Wandering Thoughts

November 4, 2018


Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 11:23 am

I don’t know what made them sprout. But they tore up the earth, shooting up. Imagine bamboo shoots taking hold in your garden. They grew around craters. Holes in land that had once been home to something else. Something so non-descript it was easier to remember the crater than the thing it had replaced.

It can’t have been the rain. There’d been a drought for most of the year. Economic geography, I wondered. Agglomeration. I asked around. No one seemed interested. One of my friends said, ‘I think they’ve changed a by-law, or something’.

No one can tell me why, but Canberra’s garden of frumpy, mercifully-short buildings, has become infested with cranes. As if one wandered in on the west wind, liked what it found, and radioed back to its relatives.

I really can’t remember what the cranes replaced. Which says something. There’s nothing beautiful about Canberra’s buildings – except they are easy to overlook. It would be a prettier city if it was sprinkled with towering spires. But it could be worse. The buildings don’t tower at all, which makes the sky, hills and trees easy to find.

The cranes are pretty in their way. Flags fly off them in the weekend. When they move on weekdays, gliding round their arcs, they have a soft grace. But there are so many. What’s coming in their wake? Maybe similarly low unobtrusive buildings, sculpted in contemporary styles? I doubt it. Canberra’s becoming a city, with suburbs that sprawl further and further to the North and South West. And so up it grows too.

Years ago I complained about how quiet Canberra was. People talk of bad old days when it was a hardship posting for civil servants. But can you imagine it choking on traffic jams? Or cut off from the hills by towering apartment complexes?

For now, there’s just cranes, all over the skyline, having sprouted in a sudden, looking pretty in their way, as Sunday’s west wind sets their flags fluttering like leaves.

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