The day finally stops. Dad’s taxi is parked in the garage – the almost not a teenager managed to miss the last bus of the night and faced a two hour walk home. “Time just disappeared.” I flashed a glance at his wrist – the watch we bought him is there. Oh well. I suppose I was never young.

There is no night traffic here. The silence stretches. In the day, there is intermittent construction. Somebody somewhere thought it a good idea that one of Sydney’s last little suburban green spots be nibbled at the edges. Houses are slowly being constructed in the gully, to await the next bushfire. I remind myself there is nothing I can do.

I lie down, and my ears adjust to the silence. I notice the call, and smile. A southern boo-book is doing its two-note thing. I relax, the call of the owl my lullaby. I have only seen it (or a relative of it) once, trying to pick up a too-big possum from the roadside, while a couple of my children stood with me at a respectful distance, urging it on.

It will call for hours. Tonight though, a surprise. In the distance, another voice. More chesty, more typical – the boom of a Powerful owl. Sleep comes easy to me, with the night time lullaby. Possums, rodents, white cockatoos are all nervous at the call of the predator, but they lull me. I am not hunted, after all. I just know there is world out there, not entirely of concrete and bitumen, carrying on its business without me, and I am grateful for it. Despite everything the day brings, my heart swells with thanks.


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