Anna Krien, Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests, 2010 (cover image via and further info at Black Inc.: The Inc. Blot).
“I make friends with a girl who has nothing to do with trees. She’s a rare find. She takes me out to the coast where she and her sisters used to go to find shards of porcelain plates and teacups and saucers. It is a bit of a mystery why the hill and rock pools and dunes are filled with broken crockery. She thinks it had to do with a bacteria, a disease maybe, that prompted settlers to walk their favourite tea-sets and dining plates down to the water and smash them on the rocks before burying the fragments deep in the soil so people wouldn’t smuggle them back into the colony and start the germ up all over again. When we get there, someone has built a huge sandstone gate where once one could walk down to the beach. We backtrack a little, look for electric wires and step under an ordinary paddock fence. Following it down to the sea, we studiously ignore the ‘Trespassers Keep Out’ sign posted in the dirt.
[…]At the end of the day we finish fossicking and tread back along the kelp now heaving with the incoming tide. The broken plates looked like shells, just as curious and gentle, not like they don’t belong at all.
It is a relief to find beautiful traces of us.”
I finished this within 24 hours of starting, and was moved to tears during the final chapters early this morning.