Death of a snake Linocut Lynette M Arden
Death of a snake.
Linocut: Lynette M. Arden

School is next door to us because we live in the school residence. It has two rooms. My desk is in the little room. This is the same size but is for the infants. I sit on the side near the windows because the youngest children sit there. When you get older you move into the next row until you get into the big room where my father is.

Outside the window the playground is covered with grass and paspalum and bindii and grey sand. There are gum trees in the centre, which have sand under them and winding roots. The trees flower pale cream and their bark flakes off and the ragged leaves tear off in the wind. Once after a gale we found that water had blown through the enclosed windows and the varnish was off the desks nearest to the window. My father said it must be the acid in the leaves.

On the right hand edge of the playground are she-oaks, which have spiky needles. Outside the playground on the track there is a little camphor laurel tree. When you crush the leaves they smell of camphor.

The back fence has bars so you can sit on it. When my father kills a snake we all sit on it to watch the dead snake. Some of the children say the snake never dies till the sun goes down so we donít go near it. It looks dead, all mangled. Black snakes are poisonous but death adders are more poisonous. The children say that death adders have a hook at the end of their tail so they can hook it into you to get a grip so they can swing round and bite you. They say one used to live down the bottom of our front garden before we came there. I have never seen one.

          Before we go into school some of the children stick their chewing gum outside so they can get it later off the edges of the doors or sometimes they stick it under the desks. These desks have lids you lift up to get your books out and a hole for an inkwell in the top right hand corner and a slot for your pens. When you are older you can have an inkwell and take a turn to mix the ink for the inkwells. Some of the children drink the ink and my father makes them have their mouths washed out with soap and water.

In summer we wear bare feet to school but in the winter my mother makes us wear shoes and socks. I have a special track from our gate to the school door (we have a side gate into the ground). It isnít really a track but just goes round all the bindii so you can leap from one spot to another without getting them in your feet. Some of the children wear bare feet all year. It is good to have feet that are very tough on the soles so you can walk along the gravel roads.

My mother doesnít have very hard soles on her feet.


All art work and written material on the site remain Copyright of the author:
Lynette M. Arden 2002 - 2003