Rural and the abyss

It's been awhile, and still its the sheep that bring me here, and the cockatoos : their din is unholy, insistent, rowdy, their coupling behaviour a beauty to watch, as is their flight and the curving rise of each eponymous sulphur crest as they land on the ground or a tree branch.

'Species that feed on the ground are very vulnerable to predator attack. The cockatoo has evolved a behavioural adaptation to protect against this: whenever there is a flock on the ground, there is at least one high up in a tree (usually a dead tree), keeping guard. This is so well known that it has even entered Australian slang: a person keeping guard for sudden police raids on illegal gambling gatherings is referred to as a cockatoo or cocky for short.'

More on them later. Rural fencing is what has taken my research skills the last several days, and anxiety the last several weeks. I've just requested a price for a 200m roll of 2.5mm FarmFence™ wire, said to be the best in the trade. Meanwhile, there are videos to upload of the cockatoo flock, can i be bothered? Probably not. I long to do-have something more compelling to do, a writing project say that I MUST do each day to survive this hill of anxiety. I haven't visited the sheep, clearly I'm a crap shepherd. What's my resistence, embarrassment at 'my' stupidity? Snakes in the grass? Yes both of these and more problems to solve, the aim-better drive to solution. In the end what moves me is the horror of the image that appears: there lies a bag of bones and skin, or the second version, other (rumoured) sheep heavy with wool like the one found in the hills near Canberra.


lands at the food source in the verndah gutter. Small


gives spatial context to the ribs of grapevine at the top of the opposing hill. Such an

urban creature

am I: sure I grew up in the country, but in a house, an enclosed arrangement of boxes in an accumulation of other like boxes. It's not wilderness here, but the logic of it escapes me, it is wild. Something always pending, circling, threatening disaster. And the fire season has started. Surely erecting fences is what helps to allay the anxiety of an encroaching wild, penning and dividing and claiming a space fit for purpose.

'It's not that I'm afraid of becoming an animal, that would not be so bad, but a human never can be an animal, we rush past the animal in us, toward the abyss.'

— Marlen Haushofer, The Wall/Die Wand

'Rural and the abyss,' though it sounds like an 80's cover band 'rural abyss' with the adjective in correct position to the noun is a loaded gun and not at all what I'm after. Rural and the abyss is not any closer though at least it arrests the flow of information and signals that time is other than clock driven here.

rural adj.

early 15c., from Old French rural (14c.), from Latin ruralis "of thecountryside," from rus (genitive ruris) "open land, country," fromPIE *reue- "to open; space" (see room (n.)).

In early examples, there is usually little or no difference between the meanings of rural and rustic, but in later use the tendency is to employ rural when the idea of locality (country scenes, etc.) is prominent, and rustic when there is a suggestion of the more primitive qualities or manners naturally attaching to country life. [OED]