A branch snapped underneath my foot and my leg slid down the side of the tree, scraping away a patch of skin on my knee before I could catch myself.
Oh, right, I mused to myself through the pain and the swearing. That’s why adults don’t climb trees.
Eventually, I made it to the top of the canopy, standing up with my property spread out below me. A cool breeze drifted across from the ocean, and I closed my eyes as it basked my face, even as the sting of the salt lanced across my knee.
A loud noise interrupted my serenity, and I twisted around with a frown.
‘What in the world…’
A huge bulldozer was dragging itself to the top of a cliff a little ways down the coast, engine straining against the incline. I pulled my birding binoculars from around my neck and dialled in on the name.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but sure enough, the foundations were being laid. I quickly scurried down the tree – knees intact – and ran to my car.
‘See any interesting birds?’ my wife asked dryly, without looking up from her phone.
‘Builders!’ I squawked, flapping my arms. ‘On the Henderson cliff!’
‘Builders?’ she looked up from her phone, frowning. ‘What kind of builders?’
‘What do you mean “what kind of builders”? The ones who are going to ruin the golden eel-swallow’s nesting grounds, that’s what kind of builders!’
‘Oh,’ she returned to her phone, all interest drained from her face. ‘Gotcha.’
‘Why aren’t you as outraged as I am?’
‘Because I prefer pretty houses and rich neighbours to stupid birds,’ she said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. ‘I wonder who they’ll be? It’d be nice to get a good architect around the Mornington Peninsula, for once.’
I was in shock. Flabbergasted. Stupid birds?!
‘Why do you look like you’re having a stroke?’ she asked. ‘Are you having a stroke?’