Lo- It Is The Southern Cross


It’s always a pleasure to look up and see unfamiliar stars at night. We are located on a tropical island somewhere off the northern coast of Australia. So not only are we seeing Orion standing on his head, but dense swarms of enormous flying foxes darting through the trees.

There are artificial lagoons stocked with skates and rays and lazy bamboo sharks that are so tame that they’d have to think twice before chomping away at your ankles. It is also very hot, humid and rather sticky. Exactly what I wanted. Kaja and the experiments are not too crazy about that last bit. Kaja was designed for the fjords, and the experiments were born and bred in Seattle, where summer is more of a theoretical concept, and if the temperature gets above 78º, people start to melt.

It took too long to get here, and after we did, we were useless for pretty much the whole rest of the day, but we are now ready to sit around and write, when we are not busy tanning. Well…By ‘we’, I mean ‘Me’. Everyone else wants to do things, and I’ll admit that there are a large number of interesting things to do here, but I am determined to do nothing, or as damn near close to it as I can get. We shall see how well this holds up, though of course I will eschew sloth for the sake of science.

The first interesting discovery we made concerns our old friend, Himalayan Sweetbox, the shrub that we have planted around the place because it blooms in January. We detected its unmistakable odor and lo and behold, here it is- and blooming like crazy. This is fascinating. I had assumed that the plant came from somewhere near the Himalayas, and that it was blooming in January because it liked the cold. I am now forced to consider the idea that it blooms in January because it’s January, and at this time, all over the planet, there are Himalayan Sweetboxes blooming in arctic permafrost, tropical jungles, and everything in between. It certainly likes it here, the specimen we found was easily twelve feet tall and disgustingly healthy.