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I am fortunate to live on the edge of a coastal Nature Reserve with an endlessly long beach walk at my doorstep. The place teams with life and I always find something fascinating to study, like this crab, who unlike his fellow crabs that scuttled away as soon as they felt the vibration of my approach, stood very still in the age old attitude of an emu with its head in the sand. He made a very considerate model.
Many of the public gardens, historic houses, or Buddhist temples I visited in China, had lovely water features. There is something about the sound, sight and presence of water in a green landscape that speaks a universal language, evoking in us all a certain charm and heightened sense of relaxation. The Chinese gardens I visited often had large scale lakes full of families cruising around on paddle boats, lagoons filled with water lilies, bulrushes and turtles, and hidden places criss-crossed with narrow but quick flowing streams complete with weeping willows and hungry koi.
Whatever the configuration the Chinese people love their gardens and they are well frequented in the day and late into the night. One reason is that many Chinese live in dense housing situations and really value going ‘outside’. Here families can connect with nature, dance together, practice tai chi, play games, enjoy traditional music and gossip.
While volunteering as an ESL teacher at Ronggui in Guangdong Province I stayed in a small apartment in a 25 storey high rise, surrounded on all sides by other 25 storey high rise apartment blocks.
The blocks were interspersed with gardens and every night the sound of music, children and laughter floated up to my rooms as the apartment dwellers flocked outside.
The Chinese people I came in contact with worked long hours (though the pace was slower than at home and there is a long break in the middle of the day) but many of them work 6 days a week so the evenings are often their social and family times. In a crowded city with hectic traffic, air pollution and concrete skylines, it is easy to appreciate why sitting under a tree, mucking about in a paddleboat, or simply watching koi slide past, are valued pastimes.
One of a teeming hoard of small crabs living in the mangroves at Urunga on the NSW north coast. When the tide is low these little guys (about an inch in body) in a rainbow of colours can be seen scuttling about and ducking up out of a carpet of holes in the mud.
As the tide turns the health of the ocean on the south coast of NSW … not far from the Victorian border … is evident in the abundant fish nursery skimming across the sand flat in the remaining inches of seawater.
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On holidays on the Sunshine Coast QLD Australia. Captured this sawfish lying on the top of an underwater walkway at Underwater World Sea Life Mooloolaba. Sawfish eat crustaceans, molluscs and fish and grow up to 310 cm long. They live in coastal and estuarine areas of tropical Australia and are currently classed as critically endangered.