MOONLIGHT ON THE NEPEAN
(By R. Payne-Scott, P.D.S.)
. As tlio sun sot over tlio weir I lay on tlio vordant turf meditating. I hnd been tliero sinco early morn, and was tirod of climbing over rocks and boulders to pick the flowers tliat grow in their wild splendour there. Thoy were by my sido then in an old tin full of crystal clear water. I bent ovor and plucked a blue-boll. It was nzuro. So was tlio sky. In its heart was a golden star, tho sun of tlio world. In tho south Vonus shono, seeking to surpass in glory oven tho sun. This is but n small flowor, a flower unnoticed by tlio world in its daily round. It is a replica of tlio sky, that, wonderful heavenly power which is so often forgotten in tlio ex citement of other things. It is only when one is lonely that it is remem bered, but who knows what it may do, what, an influence it may liavo, in
even that short time.
As I moved a bough brushed against my face, and, raising my hand, I found mysolf in possession of a branch of orange-blossom,, that puro white flow or with which wo crown our brides, It is like unto tho clouds which crown tho fairest head of all, that of tlio Quoon of tho Sky.
But tho clouds wero all on firo and woro changing color. Those nearost to tlio sun wore golden, and t.lioso fur ther away pink. Tho sky neemod as a sea on which many-tinted boats, somo larger than others, woro sail ing to no apparent dostiny. A broozo from tho south caught one of them as it sped along and dashed1 it against a larger ono. Tlio two meltod to
gotlier, forming ono solid mass of' gold. Thon all was pcaco. Tho odgos of tho clouds bocamo purplo, and tho glorious picturos shown in those dark frames bocamo moro gorgeous tlmu ovor. What a gorgeous spectacle this was, yot how many really npprociato it. Poets liavo told us of the beau tiful scenery in far-off countries, and wo liavo longed for a sight of it. Mon hnvc travelled hundreds of miles to soo it. Yot lioro is this beautiful picturo at our door for those who will' to seo.
All too soon tlio sky grow dark. Tho clouds lost thoir glory, and apponred as darkened masses against tho darker sky. I hold a violet up. It wasdark, nearly as dark as tho sky, but in tho centro was a bright star-shedding glory on tho darkness. It was tho sam'o with tlio sky.
Tho new-born moon roso slowly ovor tho tall Bluo Mountains, which "stood like sentinels gunrding all" (Marion Miller1), and was surrounded by a halo of shining glory, as if to protect it from all harm. A fow nights boforo "it was full, and tho birds woro all singing in a heavenly clioir. Now nil was silence except for tlio occasional hoot of an owl. I wonder if they love tho full moon, nnd chooso that night above all others for thoir fostivals.
As I watched tho flrHt star appearod, and then n host of othors, It soemod as if tho first peeped out to soo if tho day hnd gone, and then camo with its comrades to brighten tho dark night. Tho tall bluo gums throw dark shadows on tlio rippling wat.or, and through thoir foliage tho rays of tho moon gloamod on tho rivor. It ran in a silver winding stream dotted horo and thoro by little islands, against which tho rippling waves rushed and darted back again surmounted by white, frothing foam. I dippod my hand into tho flowing stream, and, with it half full of tho glittering liquid, started in amazement. , Tho moon hnd lit it with silver rays,' and in my hand I hold a star in all but shape. I moved my hand in surpriso, and tho silvery thing slipped from it .ah" flilontly as it camo and dropped
into the ever-moving torrent. . Q-ono was that temporary vision, but I felt as if I woro nearer to the stars, nearer, to another world.
I stnrod into the deop river, and, as I lost my Burpriso, fell to watching tho many-colored fish slide gr'acofully ovor tho weir. I lit my lantern to obtain a hotter viow, but they shrank away from tho flickering light. Thoy woro usod to tho steady light of tho sun and tho moon. I wonder tliey are not afraid of man. Perhaps it is be
cause they fool that thoy have but,v to dart down to tho deop, cool doptlis of tlio rivor to bo safe from all dan ger from him.
I loft tho rivor-sido and glanced around me. A sharp whistle soundod through tho cloar moonlight air, and then I saw a flash of light, and, with a rumbling and roaring, all was gono. Tho tliin not-work of steel Was thoro, unshaken, but tho train, for sucli it was, lmd passed on.
"There's tho bluo wren's shining'
For my lapiB-laznli, ' Thoro's tho flash of living emeralds,
Busy greon 'keets flying by."
I thought of Molly McNutt's words that night, only in a slightly differ ent senso. Tho bush is tho treasure house of Nature. The sun represents
gold and the moon silver. Tho flowors I and the birds are tho brightest of
jewels. Tho sky and the earth form i
the box in which all ia contained. . The olear, eryital water it the key to .
nil, for -without it everything would die, oven ourBolvos. This troasuro houso is opon to nil. Yot lio-w many* have over soon it, over rovollod in its glories; and yot how ninny moro liavo killed tho birds and pulled tho flow ers, to leave them lying on tho ground to withor and die. This treasure house, is not built of jowols for van ity. It in a place to love and caro for, and we should all.bo proud of our bushlnnd. Tho Nopoan district has some of tho most beautiful scenery in Australia, including tho Nepean River, tho tributary of tho mighty Hawkosbary,
I hoard a sound of splashing in tho distance, and, wandering along the banks a fow paces saw the water running over a bouldor and forming a miniature waterfall. Thore was a clearing amongst tho trees, and I gat hered some sticks and lit a flre. Tho light served the better to Teveal wlint would servo as my bedroom. It was oblong in shape, and tho close green turf was carpetod with fallen leaves. I mado some cocoa, and, af ter quaffing it, rolled up my blanket and prepared for sleop. But aleop would not come. I lay awake for hours watching a passing breeze. blow tho loaves in my chamber about. They seemed as fairy-nymphs dancing in that tiny crescent, tho now-born moon, which was shining overhead!. At}
last, however, tho splash of the water fall and tho dismal wnil of themopoke lulled mo to sleep.