Besides announcing writing contests and workshops, a reader reminded me that I said I’d write more about our trip to Australia. Remember to use your own life in writing too, if you are a student, a teacher, or a writer.
The most amazing experience on our trip that we had was on Phillip Island. Located Southeast of Melbourne and North of Tasmania, it’s the home of the famous Penguin Parade, where at dusk, hundreds upon hundreds of little penguins come out from the sea to bed down for the night in their on-land burrows.
People sit on bleachers on the beach while we wait for the small penguins to arrive. We’ve been told that penguins are creatures of habit. The first time they make their way from the water to their new burrow will be the path they use every single time from then on.
When the penguins come up from the sea, a few seagulls swoop down and scare them off. They chase them back to the water, but more penguins arrive, enough to make a mass statement against the gulls!
As the penguins waddle up the beach, several in a group, more and more clusters swim up from the sea. When they reach the bleachers, we observers quietly rise and walk behind our seats to a lighted board walk. There, we watch the penguins closely while they toddle up hill on the sand.
We’ve been prepped ahead of time by a ranger. Everyone whispers; no photography at all is taken to disturb their natural habitat. All we hear are the ocean waves and now the penguins talking with each other.
So how do penguins talk anyway? Chirp. Squeak. Mews. Donald-Duck-Quacks. A mixture of all of these sounds. And as they settle into their burrows, they can be heard in the hills. Dots of their white vests show throughout the blackness.
Penguin sounds. Ocean waves. Only whispers among us.
Darkness everywhere, with only lights from the fence illuminating the Penguin Parade, the experience feels spiritual. There is something special in the air and we all sense it.
As I look on in awe, I wonder if we sent warring beings here, would the world have a better chance for peace?
When it’s time for Bob and me to get back up the hill to meet the tour group at our van, we hike briskly in the same direction as the penguins on the board walk. They keep up to us, stride for wobble.
At the top of the hill, the ranger announces a penguin must cross over to the other side of the blacktop to his home. She moves us behind a painted white line and she lifts up a gate for the penguin who is patiently waiting his turn to cross.
With his quiet audience in place, he shuffles across and waits on the other side for the ranger to open this gate which she does. Next, she closes them both and people resume their own walks.
Two separate worlds. One understanding.
Writing Prompts: 1. Write about the best part a trip you took. It can be visiting a neighboring town, a trip to the park, or an overnight camping trip. What was that special moment for you?
2. Write about a moment that was special between you and another person. It could be you and a good friend, you and an animal, or you and a relative. What made it wonderful?
http://www.soundboard.com/sb/Penguin_Sounds_audio.aspx Penguin Sounds