The Road to Derbyshire Manor
In Tasmania’s temperate north-east, a road worships monolith bales
And a mountain of stone, on the way to the world’s great trails.
A zephyr caresses, as you quiet yourself for the dream
Of those mountain bike trails of Derbyshire, where the riders flow like the stream...
At Derbyshire Manor – melythina tiakana warrana* – the heart;
Where a peaceful sleep will be yours tonight, by day the mountain bikes dart...
To the myth: a giant rainbow trout sleeps... Families of platypus quiver
At the morning mist of your thoughts along the Ringarooma River.
Eat the mountain at breakfast time! Pancakes, honey and cream.
Pour a hot coffee... Ponder the sound of a black currawong’s keen...
For our guests, the dry-stone walls are a temple, built by father and son. Look
In wonder, through any window you choose... Walk these steps, an open book...
There are roses, fox gloves, fuchsias and lupins – for day-lily eyes, rubbed open;
The fruit trees are plump with peaches and plums – the flesh of morning, awoken.
What do you hear? That’s called silence. Of the stringy-barks, it won’t be long
‘Till you’re peddling past the ghost of a bullocky, to the earth-beat of the mountain bikes’ song.
Climb-up; rouse the early morning straggler; set your wheel to the cobble-stones, neat:
A sprint, or one long, yawning wheel-stand, along Derbyshire’s main street...
This is the Trail Of The Tin Dragon, where our Chinese townsfolk of tin
Rode horse-and-cart – as if beside you, now – neighbour, and kin.
Back when each day dragged a lengthened chain – the time between dawn and dusk, wide –
Derbyshire, a wild wheel of pubs... But first, a map of trails you shall ride...
And when your crank-it heart is full, at the end of the day on these trails,
Perhaps you’ll adjourn for a micro-brew – or two – and hear from the locals, the tales
Of life in the north-east, at Derbyshire, in the town where our old-timers know –
Life is a precious, fertile land: you reap what you sew...
For a trip to this town is a nourishment, and a trail to a life that is new;
Yet, set in the old ways, of the humble: who knows, the trail may find you.
Now is your moment to shine... So let your worries fly away with the hawk...
In the forest of your mind, sit high above the mountain bike fork...
In perfect flow, kiss your loved ones; raise your mountain bike to the sky...
Heed these words: *’Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by....’
1. Derbyshire’s giant rainbow trout is a natural rock formation, the hand-painted rainbow of colours bringing the myth to life.
2. Flow – Trail nirvana: a feeling where one obstacle melds perfectly into the next. Every mountain biker seeks flow; and she knows when she has found it.
3. Melythina tiakana warrana means ‘heart of country’ in local aboriginal language. Members of the local organization of the same name, Melythina Tiakana Warrana, are direct descendants of the aboriginal ancestors from the country of tebrakuna, known as the region of north-east Tasmania. (http://mtwac.org.au/)
4. Black currawongs are found only in Tasmania and on the Bass Strait islands. These birds live mainly in sub-alpine forest and woodland, sometimes moving to lower ground during winter. A mostly black bird, with intense yellow eyes, and a heavy, all-black beak with a hooked tip. The feet are black. The feathers at the ends of wings have small white tips. Tail feathers have a white tip, in common with other currawong species. The black currawong reaches 47 to 49 centimetres in length. Males and females are similar. Immature birds are duller in colour, with a yellow gape, and darker eyes. Black currawongs live in pairs, in family parties, and in winter flocks to one-hundred-plus birds. They spend much time feeding on the ground, even wading in shallow water, and probing seaweed on beaches. Their diet includes carrion, insects, berries and small vertebrates. These birds forage in branches, bark and foliage. Black currawongs breed from August to December. The nest is a bulky cup of sticks placed high in a forest tree. Two to four eggs are laid; oval, about 40 mm by 29 mm, pale grey-brown, blotched with red-brown and purple.
A black currawong in full song: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEDmvni5yTk
5. Grey goshawks are large, pure-white raptors, up to fifty-five centimetres long, with a wingspan of up to one-hundred centimetres. The grey goshawk is an endangered species, with the present population estimated at less than one-hundred breeding pairs in Tasmania.
6. * From the poem, The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost, 1916.
Author : Tim Slade
Derby, TAS, Australia