Invasion Day and cause to celebrate

Up here, a mile above the Sydney basin, dawn arrives and another day of heat already embraces the air. I take my morning walk, only about forty minutes or so and which I do because it’s become essential to my health. Decades of smoking ‘roll your owns’ take their toll regardless of my ‘Salutes to the sun’ which help a great deal in terms of flexibility but can do little regarding a smoking addiction.

Unlike the coastal areas where many are out and about at dawn, here I see very few people. Some return a ‘Good morning’, others look wary. I’ve fed the birds – the magpies with their beautiful throaty song, beaks upraised to the sky, enjoy a bowl of oats mixed with water while the King Parrots and Eastern Rosellas love a handful of seed. Currawongs fix me with their yellow eyes and aren’t in a rush for food whereas the pigeons will demolish what’s given in a feeding frenzy. As for the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos – they are the vandals, the ‘bovver boys’ of the bird world. They push and shove and will happily eat a door jamb just to sharpen their beaks. I use a water pistol to discourage them but it’s of limited value. In and around these visitors come the Satin Bower birds, very shy and flighty and they go for the oats. An Asian and a Pacific Koel, recent visitors from Papua New Guinea, make their presence known, an exotic addition to an already exotic and colourful group. The behaviour of birds – the behaviour of people.

Yesterday was Australia Day, a public holiday, yet not everyone sees it as a day of celebration. “It’s Invasion Day” says my grandson and he’s quite right. It’s a matter of perspective.

There is a general agreement amongst most Australians that there should be a day in which we can all celebrate being Australian but our history is steeped in blood and the day in which Captain Cook arrived in Botany Bay is actually just the day he arrived – it doesn’t follow that it’s Australia Day, not when even my seven year old grandson can see that for the Aboriginal population it was the start of a bloody invasion. “You can’t change history” states our latest Prime Minister as if that statement somehow settles the issue. He’s the latest in a stream of well meaning but blinkered leaders with one eye on the public sentiment and the other on the next election.

Perspective … Google Earth has been a useful tool for me. A group of us spent time over the last few years planting various native shrubs along an area of our local park which has been overgrown with honeysuckle and other noxious weeds. Yes – Honeysuckle is quite lovely but, like Privet, Ivy, Blackberry, Holly and other introduced species, it takes off and strangles local plants. It’s the vegetation version of ‘Invasion Day’ – only kidding but there are parallels.

Google Earth has a time slider tool which allowed me to go back and forth in time and save some images which then illustrate the changes we’ve made. Very useful.

There are others who’ve made great use of Google Earth to explore places like Antarctica. ‘Florida Maquis’ makes great use of the time slider tool when exposing much of Antarctica which would otherwise remain hidden. He also discovered that just looking from above doesn’t reveal what can be seen from an oblique angle. If it were just snow and mountains that Google Earth shows then it would be of little interest to me but Antarctica has been much in the news – at least via the internet – in the last few years with a steady stream of politicians, church leaders, astronauts and even royalty visiting and penguins seem a poor reason for such travel.

UFO’s and alien life have always been of interest to me and witnessing one at close quarters was just ‘the icing on the cake’ – it’s not something you forget. The idea and the evidence which show that civilisations existed here on Earth previous to that which our generally accepted education teaches goes ‘hand in hand’ with that interest in the UFO world. I don’t see either subject as cause for mirth or automatic rejection regardless of the tittering of our news outlets when the subject arises.

Of course alien technology would be a subject which any government would go to great lengths to conceal and when it comes to why aliens don’t just land on the White House lawn – many reasons not least among them that we’re just not that interesting.