Back in Bunbury …

The sea is pink.  It is dawn in Bunbury.  Behind me the sun is emerging, as is the Leschenault Inlet.  I am oriented and cue in to my day.  The short drive to the Marlston Waterfront is where I’m headed.  I edge out of my parking bay.  Cautiously.  There are four police patrol motorbikes crowding two bays to my left.  There is a booze bus and more patrol bikes beyond that. The city police are in town to keep people safe on their return home from the Easter break.  I make a mental note of this and keep my foot light on the pedal.

The drive is less than a minute.  At the Waterfront the sun arrived just before me.  Perfect timing.  I have photographed this area at sunrise many times before.  Across Koombana Bay is the Port.  Like celebrity and politics, Nature has the finest PR.  The Eastern sky casts the area in the best light until the glare of high noon highlights the industrial aspects of it.

A movement in the water distracts me.  I lean over the parapet.  A glide.  It disappears before my mind fully comprehends it.  Is it bird, a snake, (and with apologies to Nessie), perhaps I’ve discovered the Marlston Monster?  I track the surface of the water where the ripple is almost imperceptible.  A whoosh of big wings and seemingly from underwater, it takes flight.  I get a blurry shot.  Startled, the mate breaks through the water ceiling.  The slender, reed-like neck and head is elegant and exquisite.  It tenses for a nanosecond and then, it’s gone.  I return the next morning, hoping to experience another encounter.  And, I do.  But, in a different way.  A splash and a hiss and I catch a lone dolphin as it disappears into golden waters.  I catch my breath to tuck a wisp of flyaway magic into memory.

The Welcome Swallows chase each other, rest momentarily, and like sunflowers, turn to face the sun.  A glint of sunlight on a russet feather is what I’m hoping to catch.  After twenty minutes of persistence, as if he knew what I’m looking for, one bold swallow perches and stares me down.  He meets me halfway.  I don’t get the picture I’m chasing.  But, I get a few while cruising.  It is a compromise I accept.  Life is like this sometimes.  You get more, but it equates to far less.

My day is crowded with many unexpected delights during this trip.  The last photograph is in words.  At kindergarten 3 year olds were seated in a circle, and given a choice for morning greeting:  hello, G’day, hola, bon jour, konichiwa.  Matching country flags were tagged to the written words, presumably to teach colours.  The children choose bon jour unanimously.  Hearing the little ones struggle with unfamiliarity, try harder and be successful with prompts was a delight.  My eyes, twin suns, shone brighter as each child raised their hand to acknowledge their name being called and in turn, greeted their peers.  An occasional, tiny frustrated voice, “I can’t say it!” got a response, “you can try, just try”.  Encouragement without judgment!  I love the philosophy of this.  It is quite possible these children will not grow up to be intolerant adults who shout, “Speak in English” to people who talk in their native language in public.

My children attended child care from a young age.  I had no choice.  I have and continue to be judged by these circumstances by some whose support in those years would have been invaluable.  I do not share my journey of single motherhood with them any more because every challenge of childhood development has been hung on this sharp hook.  On rare occasions when I talk about this regret, my children are quick to point out.  They thoroughly enjoyed child care.  It was where they played with friends.  Years later, this trip confirmed it for me.  It is a place where, sometimes, you start your day with a “bon jour”.

It’s a good place to leave you …

As always,

a dawn bird

Finding Balance


In silence, the jasmine has rained perfume overnight.  The aroma is indescribable.  The indulgence of showers over two days has made it come alive from dormancy.  It is covered in bunches of blooms.  The buzz of bees is almost industrial level.

Depending on culture and view point, the jasmine flower has many symbolisms.  I find them interesting.  My garden, planted by the previous owner, has several different types of jasmine.  A climber that covers an arbour, a small shrub that has black berries which shed when ripe and two towering shrubs that are about ten feet tall.  The previous owner’s vision resonates with me.  Jasmine, “gift from God”, some consider is also a symbol of motherhood.  Others say it is God’s love.  These are some of my favourite symbolisms and they speak to my experience today.

Feeling the family was close to stepping  over a precipice, because of events in the last week, has been daunting.  I went to bed last night determined to find my balance again.  I leave home for a few days today.  Standing in the walkway between shrubs, I find the peace I’m searching for in its embrace.  I re-read my daughter’s texts from yesterday.  I am standing in a chapel as I receive her love.  As in Nature, life shows us a little bit of nurturing goes a long way.  Today, she nurtured me.

It is also from here I view my garden.  It is my touchstone.  There is no other corner that brings me more joy.  From this vantage point, I noticed the palms near the outdoor spa have flowers.  Flowers! on Cocos Palms!  Who knew!  Never having palms in my garden before this comes as a surprise.  This is an area I rarely visit.  It has nothing to attract me.  Until today.

The rain has been the spritzer the plants needed. There is more life in the garden than I anticipated.  Several brown honeyeaters flit around buzzing me with their aerial pursuits.  Their antics take me around the garden, as I chase that one beautiful picture.  But, I think I managed to get two.

I have found my balance.  May you do too, today.

As always,

a dawn bird



To those who believe, Christ was crucified and died on Good Friday.  He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.  It is the most important and holy feast in the Christian calendar.

As a child growing up in India we were expected, by our parents, to adhere very closely to the Church’s teachings.  They were endorsed even more stringently in the home.  Feast days had certain rituals.  At Easter, my mother would order a dozen hot crossed buns from the only bakery in town during Easter week.  The baker was a Muslim man.  We suppressed our excitement when she did this.  After all, Good Friday was a solemn day.  The cook would have a day off.  No food would be cooked on the day.  We ate warm, fragrant buns for breakfast that came from the oven to the table.  In the days pre-microwave, they were cold for lunch and dinner and a drink of water helped the cinnamon flavoured dough go down.  My parents only ate breakfast as it was considered a day of ‘fasting’, reflection and penance.  There was a service at 3 pm at Church, that commemorated the passion of Christ.  The tabernacle was shrouded in purple.  Adults wore black and children wore white to signify their sense of loss and mourning.  We were expected to attend Church for Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.  There was no music played between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  On Easter Sunday there was celebration in Church and our homes.  Christ had Risen.  The tabernacle was unveiled.  We played music.  And, at last, we could try and eat highly decorated hardened sugar Easter eggs at home, without breaking teeth.

Easter had added meaning for me.  I was born on a Good Friday.  A fact that often drew derision from others.  Children can be cruel.  So I never mentioned this to people and fortunately, it was rare for my birthday to fall on a Good Friday.  When it did, the child I was understood, it was not a day of celebration.

I have moved away from organised religion for many reasons.  But I do know I will return to attending Church again one day.  My Faith is stronger than it has ever been.  My non-attendance has had a purpose.  I have nurtured my own relationship with God.  One that has needed time to experience God my way, pray my way but more importantly, to hear what He has to say to me.  Something I did not experience in decades of group prayer.  Perhaps, this was a path I was meant to take.  For now.

I experience Easter differently to what I did as a child.  Yes, Good Friday still is a day of quiet reflection.   It is the only day of the year I will eat hot crossed buns, even though they appear in the supermarket the week after Christmas.  One year, incensed, I recall letting the supermarket manager know how much I disapproved of this practice.  He avoided my gaze in the weeks that followed.

But rather mourn the death of Christ, I experience a sense of anticipation on Good Friday.  He will rise again.  During Holy Week, through prayer, I accompany Christ during the last days of His earthly journey.  I believe for the rest of the year, He accompanies me on mine. The symbolism of Easter has guided me through life.  I know, without exception, no matter what challenge I face, something needs to ‘die’ before it is new again.  Life is a process.  I trust it.

I have shared a picture of dawn at Kooljaman (Cape Leveque), in the far north of Western Australia.  I had visited this place briefly in the year before and wanted to wake here one day.  I knew it would be beautiful.  I was right.  It did not disappoint.  Catching that first ray of light was breathtaking.  It split through the dark and shone like a searchlight.  Like all good things in life, I want to experience the moment again.

My son is joining me for breakfast today.  I will have quality time with him.  My daughter lives too far away to make the journey as she is resting.  We will fill her absence by our love for her.  Her health crisis has held a mirror to us.  Life is precious.  Life is short.  Love is immeasurable.

No matter what your belief system is, if nothing else, may you experience renewal today.  It is the elixir of life.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird



I love the word ambivalence.  It is uncertainty that makes you stop long enough to choose.   Much like a moment of decision making, be happy, or not.

I wake each morning at a moment of ambivalence.  That moment where there is ‘twilight’ before day.  Because the State of Western Australia is vast, when I travel I search for this hour on the internet, and set my alarm to it.  Somehow I always wake one minute before the alarm.  I want to be there, ringside, when it happens.  I am never disappointed.  Much like my decision, every day, to be happy.

Last night I received a weather warning and went to bed unsettled.  We were to expect a severe storm with hail and rain of up to 100 mm in some parts.  For me, a good storm is like fine wine.  Best enjoyed in company.  I dislike them when I’m on my own so I did not sleep well expecting the storm to arrive around 1 am, as promised.  Instead, I stayed up to hear the metronome of rain off the roof.  Tap.  Tap.  Tap.

As dawn breaks, it is turning into a steady stream.  The magpie larks are cheering the rain on enthusiastically.  Perhaps, I am not alone after all.  I have company to enjoy the storm.  Should it arrive.

I usually work in the early hours when I’m home.  I’ve learned not to do this as part of self-care when I travel and with good reason.  Catching dawn over Lily Creek Lagoon, Kununurra in the far north with the silhouette of the young boab tree forefront, is unforgettable.  The palm trees against sunrise at Roebuck Bay, and the rocky outcrop at Town Beach, Broome are places I rush to wake to.  The blazing horizon in the Wheatbelt is always spectacular.  The car park at the jetty in Jurien Bay mirrors delight.  The surreal calm of Esperance Bay with its historic, iconic jetty in the background is something to be experienced.  These are seductions I willingly succumb to.

Mornings are where I plan my day.  I arrive at a destination in my mind.  Today I have two days of work to catch up.  I will complete my tasks happily.  My family is well and happy.  I ask for no more.  The thought gives my feet and fingers wings.  I can achieve what I plan to do today.  May you do too.

Until next time,

As always

a dawn bird






It has been a tumultuous return to Perth.  My daughter became unwell suddenly and had to be hospitalised.  I woke to a morning feeling numb.  The effort to suppress the worst case scenario took its toll and  left me spent and exhausted.  Formulating a prayer, starting with a simple “please” seemed impossible in thought and action.

It is often promoted during crisis or trauma, one of the best things one can do is adhere as close to routine as possible.  It corrects the imbalance.  So I reached out for my prayer book.  It is how I start my day.  This may not mean much to people who do not have the same belief system as me.  But, perhaps the story I am about to relate will resonate more widely …

About 25 years ago I worked in an office environment and had a supervisory role.  It was a time when people were experiencing repetitive strain injury (RSI).  An older woman had been ‘floating’ around the various departments while she recuperated from her injury.  As she had run out of options, I offered to take her on with limited duties.  Being older than the other staff in the office, she had a higher standard for herself and others.  This made it difficult for her to adjust, so I supported her more closely than I did the other staff.  I noticed she was struggling for a few days with a cold but she was adamant not to take any more sick leave than she had taken for her injury.  I finally convinced her just before a long weekend to have a few days off.  I gave her some magazines I had in my office to enjoy while she rested.  She called me a few days later in tears.  She had read an article in one of the magazines on breast cancer, discovered she had a symptom that was not a lump and hastened to see her doctor.  She had an ultrasound and was scheduled for an immediate mastectomy.  She returned to work some months later with a gift for me.  A small prayer book called “God Calling – a daily devotional”.  It is based on the Anglican faith.  She always credited me for “saving her life”.  Never did I get a chance to tell her, she saved mine multiple times and sometimes, every day.  I have read a page a day since it was given to me.  Despite all the years, the message is always fresh and relevant.  For example, today’s reading.


Wonders Will Unfold

I am with you.  Do not fear.  Never doubt My Love and Power.  Your heights of success will be won by the daily persistent doing of what I have said.

Daily, steady persistence.  Like the wearing away of a stone by steady drops of water, so will your daily persistence wear away all the difficulties and gain success for you, and secure your help for others.

Never falter, go forward so boldly, so unafraid.  I am beside you to help and strengthen you.

Wonders have unfolded.  More still will unfold, beyond your dreams, beyond your hopes.

Say, “All is well” to everything.  All is well.


The ride to the hospital with my son opened a new dialogue between us about religion and spirituality.  I have raised my children by modelling my faith rather than preaching it to them.  Anxious about his sister’s health, he reflected softly, I am dealing with the current crisis so differently than I have other crises.  I was able to share with him I have found something that works for me.

I spend a few minutes every day in contemplation.  It is a time of renewal for me.  It is healing.  Simple prayers of All is wellBe still and know I am God, I am with you – is all I need as a compass to guide me through whatever the day brings.  The camera is another aspect of my daily routine.  I find new meaning every day.  For example, I woke one morning and found the cherub contemplating a fallen leaf in front of it.  Autumn may have been the catalyst for its descent, but it shone golden when it came to rest.  Life, as in Nature, is all about perspective.

Today, I watched my daughter comfort her brother who sat with his arms wrapped around himself protectively.  “I’m okay”, she said repeatedly as she read his anxiety accurately.  They used humour to alleviate the distress.  Her youth seemed awkward and out of place in the Coronary Care Unit.  I stepped back to watch the dynamics between them.  It has taken years to get to this stage.  She has matured into being his big sister again.  I left the hospital knowing she is right.  She is really okay.  All is well.

As always,

a dawn bird

In Mining Country

The land is expansive, forbidding, warning and I wake early, as usual, to watch it emerge into something recognisable … expansive, forbidding, warning.  I drive into town for a coffee and find the natural vibrancy of the land is already stained with the distinctive yellow and orange high viz clothing of the workers in these parts.  In boom time the tide comes in and it is a sea.  For now, the tide is out and the debris behind is unmissable.

I finish work on my first day and pull into a side access road, just off the main highway.  A glittering disc has already blended into the rim of the earth.  In its wake, shawls of pastel clouds float on a horizon that defies description.  I wait patiently to catch a break in traffic and decide to do the same as the miners.  I end my day.  At the foot of the highway, just above town, the moon is Salome, dancing her dance with gossamer veils until she emerges, naked and luminous.  The miners have seen this before.  They focus on getting home.  Undeterred, she is high in the sky seducing Jupiter, burning bright.  And, I , the observer, am enchanted.

The land around here is either flat or has angry ridges.  This is mineral country.  People come here for work.  In response to their ‘colonisation’, Nature erupts like acne, with rocks strewn across the face of the landscape.  It leaves behind mottled scars that never heal.  This is country that resonates in the words of the Australian Dorothea Mackellar, ‘I love a sunburnt country’.  I do too.  The poem “My Country” speaks to my heart.  I want to cast a soothing hand over the highly subjective and divisive concept of mineral resources.

I drive some 40 km north of Karratha to Wickham.  I am running two hours behind time with only 20 minutes for lunch.  I drive further north to Point Samson for a better meal than what I can find in Wickham.  The seagull and pied magpie lark keep me company.  And, the white powder puff lilly pilly flower mesmerises in sea breeze.  I am 1500 plus km north from home.  This is another land.  Another time.  The landscape here is still untouched.  Spinifex grow among rocks, and clumps of white granite bubble like foam from red earth.  I find peace without looking for it.

I wake next morning in my hotel, flanked by glowering iron ore ridges.  The garden is an oasis.  I walk around and find the omnipresent Willy Wagtail.  He, in turn, has found himself in a puddle of gold.  The brown honeyeater catches my eye, and dipping deep for nectar, he carries me home on his wings.  A white plumed honeyeater with its exquisite tiny yellow face perches within a few feet from me.  He looks at me intently.  I am the curiosity.  I try and focus my camera.  I zoom in closer.  He stares down my elongated eye.  He is perfect.  My hands shake with delight.  I fumble.  I miss the shot.  He’s gone.  But not before leaving his memory.

On the last morning, I linger in the garden.  A yellow trumpet flower is a face with a smile.  A sudden gust of wind and it collapses on itself and smiles brighter again.  I almost say, “bless you”.  I wonder if I have just witnessed a flower sneeze.

I linger longer, a few more minutes among the scores of frangipani trees.  It is already hot and somewhat humid.  The perfume and heat transport me in thought.  The flowers remind me of Broome.  They have sunshine in their hearts.  So I borrow some to take home in mine … to share with you.

Until my next trip …

As always,

a dawn bird


A Road Less Travelled

It was pre-dawn when I woke this morning.  Soon the mudlarks and magpies started to sing and signal it was time to get ready for the day ahead.

I’m leaving again today for the north.  To mining country.  And, to somewhere I haven’t been before.  Previously, the thought of travel to new places in the regional areas filled me with dread.  No more!

The feeling of fear and excitement is generated in the same part of the brain.  It is perception that distinguishes one from another.  I anticipate each new experience by researching the area. Driving on country roads in Australia is hazardous.  Distance between one town and another is deceptive.  Adding another half an hour to travel time is a must.  An unsolicited travel tip from a frequent traveller.  Roads are only as safe as the drivers on them and are either straight and monotonous, or winding and with surprises.  Visitors to these parts of the world, fail to appreciate this.  On the other hand, familiar travellers on these roads, may drive with over confidence and impatience.  The vital link between city and country for all kinds of produce and material is the road trains whose enemy is deadlines.  Reflection on road statistics is always sobering.  The numbers are written in small crosses bearing names, by the side of the road.

I’ve learned how to prepare for trips.  Safety first.  Plenty of water for myself.  And, a little extra, just in case.  You can never carry too much water.  A good car that has been serviced.  Telling someone when leaving, what road I’m travelling, estimated arrival time and letting them know I have arrived, is common sense.  Good music.  A handful of organic nuts.  Some fruit.  A muesli bar.  All set.  I then shift my mind into enjoyment mode.

Long before I gained confidence in doing this, I recall a feeling of dread on one trip when I realised, in the middle of a heat wave, I had a stretch of some 70 kms of isolated road ahead of me.  I focused on the destination and missed the journey.

I have since returned to that area several times for work.  There is much to enjoy about the trip.  Flanked by big farms, yes, it is mostly an isolated drive.  When I started to take in the surroundings, I discovered a grove of gum trees, between Three Springs and Eneabba, small towns in the Midwest.   I sometimes stop and eat my lunch here, or just take a break from driving.  It is quiet and peaceful.  During one trip something broke the silence.  Not having seen cars on my journey, my senses accelerated to heightened alert.  I have always regretted watching Wolf Creek!  My eyes scanned trees a short distance away.  Did someone step on a twig?  I scanned the area again and saw no one.  I relaxed and distracted myself by examining the beautiful bark of the gum trees.  Then my eyes caught a movement and travelled higher, high up in the gum trees.  I zoomed in to find a pair of Australian ringnecks hovering over a hollow in a branch.  I clicked.  The sound ricocheted and alerted them.  In the silence of the grove, their raucous indignation at the intrusion is something I always remember vividly.  In rural and remote Australia, Nature rules.  Nature demands respects and gets it.  I cut short my break and left the ringnecks to their parenting.

On roads less travelled I am always the visitor.  Always the observer.  That’s how life is for me.  And, I would not want it any other way.

Until next time, I am off to do more observing

As always,

a dawn bird


International Day of Happiness


I did not know this until today.  In 2012 the UN endorsed the 20th March as Happiness Day or International Day of Happiness.  Unknowingly, I had endorsed this principle in my own life but as a few minutes in every 24 hours.  I have spent years cultivating a mind framework that nourishes my spirit in a way that I find happiness every day in some form or another.  I’ve searched and finally found the right guidance and tools, for me, to achieve this.

I had never owned a camera until a few years ago.  I did not understand the technicalities of light, shutter speed, etc.  I still don’t.  Digital cameras have made taking a picture easier and I am still a novice.  What I did not need to learn, was already in me.  I am an instinctive and intuitive photographer.  And, there have been many, many moments that still bring joy to me.

Let me share with you a few.

I had finished work in Esperance and wanted to catch one last look at the surf at West Beach.  It was a gloomy, overcast day.  Weather is often changeable in Esperance.  Not to enjoy the fifty shades of blue in the waters in this area, can be a disappointment.  On this evening, cresting Twilight Beach Road, I saw the sun set beyond.  It was fleeting but a moment of pure magic.

I have learned not to be arrogant in my attempts to photograph grand landscapes.  Like the kind one finds up north in the Kimberley region.  The vast, immense land is humbling.  This is ancient land.  Sacred ground.  I did make a feeble attempt or two but now acknowledge my limitations as a photographer.  A return to the region will be to hone my skills.

I have discovered delight at my feet when walking the sands of Cable Beach in Broome and among the clear pools of the mangroves of Cygnet Bay, some 200 km north of Broome.  The carpet of French knot embroidery left behind in the sand by tiny crabs is worth discovering.  It is always a surprise because they appear magically.  Or not.  They remind me of my school days when mastering the intricacies of a French knot was a special achievement and once learnt, I found reason to embroider them repeatedly.  They are my favourite stitch to embroider.  Finding a boab tree in sand always make me smile.  They are a tree that I love (and more on them in another post).

I have also found delight in photographing seagulls.  I love their stance, their profile, their attitude.  They portray, perfectly, a line from the book ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’, “To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is, you must begin by knowing you have already arrived”.  Seagulls walk like they have arrived!  I’ve learned, over time, visualisation is powerful.  To think you are happy, makes being happy effortless.

My camera has taught me to appreciate the austere land of sheep country in the Midwest, as much as the brilliance of a sunset on Cable Beach, Broome.  The beauty of a passionfruit flower that morphs into a fruit, eagerly sought for its tangy sweetness, when shrivelled and beautiful no more.  It makes me an optimist.

When home I have found things that catch my eye in the garden.  The rainbow lorikeets visit every day.  The mulberry tree, when in fruit, is a favourite stop over for them.  At other times, they forage the new leaves off other trees.  Or the early morning sun light filtered through a leaf gives me new perspective.

With a house that has been under renovations for two years, frequent travel helps me cope with the chaos better than if I was living at home full time.  In the areas where the renovations have been completed, I still despaired.  Then, I discovered the art of declutter, the Japanese Kon Mari Method.  It has changed my life.  The philosophy is a simple one.  Keep what brings you joy.  I started using the method in the kitchen pantry first.  Months on, it is exactly as I organised it.  That is quite a feat in itself.  With young adults who come and go, this is even more remarkable.  I apply the Kon Mari Method to memories, too.  I keep what brings me joy.  It has created a treasure trove for happy hunting and worth foraging on days when the sunlight dims.

I make the effort to nurture friendships that are meaningful to me.  In these days of technology, this is not hard to do.  I have re-established contact with friends from my early primary school years.  Time has stood still for those friendships.  We laugh and talk with the ease like having played in the school yard yesterday.

I am nurturing to those who, I feel, need my understanding far beyond what I thought I was capable of.  Being genuinely empathic of their journey is the best part of me I can give them.  Their recovery to a happier state is an accompanied journey, and I am happy to be a fellow traveller with them.

Others have walked away from me with questions unanswered.  I have come to believe they are taking their own journey towards happiness when they did.

My faith is important to me.  It is an intrinsic part of my thinking and way of being.  I don’t preach it.  I am not skilled at it, so I practice it.  I live it.  It works for me.  Everyday.

On this day when we celebrate happiness, may you find, as the saying goes, happiness is not a destination, but a journey.  I am enjoying mine. And, happy travels to you, until we meet again.

As always,

a dawn bird


The Silvereye


I heard them long before I saw them.  They are noisy in the scrub that border the shores of Jurien Bay in the north to Esperance in the south east.  Curious I attempted to identify the source of the incessant tweet.  Once spotted, they were more difficult to photograph.  A sudden movement only signalled their departure.  Trying to get them in focus only to lose them again was frustrating.  They blend in beautifully with their surroundings and almost impossible to see.  Those of you who have tried to photograph tiny silvereye will know the patience and persistence needed to achieve the outcome.

The olive green silvereye found in the West is tiny.  As a species they are known to fly great distances yet weigh just 10 gm.  What they lack in weight, they make up in their uniqueness.  Their expressions are serious, almost comical.  Their feathers, coloration and claws are exquisite.  They have taught me to stop, look and listen while bush walking.  Beauty comes in smaller packages too amid the grandeur of landscape.

On a trip to Esperance earlier in the year, much to my surprise, I found one silvereye singing heartily in the open where the scrub had been destroyed by a bushfire.  Alone, the vulnerability of her exposure did not dampen her early morning spirit.  The song remained the same.

And, so it is with people too.  The song remains the same.

As always,

a dawn bird




The tradition of narrative goes back thousands of years.  People have told the story of their times in art, symbols and in words.

‘Architectural’, ‘organic’ are buzzwords that describe shape, and are appropriate descriptions of this sea artwork too. For me, this art of nature is also a book.  With embedded shells and barnacles, on every inch is etched a story from long ago.  It has been a silent witness to the ebb and flow of tides and the ferocity of tropical storms that come and go, but for how long, is something I do not know. It lies on the beach, offering a seat to the sea, shorebirds and people. It is beautiful. It is immoveable. It is tactile. It is a tangible reminder of life, in its many forms. I visit this rock every time I visit Cable Beach, Broome. It has never looked as beautiful as it was the first time I saw it, yet my pulse quickens and my gaze softens every time I cast my eyes on it.  If you have ever fallen in love, you would know this feeling.

A pilgrimage here is a must for me whenever I visit Broome.  It is a point of reference. I have experienced child-like joy on this beach. I have experienced renewal.  Trust.  Friendship.  Disappointment. Uncertainty.  Some visits also made me incredibly pensive. But, without exception, my visits cemented my resolve to be more human.

I have photographed this platform many, many times, erroneously thinking, it is going to give me more than it already does. It is an old friend sharing its wisdom, without judgment. It encourages me to stop and think. Time, like life, is precious, and, also like love, it is infinite. The only parameters placed on both, are the ones we impose, usually through fear and sometimes, memory. When I look at this rock structure, defined it may be in shape, but it has no parameters. It is open to all experiences. The very essence of this makes it vulnerable to the elements.  Yet, it also has a strength that draws me to it repeatedly.  I am drawn to people like this too.  Vulnerable people who, in my eyes, are also strong.  Some would describe me in the same way.

After some intense searching, I found the format for living and, some years ago, I chose to live life this way.  Open to new experiences, receptive to challenges, vulnerable.  It was my definition of living life on my terms.  Conventional it may not be for some, but it is my choice to do it my way.  I have few ties but they are secure.  They anchor me when the wind gusts are strong. At other times, I float freely with a gentle tug every now and then that reminds me I am tethered, if I need to be.

I’m determined to find time in my schedule to visit this rock some time soon. And, when I do, I’ll leave some part of my life story with it, too.

Until then,

As always,

a dawn bird


The Pacific Gull


As part of my self-care I look for things to nourish my spirit every day.  In Esperance, this is not difficult to do.  A few steps, across the road from my hotel, I stop at a secluded area along the shoreline where the seagulls and Pacific Gulls were waking.  On approach I’m surprised to see how big the latter birds are, in comparison to the sleek silver seagulls.

With me for an audience one Gull saunters off into the Bay with an easy step.  Delight wreaths my face with a smile but there’s more to come.  One backward glance at me and it’s cue show time.

He swims out and turns around to face me.  He flicks his wings and shakes them.  I have seen this movement before in athletes.  I take a deep breath with him before he dives.  A perfect dive.  Without a camera, I am sure I would have clapped spontaneously.  He emerges, and I’m prepared to place money on it, he is smiling ‘ta da’, with a mollusc in his big, beautiful beak.  He carries it to shore, like an offering, drops it on the sand, a few feet away from me.  He takes one peck and he’s off for more.  Comfortable in my presence, he is now showing off as he returns to Esperance Bay repeatedly.  I am enthralled.  I have spent hours on the beaches that edge this big State of Western Australia photographing seagulls, but have never observed this behaviour before.

A shared moment, now shared with you.

As always,

a dawn bird

Lake Warden, Esperance, Western Australia


I hear the first birdsong at 5.29, half an hour after I wake.  I dress in the dark only to find a chill in the air outdoors and no warmth in my suitcase.  Autumn has arrived in Esperance, unlike Perth, where it is sweltering.  Undeterred, I drive off under a sullen sky to Lake Warden.  Pink Lake is pink no more but Lake Warden is slowly changing hue instead.  Depending on who you ask, it is either due to a specific algae or it is a bacterium.  The depth of colour is unpredictable, sometimes more vivid from the air, but muddy at ground level.  Expecting the unexpected is a gamble I take whenever I visit.

At Lake Warden I seek out the banksia grove and scrub land knowing they are teeming with native birds.  But, finding a spectacular daybreak is an unexpected find.

Nowhere to be seen, I can hear tiny birds but they are maddeningly elusive.  So I aim my camera at the three magpies atop a banksia tree, singing.  The Three Tenors of the trees.  The red wattlebirds sing out loud, giving it everything they’ve got, their bodies tensed into an arched bow.  The beautiful black, white and yellow New Holland honeyeaters erupt vertically from the tops of the trees, like fireworks.  There are other birdsongs too.  I will take my time getting to know them over the next few visits.

As I drive down the road I catch a glimpse of something moving alongside my car.  It is a kestrel, engaged in a slow dance with a sudden gust of wind.  It bobs down slowly, soars vertically, flaps his wings for a few seconds while stationary, and then descends, floating alongside me.  I follow it to a tree, long dead but still there, like a memory.  My camera lens finds the lake shimmering under a spotlight where the sun has pierced soft spots.  Through the sieved clouds I see spills of sunlight in pink, lavender, silver, blue and white on a mirror lake.  I sit there quietly, mesmerized, a captive of the kestrel, the sunrise and the Lake.

My alarm goes off.  The kestrel hears it too.  It’s time to leave.  Reluctantly, I do too.   But not before a final picture of the sun rising high above the Lake, setting aglow everything in its path.

This was a magic carpet ride at dawn at Lake Warden, in the south east of Western Australia.

Hope there was enough space for you to climb aboard too.

As always,

a dawn bird





I’m leaving home today and do so with great anticipation.  I’m off to Esperance again.  The word Esperance, roughly translated from French means hope, or a positive expectation.  In a busy month, these trips are just that.  The thought of a visit to this part of the world anchors me amid the disruption of frequent travel.

I love visiting this little town of some 10,000 people who enjoy a magnificent coastline.  It is a country of farmlands and fishing.  A place where locals enjoy their home by early morning walks along The Esplanade, surfing the waters of West Beach with dolphins, or walking their Shetland ponies in bushland.  Proud of their lifestyle, they share their home generously, too, with others.  But it takes a while to be considered local.  I’m told, the minimum is 25 years.  Every time I leave town, I leave with a firmer resolve to make an attempt to qualify.

My visits run to a routine.  I arrive after a bumpy flight on a small plane and land at one of the windiest airports in the Southern Hemisphere.  The airport is small and isolated.  The drive to town is about 22 km along roads that run parallel to farmlands.  At night, with only headlights to navigate the dark, I am even more cautious of encountering a kangaroo or fox.  After a busy work schedule, I find time at dawn and at dusk to visit the beach or bush, to unwind with my camera.  It is not a perk.  It is an absolute must for self-care.  My work is emotionally demanding.  Self-care is a new concept to me but one I embrace wholeheartedly.  I don’t need to do much in this town to nurture my spirit.  It is that kind of town.  Coming over a crest, I am overcome with awe at my first glimpse of West Beach.  Every time.  The drive along Twilight Beach Road quickens my pulse.  It is nothing short of breathtaking.  Turning away from the blues of the ocean is never an easy task, but made easier by birds or small animals in the scrub.  Early one morning I found the cutest tiny black and white rabbits at Observatory Point.  Startled by my presence, they were too quick to photograph.  But, now I know they are there, the challenge is on!

Like a relationship, I am getting to know each aspect of this town slowly, and delight in what I find.  It has everything that makes my heart sing.  Spectacular coastline, and wildlife.  It has the best of beach and bush.  It is a place where grandeur is not only framed on a large scale, it is also in miniature frames.  Birdlife is everywhere – on water, in the air, in the bushland.  I have learnt to be cautious about snakes.  Watching dolphins enjoy their swim with surfers at West Beach is a must see.  Not just for the spectacle but for the joy in people’s faces as they observe the interaction.  I am convinced the dolphins delight in their company as much as the surfers.  I have yet to see whales frolic in the bays but hear they visit frequently during migration.  The banksia cones are gorgeous and I never tire photographing them.  My love for this town is obvious but will be even more so in the coming months when I post a series of photographs.

Just over 700 km southeast of Perth, the world is as it should be.  Beautiful.  Inviting.  Welcoming.  Peaceful.  Rugged.  Untouched.  I am a visitor to this world.

As visitor I am respectful of the environment as it is home to the locals.  Which leaves me with a thought.  We are all visitors to Planet Earth.  If we considered the planet in the same way, that is, it is home to us and the home of other people, would our attitudes change?  Would we live mindfully?  Would we live differently?

I’ll leave you with this thought until I return …

As always

a dawn bird





I love saying the word billabong.  It bounces and rolls in my mouth like a hard boiled lolly.  A billabong is a pond, a stagnant body of water left behind when a river or creek deviates away.  Some call it a ‘dead river’.  A misnomer!  There is nothing further from the truth.

Banjo Paterson in his poem, Waltzing Matilda, evoking imagery with simplicity wrote, “Once a jolly swagman, sat by the billabong, under the shade of a Coolibah tree …”, and forever associated the solitary traveller in Australia, with a billabong.  So, it is not surprising when I travel, my eyes scan the landscape for one.  I know there will be some other creature seeking life there too.  Billabongs are not always in the outback.  They are along highways too.  Wildlife there is different.  More often, I see a solitary white heron, stretching its neck elegantly to posture.  But, it was rare for me on one trip to find a billabong that so epitomises the spirit of a country I call home.

On the outskirts of Derby, Western Australia, near a place of historical importance (which I will write about later), it was a delight to find this billabong at dusk.  Wallabies, raptors, water birds and the magnificent brolgas ended their day quietly while the black cockatoo, with the splendid red tail feather, broke the silence occasionally with a loud squawk.  It was a surreal moment often seen in the paintings of Australian masters.

About 2300 km south of the billabong, along the coast, I woke to a similar surreal moment this morning.  Once shadows broke free from the darkness of an autumn morning, the magpies sang in chorus.  The tiny Willy Wagtail, not to be outdone, chirped along with its familiar sweet tweet.  The kookaburras, reluctant to share, kept their call rolling deep within them, never shattering the morning silence with their distinctive laughter.

And, once again, I am observer.

I am, as always,

a dawn bird


Leave the ordinary behind



A few years ago I went to Broome, some 2200 kms north of Perth, for the first time.  Known for its beauty, I prepared for the trip by purchasing a new camera.  The effort and expense was worth it!

Waking to a stunning sunrise over Roebuck Bay, I took several hundred photographs over a two-hour period.  It was a welcomed distraction from a major decision of walking away from secure employment to enter an uncertain market setting up my own business.  When I returned home, undecided, I uploaded the images and was struck by the one I have shared today.  It is untouched and shared as taken.

I have visited the north of Western Australia many times since taking the photograph.  In subsequent visits I have attempted to get a similar picture at sunrise, but to no avail.  I now realise, opportunity has its own time.  Not a moment too soon.  Not a moment too late.  If we don’t recognise the moment, the opportunity is lost.  It is relevant not only for the business sector.  It is relevant in life too, where we relabel it, to read choice.  We make these choices based on informed research and then act on instinct.  In business I had done the research.  I knew my market.  Immobilised by indecision, I just did not have the courage to follow my instinct.  When I did, it was a choice just waiting to be made.

At that stage of my life, everything in my world was wrong.  Or at least it seemed to be.  But being present in a moment where I allowed my physical and spiritual being to be in perfect synchrony with everything around me, also made it a moment where I realised everything could be right.  A sacred moment.  A  nano moment of stillness and silence.  It was also a moment where the picture spoke loudly and succinctly.  Leave the ordinary behind.  And, I did.

Since then, I seek to experience that moment, that moment when everything feels right.  I wake to the expectation of it every day and am not disappointed.  Sometimes, synchrony happens serendipitously.  At other times, it is actively sought.  Either way, it makes my world a balanced place.

On reflection, previously, I worked in an office setting and did so for decades.  I went overseas twice a year to visit cathedrals, art galleries, monuments and sip coffee in cafes.  Despite my frequent travels, I did not see the world.  I do now.  And, I hope to share it with you, when you visit again.