Leave the ordinary behind

 

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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.

You have arrived!

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Welcome!  It has taken a long time for me to arrive at this space. I hope your journey has been shorter.

I wake at dawn.  It is the perfect time of the day for me.  I am always grateful I enjoy the first light of day with a world that is slowly waking.  Most of the time, birds keep me company in the early hours.

I have called Australia home for several decades, in particular, Western Australia.  It is where I live an itinerant lifestyle due to my business.

Sharing my thoughts on life and things that are meaningful to me during frequent trips and/or sojourns at home is what I’d like to do while I’m here.  I plan to make this space my home away from home.  My ‘word nest’, so to speak.

As a granddaughter of Isidore Coelho, author of ‘The Chef’, an indispensable book of Indian recipes for some, perhaps even many, I’d also like to share some of my heritage with you through recipes, and cherished distant memories of a childhood in India.

I hope you enjoy your stay whenever you visit, and that your visit leaves you wanting to return sooner, rather than later.

As always,

a dawn bird

 

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

 

 

 

International Women’s Day – 8th March 2016

It was International Women’s Day on 8th March; a day of recognition and celebration of women around the world.  I was unable to access the internet in a small town in the Wheatbelt so I’ve uploaded belatedly.  The delay gives me more time to reflect on what this means.  My thoughts though are relevant for the occasion.

In the early years my father worked away from home.  Returning only for brief visits, I missed his absence more than a child could articulate and waited day after day, playing by the front door to be the first to greet him.  Overcome by shyness on his return, my greetings were subdued but he knew I loved him dearly and had waited eagerly for him.  Too young to think about the implications for my mother, I have time now to do so.  She would have been a ‘single mother’ of sorts in his absence, no different to the wives of fly in fly out (FIFO) workers, albeit, with a household of home help.  A cook, two cleaners, a laundry woman, a gardener, the standard army of home help for most families I grew up with.  Known for her warm largesse, she had a community to call friend, but would have missed the companionship of a husband, and smiled through her loneliness, because there was only one.

The cook and one of the cleaners were sisters and as was their culture, were committed to marriage by their families, in early teen years.  Both spent their late teen years, and beyond, in widowhood.  And, as was their culture, raising children on their own, they never married again.

An aunt by marriage walked away in her youth from the man she loved, with three young children in tow.  Unheard of in those days, she did it with dignity.  But she remained a fixture as a loved member of the extended family so her children were always surrounded by numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

A neighbour, a woman who raised two children despite being immobilized by a physical disability, so strong was her resolve, I have never asked about the fate of her husband.

Another neighbour, widowed young with four children, worked hard and raised them well.  They have contributed positively to society.

My former landlady who, having lost two little sons, husband, father and brother in World War II, found room in her shattered heart to nurture me like I was her own.

I had good role models in my early years.  Women who put the welfare of their children first, who did not beat their chest and cry, “why me”?  Despite all odds, they raised their children to be good people.  Finding themselves in circumstances far beyond their control, they chose to work and support their families, some long before it was an acceptable thing to do for a woman from that cultural background.  It was their priority and one that took precedence over finding another partner to share their life with.

These single women raised a community of hard working people with sound values who now live and contribute to their communities in India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and United Kingdom.

These women were an integral part of my childhood and young womanhood.  They illuminated my path, shaping and guiding me, into the woman I am today.

You will not see their names in print.  They are not powerful women in the business arena or political world stage.  They are not known for beauty or for marrying a billionaire.  They were strong women.  And, they would want to be remembered as such.

I celebrate their life and spirit with you.

As always,

a dawn bird

 

The Wheatbelt

I’m leaving for a town in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.  A long drive of some 270 km, it is perhaps, the least favourite of my journeys.  The roads are narrow, the speed limit at 110 km is dangerous, especially when sharing them with road trains, oversized farming equipment and locals who know the area well.  Those familiar with the roads, don’t always follow speed limits and are impatient with those who do.  Fatalities are frequent in this region.  Five of the ten fatalities this Labour Day weekend have been in the Wheatbelt.  It is a sobering thought for this expansive state that covers a third of the land mass in Australia.

Being a journey that demands alertness I have developed a love for the countryside.  Endless open fields, solitary gum trees, carpets of pink and white galahs that find grain in the tall grasses or on open roads where road trains carrying farm feed have passed through, are distinctive features of this landscape.

There is nothing much to do in town.  There is nothing much to choose from where meals are concerned too.  In desperation, I know I will end up at the pub for a solitary meal with laptop for company.

What I do look forward to are vivid sunsets and sunrises across a horizon that is endless.  There is something very humbling in these experiences.  They demand silence.  They demand consideration of life in all its forms.  I recall my son, at knee high, who glanced at a painted Eastern sky, looked at me with eyes wide and in his small voice made larger by awe, asked, “Who did that?”  Who, indeed!

I know I have your prayers and blessings with me on my journey.

As always,

a dawn bird