Aaron led us underground into a cave and turned on the light. The ceiling was dotted with extinguishing glow worms, exposed, gone shy. Glow worms are not worms, he told us. Glow worms are the larvae of fungus gnats, he said. They are maggots rather than worms! Would anyone care about them if they were called fungus gnats? Would you even be here! A woman shook her head but the rest of us, even the boys who’d been loudly throwing each other onto the ground in the fern-lined car park half an hour earlier, just stood silent and wide-eyed near the cave’s Great Cathedral.Â
We followed Aaron up stairs and then more stairs, further into the hollowed-out mountain. Every so often heâ€™d stop and talk about the layers and layers of rock on rock that form the earth. But this is just one theory! He said adding a caveat. You are all welcome to your own opinions. It all comes from books, after all.
One of the rocks was blackened by smoke from an old bushfire. Another contained fossils of creatures from the depths of an ancient sea. Shutters clicked open and then closed in desperate search of light.
Aaron argued with a woman in her 40s about foxes. He talked about the contagious cancer that spread from cheek to cheek of the devils that terrorise the night. And then he turned off the lights Â and we stood in darkness as the larvae of the fungus gnats glowed blue like stars in a world turned inside out.
On the last day of the year, in perfect late afternoon light.
My favourite photos from 2014.
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The picture of the queen at the top of this blog was drawn for me by Irana Douer.
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