The first week of January a friend and I took a road trip to Melbourne. Along the way, on the ground, outside the automatic doors of a fast food place next to a petrol station on the highway, we found swathes of Christmas beetles, piled up, the living and the dead. But mostly dead, drawn by the non-stop light all night; in the morning they were countless. The living were very few and in danger of being trodden on at any minute.
Christmas beetles were more plentiful when I was growing up in Sydney. The city is less a place for them now it seems. One of the things I love about living on the farm is that once more there are lots of Christmas beetles, though a different species perhaps because they are not as stunningly iridescent as those I remember from my childhood.
These ones were very beautiful. So I picked up the few that were still alive and carried them to the verge of the car park where I set them down among the plants.
Beautiful, beautiful Christmas beetles.