all mine!|
When she is on her third handful, I see more grey shadows bounding across the clearing towards the ti tree ouside my cabin. First one, then three, then another four or five. Most hang back at the tree line, only another two or three move slowly towards me. Quickly grabbing another handful of seeds, I soon have two grey heads gently picking seed out of my hands.
I am struck by their gentleness. Obviously these are wild creatures, but, also obviously, quite used to the humans that obediently come out of their strange shelters with offerings of food.
The strength of the tails and back legs is apparent as they bound across any distance and even as they slowly push themselves towards me.
I am somewhat wary of them as they advace on me en masse, but this is quickly dispelled by the gentleness of their lips, teeth and tounges on my hand.
Four of them gather around me, while the big boss of the mob hangs back and eyes me warily. As I dip into my seed box and try to feed all those around me, he lowers himself to the ground and sprawls on his side, looking for all intents and purposes like a roman emperor. Those that hang back with him, arrange themselves near and around him and soon the whole lot are lounging away. Watching.
|The mob boss was watching me very closely|
I am surrounded by kangaroos. I watch the beautiful grey heads of those I am feeding. I see the sharp, strong claws protruding from their paws, wet with dew.
I see the joey poke his head out occasionally, but am not able to touch him. The others let me pat them and I stroke the coarse/soft fur on their necks and backs. They’re not very keen on that, but obviously are willing to put up with it in exchange for free food.
The seed runs out. I pack up and retreat inside.
The mob continues to hunt around for stray seeds left on the table and bricks, then moves back towards the trees and lies down.
I finish my breakfast, now cold, but I don’t care. I look out my window and there they are. The whole glorious, relaxed mob of them.
When I bring out my big camera they are still there. I take lots of photos. I take some more with my phone and share them with the internets.
I keep taking photos. I see the joey’s legs protruding from his mother’s pouch and photograph that, too. I bemoan not having a better tele-photo lens.
|What’s this then?|
There is an older joey, nearly the size of the females, demanding a feed from his mother. She doesn’t seem impressed, but stands there looking bemused as he sticks his head into her pouch for a feed. Now that’s extreme breastfeeding! There is nobody here telling them that he/she is too old.
They are still out there. I feel relaxed, warm and fuzzy inside. This little encounter with wild life reminds me that I haven’t hand fed wild kanaroos in over twenty years. A time when I was happy and care-free. The ones I fed then were aggressive, unlike these ones.
|That kangaroo tried to kick me. 1987.|
|A lesson in relaxation|
This is so simple. Just silence and good food and the wild outside my door. I remember feeling like this a long time ago. Then, as now, I knew I didn’t need anything else.