The Southern brown bandicoot is a small marsupial that could be easily mistaken for a rat. They are similar in size, shape and colour, but have just enough of that typical marsupial cuteness about them to know that they aren’t a rat. It’s nose is a little longer and narrower and its ears a little smaller and rounder. These little guys are an endangered species. Living close to the border of the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens and national parkland, I am lucky enough to have them live in my area. The added bonus to living near these guys… no cats are allowed in my estate! You bloody ripper! (sorry not sorry to all cat lovers, they just aren’t my jam)

I spotted one of these little bandicoots yesterday while walking my dog Havah through our estate. It scurried under a parked car and bolted off into the nearby bushland and local golf course, towards a big troop of kangaroos. I know, bandicoots AND kangaroos in one hit, lucky right!

It is only the second time I have ever seen one out in the wild. Both times I have come across one of these cute little critters they have completely stopped me in my tracks. Not physically, as a glimpse of one of these lasts no more than a mere 6 seconds, it is impossible to follow them for a further peek as they race off and hide under shrubs or long grass. I stop for those 6 seconds physically, but I also stop myself mentally, for much longer. Probably for the rest of my walk.

Both times I have seen a Southern brown bandicoot I am instantly reminded of their rarity. There aren’t many around and they may not be here forever. Knowing this, knowing how special they are, how fragile they and their habitat is, it reminds me to be more present. To be still more often. To be more mindful of this bloody beautiful world around me. To be reminded that I am not the centre of the universe. To appreciate all the small things and the natural beauties in this world that we so quickly take for granted.

How lucky are we!? To exist right now, in a world full of such beauty. Oceans and valleys and trees and mushrooms and bees and bandicoots. All of this crazy strange shit somehow exists and we are lucky enough to be here to experience all of it.

We get to see sunrises and sunsets.

We get to smell freshly cut grass.

We get the powers to create life.

We get to walk, talk, laugh and cry.

We get to go to sleep, recharge, wake up, and experience it all again.

We often throw the phrase ‘stop and smell the roses’ around at other people. But are you actually doing it? Do you stop? Do you smell, look around, listen, take it all in, mentally photograph this moment and remind yourself of your good fortune? Your fortune for being lucky enough to exist? Or are you already onto the next thing? Or worrying about the future unknown, or the things out of your control, or “needing” more money, or not having what someone else has, or not being as good as someone else at something?

Beyond all the doom and gloom and uncertainty of your mind is a near endless world of fucking amazing things. Far more amazing things than the gloomy things. Amazing things that are far more joy bringing and far more accessible than the things you are worried about and forever cause your lack of presence. Amazing things that don’t even know these gloomy things exist, though they are still here ready to deliver you joy and wonder and contentment. Like the Southern brown bandicoot.

But if you’re never present, you will miss out. On all of it.