Hello possums


A lot of media coverage last week was devoted to the subject of home invasions by a gang of car thieves. While the thought of waking to find that someone had been in your home is terrifying, I must admit to existing in a smug ‘green’ bubble. It is highly unlikely that fans of Grand Theft Auto will venture to the hills outside of Melbourne in search of their latest luxury car.

So it was with a mixture of concern and bewilderment that I woke last week to find evidence that my kitchen had indeed been invaded. Smashed vases, bottles on the floor and half eaten fruit greeted me as I flicked on the light. After quickly checking that I was alone, I pondered the mess in front of me. Then, like many mothers the world over, I blamed my son, assuming he had stumbled home from his late shift at work and somehow created havoc.

Later that day, my son sent me undeniable proof that he was innocent, having caught the culprit red-handed.


When we decided many years ago to raise our family in the Yarra Ranges, we were aware of the pitfalls. A longer than usual commute to the city, the ever present danger of summer bushfires and a perception from city-dwellers that we spend our weekends whittling or playing banjos was balanced with the sense of community and the natural environment. I still love returning home from the suburbs (or flatlands) to the winding roads, towering gums and – at this time of year – the amazing colours of autumn.

Concern for the environment is never far from decision making in the hills. It is why many of the residents choose to live there. The surrounds inspire local artists, musicians – even chefs – to create and preserve our natural wonder. But just how far should this communing with nature go?

Many years ago, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki described his joy at sharing an apple with a worm. He spoke of consumer demand for perfection and how the lack of any blemishes in fruit means it is no longer actually healthy. The presence of a worm was proof the apple hadn’t been poisoned with pesticides.

The possum encounter has made us appreciate how lucky we are to live so close to nature. Hopefully our children and grandchildren will understand the importance of protecting our environment for future generations.

In the meantime, we organised a stake-out to determine the possum-point-of-entry. From now on the dog-door – which clearly my dog doesn’t need, apparently she sleeps very soundly all night – remains shut at night. Because, while I agree with the sentiment that we must be prepared to share with nature, I have decided to draw the line at sharing my apples with possums.


Pic and video by Rick Bennett

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