There was great excitement in The Bush. It was the summer solstice, by far the biggest day in the bush calendar, for it was the day of the Bush Ball. It was the day when all enmities were put aside and all living bush things, fauna and flora, come together to celebrate their luck in being born into the great Australian Bush.
What a range of creatures were in attendance. The biggest were the massive gumtrees, they were very popular because they provided homes and food for many of the other attendees. The smallest guests were hard to find. They were so tiny they could not be seen.
There was extra excitement this year. The Fairy Queen was coming down from Daylesford to be part of the celebration. In fact it was rumoured that she might bring her consort with her.
A huge amount of preparation had gone into making the Ball area as attractive as possible. Toadstools had been grown to form a fairy ring and contained thousands of different coloured pansies, petunias and daisies. Glow-worms were hanging from the trees and fire-flies flittered. However, they would not come into their own until darkness fell.
You may not be aware, that many bush creatures are very religious and so, for those inclined, the praying mantis conducted an ecumenical, open-air church service before the festivities began.
At precisely 4pm the massive crowd was entertained by a spectacular fly-past. Thousands and thousands of immaculately turned out insects and birds flew past bringing gasps from their earthbound co-celebrators. It was led by a squadron of dragonflies demonstrating incredible aerobatics then the beautiful sight of a multitude of brightly covered butterflies. A flight of tiger moths brought tears to the eyes of some of the older guests but the younger were all au-fait with the super hornets that brought up the rear. What a buzz they caused, not only from their wings but also among the crowd that was growing larger with every minute.
The Sun was now starting to dip in the sky. Darkness was approaching. Time to eat! What a spread was laid out. There were old-faithfuls like toad-in-the hole, fairy bread and, of course, fresh honey. However, many of the creatures were on very specific diets so food had to be specially brought in for them if it could not be sourced locally. Blinky Bill was a problem because he only eats a few types of gumleaf like manna gum. The ants were charged with the responsibility of clearing up the left-overs but some ants probably started the clean-up before every one had finished.
During the meal incidental music was played by the Lyre Birds accompanied very beautifully by the choir of humming birds. After they had finished, someone, unknown, belted out some great bush ballads on the ‘trusty old goanna’. ‘These contributions were appreciated by all although the kookaburra had a good laugh about it.
After dinner the evening entertainment began. The first performance came from Alvin and the Chipmunks. They had been brought in, at great expense, from the USA where Trump considered they were vermin. However they were warmly received and performed their old standard, ‘The Witch Doctor’.
To really bring the place alive the second act was Bee Bumble and the Stingers with ‘Nut Rocker’, their version of Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’. This was a real pollen-shaker.
It was intended to showcase the Ladybirds but a topless group may have upset many in what was rather straight-laced audience.
Buddy Holly may be dead but the Crickets certainly aren’t. What a noise they made simply by rubbing their legs together. However, many there thought their rendition of ‘Everyday’ was a bit scratchy.
Then the highlight act! The Beetles! Not the long-haired lads from Liverpool but our own home grown Aussie beetles. There were four beetle types represented in the quartet. There was a Christmas Beetle, an aptly named Fiddler Beetle, a Bombardier Beetle and a Green Ground Beetle. The looked very fine in their different coloured liveries. However, most of the crowd thought the Liverpudlians were better singers.
In between these items the audience was invited to dance. The rabbits demonstrated ‘the Bunny Hop’, Foxie Loxie taught the Foxtrot and a couple of bush turkeys led the way in the Turkey Trot. All present joined in to ‘Strip the Willow’ and all did ‘the Chicken Dance’.
Then came the prize for the best dressed at the Ball. The spruced-up eucalypt was good and so were the Dandy Lions. The carpet snake had shed his skin because he found it too constricting. He was ruled out as was the peacock because his dress was considered to be un-Australian. The Fir-Trees got the same treatment. In the end the prize went to Arum Lily because by then all the attendees were dead on their feet.
Dawn was starting to appear, the glow-worms and fire-flies had lost their brilliance and so all retired to their nests or burrows agreeing that it had been a great success. Bring on the next solstice!!!
Geoff – 9 March 2019
A fantasy piece written for the Probus Writing Group