Charlie Chaplin of the skies

When you are on the long open road, isn’t riding a motorcycle fantastic for noticing the quirky things along the way. All part of being on a bike bringing all your sense alive I guess. One of the reasons I loved riding in Australia was for this. This particular day, my mind was on the birds…

‘I dropped out of the range along the Flinders Highway into a land of dusty sidetracks, one-horse towns and vegetation that never really seemed to change. The scrubby trees, where there were any, were all the same height. Sometimes these sporadic trees would suddenly become the temporary resting places for flocks of brightly coloured parakeets or galahs.

Charlie Chaplin of the Skies
Charlie Chaplin of the Skies
The flocks of cockatoos were my favourites though. These birds, who seemed to be either black or white, were all comedians. Sometimes I saw them settle on electric or telephone wires, and when they did so it was rather like watching a bunch of circus clowns attempting to walk the high wire. They’d fall off, wings fluttering madly to great shrieks of pretend dismay until they had almost reached the ground, when they would miraculously recover and shoot up for another session of Charlie Chaplin-style walking the line.

The equally scrubby spindly bushes all seemed to be the same height too, and shade was at a premium. Their thin leaves didn’t offer much protection at all, and the soil only changed in shade of red where a slight amount of moisture remained in the early hours. I saw small birds sitting on the power lines, but only where they could sit in the shade of the isolators.

The New Edition of Under Asian Skies
The New Edition of Under Asian Skies
The road ran straight and hot, as the asphalt collected heat from a sun that hung in a cloudless sky. This sky is amazing. It’s an everlasting transparent electric blue and it hangs above desert lands that seem to have been stunned by the silence…’

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