|Elizabeth Smith writes . . .
When I was a very little girl I often made my mother cross by going off exploring. Now, exploring is alright at home in your own backyard, but it is very worrying to a mother when a little girl goes exploring the streets and vacant blocks and stays away from home for hours! That was probably when I started my story-telling because that was when I had to explain to Mum where I had gone and why. I could cheat, I suppose, and say it was her fault and everyone else’s who had read me stories, told me stories and taught me about explorers. I thought they were telling me that an ‘enquiring mind’ was a good thing.
Before I could read, Mum read me The Wind in the Willows and the story of the Elephant’s Child who wandered through the jungle asking ‘What does the crocodile have for dinner?’ The Wild Wood from The Wind in the Willows and the Elephant Child and his question have stayed with me throughout my life. A good exploration and a good story are what I really like.
Some of the other things I like are the bush, the sea, animals, words, wood and music.
There is not as much bush about now as there was when I was little, but I wander in what there is whenever I can and I try to give one morning a week to help clean up a piece of local bush called Mount Gibralter. I feel very pleased with myself after I have picked up the garbage (why do people dump garbage in the bush?) and pulled up the weeds, to see the ferns and wildflowers come back and hear parrots squabbling over nesting holes in the trees above us.
I had a period of playing flamenco guitar once, but mostly I do my music the old-fashioned way. I play ‘classical’ on the piano (some of Sea Bird was written when I had a Bach prelude singing in my head).
Not many people are lucky enough to see, touch or have anything to do with our native animals. I have one piece of good luck in that I do voluntary work at the Bargo Dingo Sanctuary. There I do gardening and help to take care of the dingoes. The photo shows me sharing a joke with Mulgo, my special dingo. He is about six years old and has been my friend since he was a lonely ‘only’ puppy with a dark red coat. When it comes to food he has terrible manners, but the rest of the time he’s lovely to know.