Setting The Scene

This is one of the first pieces I wrote for an assignment when I started my degree in 2015. Our task was to take an object and describe it. I chose a postcard I had received from a friend, and while the postcard has been fettered away with other keepsakes, I still have this piece.


The postcard is a riot of colour, a photograph displaying the beauty of a far off place. The body of water stretches across the photograph, the deep blue only showing through in patches, mostly covered by lily pads and other, less identifiable plants, which spread far and wide over the still water. Varying shades of green create a blanket of life; emerald fans bursting out of the water to sweep above the jade rafts of the lily pads. Baby-pink coloured flowers float on these gentle rafts, petals stretched upwards, reaching for the sky.
The water that peeks from beneath the viridescent cover hints at a deeper life.

However, the azure depths remain a mystery; content to reflect its surface inhabitants, a rippling mirror obscuring the secretive world below. One browning plant, droops over to rest its head against the cool glass sheet, the downturned head face to face with its own reflection.

Right in the centre of this picturesque scenery, is an elegant, white bird. Standing on tall, thin, black legs, the birds’ plump body trails up to a long, refined neck, topped by the delicate head. One sharp eye gazes gracefully from the side, showing off his tapered, yellow beak. His wings held close to himself, the bird stands statuesque in the water, allowing the tall plants to cast shadows over his far side, his front glowing bright, basking in the light.

Two bright pink flowers sit in the foreground, one either side, flanking the beautiful bird in the scene. A thin, green stem holds up the blooming head, the pink petals flared out in layers. Down in the centre where the petals coalesce, a dollop of yellow appears to glue the petals in their place. A third bloom, sister to the prominent figures, but no less magnificent, sits further back, to the right of the dignified white bird.

Weaving throughout the flowers and birds and vibrant greens, are thin strips of grass, sharp and spindly. More sombre than the surrounding brightness, a wearier brown creeps along their lengths, like the sickness of age. Yet they still splay out and spread like ribbons in the wind, adding a fullness to the picture. Filling up all the in-between spaces and angled every which way. Another unidentified plant stands out, once, twice and then several more times, so easy does it blend in to the surroundings. Not as delicate or as hued as the flowers neighbouring it but merely a head attached to a long stem, showing a collection of black dots standing out against the muted yellow face.

The bottom of the postcard, under the cacophony of colour is a strip of white, simply printed with black, typed words. “Egret”; a name for the main resident of the scene, the white bird holding court. “Top End Australia”; announcing which far off place in particular, this photograph takes place.


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