By Helen Randerson. From Glebe Society Bulletin 10 of 2020

Some days I wish I had full PPE, as my days seem so long and the onslaught unrelenting. I live on the street, I have no money, few resources. I accept I am low in the pecking order.

Originally, I thought I was an Artist, a real beauty, even capable of moving some to tears of joy, but these days I seem to be just something standing in the way. Born with high hopes of making a difference, I’d suffered setbacks from previous undignified encounters and had felt that I was beginning to understand the true meaning of dieback.

Then along came COVID-19, with people working from home and seemingly constantly walking their dogs ‒ through, over and around me, all failing – or refusing – to see or even acknowledge me. Do you know what it feels like to be ignored, the feeling of having petrol fumes, rubbish and detritus sprayed and thrown at you? I long for pre-COVID streets again and the nine-to-five routines of my fellow city dwellers.

In the evenings when there is some respite, I spend many still, cool, silent hours in company with urban possums, but I and my patch on the street get little respect from the cats that are left to roam outdoors. Some mornings I struggle to raise my head beyond countless insults towards new light.

I console myself that I’m not alone. I have some friends. Not just birds, but there are others like me with similar life experiences who live without a safety net in our parks and on the streets nearby.

I still want to make a difference. I no longer smell good, but I’m job-ready and would still like to help improve air quality and other aspects of the urban environment – yes, I’m still aspirational.

My biggest fear now is that is that I’ll be trampled and expire from one last massive spray from a dog’s rear end.

If I didn’t feel so rooted, I’d be marching with a placard, ‘DOG URINE DAMAGES PLANTS’.