A Tiny Possum by My Bed: an extract from Into the Green Heart
Living alone in an isolated spot brings many unexpected joys.
One night, I awoke to an unfamiliar sound. Tucked tightly inside my mosquito net, I imagined myself to be safe when, in fact, the whole upstairs of the house was open.
It turned out to be a horse, running across the northern boundary of the property, neighing as it ran. It was such an unfamiliar sound.
Another night, breathing close to my ear awakened me…
10 April 1992
The bush vibrates with activity tonight, as the creatures I have learned to love go about their nocturnal routines. One, perhaps a possum or a spotted quoll, the marsupial cat, is finding a welcome drink from my dishwater. It knocks over the metal bucket and scurries off into the dry leaves, returning before long to nuzzle about in the bucket.
I marvel at the antics of these neighbours and imagine an underground storehouse where tiny jackboots are issued to any possums who choose to clomp on my iron roof as their midnight recreation.
Last night I awoke to find a baby brushtail possum, about the size of a kitten, hanging from the cypress pine cross beam an inch from my ear. In the half-light I could see a hairless tail and a grey striped coat.
He had tiny pink ears, a pink nose and whiskers. He scrutinised me closely with shiny black eyes.