Okay, I’ll fully admit that the title of this blog post is a blatant call-out to my family’s obsession with the old Cartoon Network show “Samurai Jack,” a story about a “foolish samurai warrior, wielding a magic sword,” who fights back against a “shapeshifting master of darkness” and is flung into a future of robot beetles and talking dogs, space travel and somehow completely unchanged Scottish castles. One episode (a family favorite) sees our hero, Samurai Jack (real name unknown), meeting a group of spherical blue monkeys who talk in sentence fragments and fight for survival against big purple gorillas… and have the power to soar into the air at will. They’re not flying, they inform the bewildered samurai. They have simply learned to “jump good.”
This is relevant for two reasons. Number one: Jack learns to “jump good” as well, training for days (weeks? Months? Cartoon time…) with giant boulders strapped to his body, so that when they are finally removed he can simply disregard gravity. I’ve done about a hundred pushups in the past few days, as the consequence of a house game in which the word spelled M-I-N-E is outlawed and its use results in ten pushups, and fully expect soon to be able to rise into the air on the tips of my fingers. Number two: I have finally, after a week of evening walkabouts through the nearby bush, seen my first kangaroos.
I went out on the red dirt roads with Cindy, as the sun drooped lower and lower toward the hills and the sea beyond. We spoke in soft voices and picked our way carefully around the loose rocks, two girls with cameras and a drive to get outside. The bush is still lovely, sprouting brown grasses that remind me of California and eucalyptus shrubs that release the scent of their oils into the dusk. With the angle of the sun, the little flowers low to the ground look like fairy mushrooms or gilded jellyfish.
And as twilight finally rose out of the shadows and swept across the sky, Cindy saw a twitch underneath a far-away shrub. We scrambled up a low hill and cut our legs on the sharp grasses, cursing in whispers and splitting up to minimize our profiles against the sky, and there they were.
They move fast, those roos, and much faster than we could go through the grasses and broken branches. I was so glad to have my 70-300mm lens (thanks Alicia!) but even then it was dark and they were wary. They do, as I wondered, totally make thumping noises as they bounce across the bush, and watching the group of three gray roos (two big and a smaller one) with my camera at my side I was happy even without photographic evidence. Little kangaroos in the little purple flowers, wide ears swiveling and noses twitching- I’d call that a successful walkabout experience. And boy, do they ever jump good.