Contrary to popular belief, being an Australian doesn’t mean you have koalas and kangaroos hopping through your backyard.
Unless you’re us.
Then it does.
We live in a split-level house on a sloping block (or, as I like to say, vertical block because the most exciting thing to do on it is fall down it). So our veranda is level with the treetops. Which means, we’re about level with the koalas.
I’ve raced a koala to the top. (Him in the tree, me, not in the tree but on the stairs up to our veranda– as you hopefully would have figured by yourself.) And I won.
Actually, I was emptying the compost. Off with the fairies. Daydreaming about book characters, red gumboots, the nuisance of slipping down the hill, world domination — that sort of thing. Then I heard a rustle.
First thought: goanna!
(Ah, yes, we have them too. In our backyard. But seeing a goanna is slightly disturbing considering their long claws and their ability to move very fast, including up trees. Surprised that goannas climb trees? So was I until this year.)
It was climbing the tree, scratching up the bark, and didn’t look that happy to see me. We froze. Stared at each other. I might have reassured it that I came in peace and was only emptying the compost (but we won’t talk too much about my peace speech). Then I hightailed it out of there. The koala climbed. I ran up the stairs to our veranda, trying to be quiet, which is hard in floppy, garden-gumboots, flapping the compost bucket like I had wings. Poor koala. He probably had a nervous breakdown in the tree.
We admired our koala for a while, and kept checking on his progress through the tree. But he only stayed one day.
I have a sinking feeling that our meeting had something to do with it.
And also the fact that we roasted s’mores that night (considering it was the 4th of July and the American part of our house wanted to educated us). The koala probably questioned our sanity. Or ancestry. Or both.