Among gum trees …


Just under 300 kms from home, lying East of Perth is the small town of Merredin.  It is primarily wheat and sheep country.  I love this little town with its distinctive gum trees.  Tall, with slender bronzed limbs and tufts of green that shimmer and sway in the breeze, they bring a feminine presence to an otherwise rugged, agricultural landscape.

I attempted to arrive in town before dusk but didn’t get there until 5:30 pm.  Being a Public Holiday there were no food outlets open except the local BP with its usual fare of greasy food favoured by long haul truck drivers.  I left with a bottle of water and went to bed soon after, feeling hungry and punished.

I woke at dawn to a familiar song, the sweet, musical song of the brown honeyeater.  I usually wake to this in the Goldfields where they are prolific.  Hundreds of kilometres apart, the waking at dawn is familiar.  I know in my spirit, wherever there is songbird, I am home.

These trips are work related and I am humbled people travel, sometimes over 100 kms, to come in for a scheduled appointment.  This is routine in a vast land for people who live in rural and remote areas.  Nor it is uncommon for me to visit a town where I know nobody.  I am also often distinctive, because of ethnicity.  I have adjusted to the discomfort of this.  I know I am part of the solution.  It gives my life meaning and mitigates the pitfalls of an itinerant lifestyle.

At the end of a long, busy day I spent a couple of hours in a grove of gum trees just outside town.  The pink and grey galahs were less visible this trip.  Usually there are carpets of them feeding boldly on the ground, or beading the fence and power lines, squawking aggressively at the intrusion of my camera.  The absence of the usual flock of birds gave me a new perspective.  I looked more closely at my towering companions and found the fading light was staining the bark with exquisite delicacy.  In a blink, I was in a gallery of abstract art.  I was sharing this space with an artist whose work demands I look outside the framework of His artistry.  It is a thought, and space, worth returning to.

A solitary lifestyle has many pros and cons.  I miss the comforts of home and family.  I miss people who I can talk to as friend.  On the other hand, the writer in me enjoys the solitude, where words come easily.  And, I have found, in those moments when a sense of aloneness surfaces unexpectedly, Nature is a constant companion.  She is inclusive, soothing, healing, ever present.  She is messenger.  She is the fridge magnet I have left behind at home “I am with you” Matthew 28:20.

Nestled among trees, I am a grateful recipient of the message.  I am never alone.

May you, too, seek and find the company you need today.

As always,

a dawn bird




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