Homeless, like me …


Lean with conventionally handsome chiseled features, he is an older man. His face is lined from the sun or, possibly from the smiles from being loved once. His feet are swollen from age and wine. When he walks, the pain makes him limp.  He is more agile on his bike which he has left somewhere today.  He is an iconic character of this town.  I look for him every visit.  There is a degree of comfort when I see him safe and well.

He has a roving eye that twinkles like a blue star in a clear gaze.  He hasn’t broken any hearts lately, because he is true to none, or so his eyes say. He does not know this, but I hear pieces of his broken heart rattle, deep in his chest, whenever he smiles into the distance. He has the courage to live by his choices. His home, a mobile castle on wheels. His precious art is the sunrise and sunset. His music, the birdsong. His library, yesterday’s newspapers, and the ones from the weeks before. His entertainment includes me, seated at his feet, watching seagulls through the lens.  We have become accustomed to a comfortable silence in this monthly routine.  He watches me walk to work and when I catch his gaze, he looks away from the contact, as if scorched.

At midday, I head south.  I see him long before he sees me as I set off to walk into town to buy lunch.  By then, he has rolled his home from the foreshore to under the sprawling Moreton Bay fig tree.  At this hour, he is at his flamboyant best, with huge grey feathers speared through his hat. An imperceptible nod of acknowledgement communicates, he’s dressed for the day too.

Who is he?  I may never know.  I’m told his world does not include family.  His homeless, itinerant lifestyle intrigues me.  Why? Perhaps, even though worlds apart, he is no different than me.  Our narrative is the same story.

As always,

a dawn bird

The cycle of life

In childhood June was a month of celebration, a month when my parents celebrated their respective birthdays.  My father, being more reserved of the two, would have a quieter dinner among family and a few close friends.  But, my mother on the other hand, it was open house.  There was a steady stream of people who would visit the home to enjoy her company while my father sat quietly with an indulgent smile as he watched her play hostess.  He remained besotted with my mother until the day he died suddenly at the age of 54.  At 46 and in her prime, his indulged bride became a widow too soon.  They were one month short of celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.  She masked her grief, but her loss would have been incalculable.  My mother died a few years ago in her early 80s.

I have been reflecting on what it has meant to be my mother’s daughter.  Beautiful, gracious, hospitable, well groomed with impeccable taste, she was well known for her warmth and largesse in the community.  I have inherited none of her attributes.  Physically or personally I do not resemble my mother, yet every so often I catch a glimpse of her in the mirror and it takes me aback.  A look in the eye, a turn of the mouth, a wistful gaze … and I see her.  What I see in the mirror is how I wished I had seen her in my youth.  Vulnerable.  Strong.  ‘The show must go on’ type of person, albeit, in silk and pearls.  But, I strained hard and taut against the apron strings and cut loose in my mid teens.  It was highly unusual for the times and I could not have done it without the support of my father.  From an early age, my father trusted me to do the right thing.  I treasure that trust to this day.  If tempted to veer from what I believe is the right thing to do, I remember his words, “personal integrity is what you do, when no one is looking”.

A man of some intellect, I have inherited my father’s love for books.  He loved words.  Loved doing cryptic crosswords.  He loved ballroom dancing, as did my mother.  When they danced, people gave them space, and caught a glimpse of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  He loved the big swing bands like Benny Goodman.  He loved hearing Julie London sing, ‘Sway’.  He loved Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.  I once heard her sing in San Francisco, she was within touching distance.  I was mesmerised by her voice and her soul, and, suddenly, it was a visceral response.  It all made sense.  My father loved the arts.  It is a gift from him, to me.  It is where my world stays balanced.

My parents introduced us to the world of books, music, good food and to the concept of being with people without judgement.  Any and every person who stepped over the threshold of our family home, was treated like royalty.  They were a guest and were treated as such.  In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I can recall my father coming home with hippies in tow.  One group, an Australian family with children, camped on our front yard in their Kombi for several days.  My parents introduced us to the concept of sharing, like one has plenty to give, and the joy inherent in helping others.

Interestingly, my son has returned to university to do a another degree.  And, when he graduates, he too will be part of the ‘helping profession’.  The cycle of life!

Is there a better way to celebrate one’s roots?

Until next time …

As always,

A dawn bird

Carpe diem


Sunday was one of those perfect winter days in Perth.  Mild in the sunlight with a clear blue sky above.  The kind of day that highlights the reality of carpe diem.

So, keeping to my exercise regime, but this day, succumbing to the seduction of a clear day, I took my camera with me when I walked to the lake.  Generally, it is a walk down my street and turn right to walk along the rim of the lake.  My focus is usually on the birds and in spring, a wary focus on tiger snakes that inhabit the wetlands.  I have seen them sunning themselves on the footpath!  On Sunday, inexplicably, I decided to turn left and walk towards a path that leads to my former home.  My decision drew the curiosity of the Little Corella, who high up in the gum tree, watched with a face perfectly made up in the style of the 1980s!

The walk took me to places long before the time of now, in more ways than one.  The gum trees are old and towering.  When fallen, they are a garden feature, where they land.  I stopped many times to observe my surrounds more closely than I had ever done before.  The walk reminded me of a time when I worked in a program that included an Aboriginal consultant.  Once a month he/she was expected to give a seminar on indigenous matters to raise cultural awareness.  I had forgotten about the spiritual relevance of these areas to indigenous people.  It is a vast area that covers several suburbs where the lake flows.  It is considered part of the spiritual understanding and has special relevance on the inter-relationships between human, physical and spiritual worlds.  Reflecting on this, was a grounding experience.

I walked this path with my children more than twenty years ago.  No, not walked, I chased their laughter as they ‘wheeeeeeed’ down the undulating pathway, then huffed and puffed as I pushed them upwards, when tired legs could not longer ride.  I learned fast as a single mother with limited funds, any wheeled toy was great fun for the children.  Inline skates, two wheeled scooter, skateboard or a bike were favourites at different stages of their development.  My children kept me fit with their enjoyment.  As complicated life was, it remains a time of treasured memories.

On Sunday, it felt full circle.  A sense of oneness with nature, with experiences past and present and feelings.  It is still dark today while I reflect on this. In the distance I can hear the laughter of kookaburras.  Today, I don’t need to hear them, to make me smile.

Life is good when one learns the art of carpe diem.  Yes, the concept may be underpinned by cognitive science, but, I believe, it is an art.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird



Gold in the garden

The first gold leaf on the mulberry tree should have signalled the arrival of autumn.   But winter, in haste it seems, bumped autumn off the seasonal chart.  Taken by surprise the leaves clung to limbs before succumbing to relentless rain.  Not all is lost though.  When the sun shines, the garden ornaments, now buried shoulder deep in drying leaves project an air of autumn.  There is some comfort in order, in sequence, in predictability, so I’ve resisted calling my gardener for a clean up, at least, for now.

While the trees and shrubs shed leaves, the garden is bountiful.  The citrus trees are fruiting.  To my surprise, a shrub is glowing with lanterns of gooseberries.  Rare to find in the greengrocers, and when they do, it is usually in summer, so unseasonal fruit is a surprise.  There are hundreds of gooseberries on the shrub.  They appear as a pretty yellow flower, they curl into themselves only to appear as fruit.  The transformation is fascinating.  So far, I’ve found only one that has ripened in its crisp paper lantern.  It is the first fruit I’ve ever grown to fruition.  Tangy and sweet, it was delicious!

Far from country where resources are wrestled from earth, I am finding gold unexpectedly in my garden.  The birds are becoming accustomed to my benign presence.  I am keeping them company, instead of the other way around.  This, too, is an unexpected delight.

I am discovering the child in me again.  One that is curious.  One that hopes.  One that dreams.  And, when faced with reality, one that watches in wonder to find all things are possible.  Much like the tiny honeyeater.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Diamond country

I visited the East Kimberley region of Western Australia a couple of years ago when, although winter, it was very hot up north.  Kununurra, a major town in this region is some 3000+ kms from Perth.  The beauty of this region is humbling and best enjoyed in silence.

Our hotel was just across the road from Lily Creek Lagoon.  Boab trees grew along the rim of the large creek.  It was hauntingly beautiful at daybreak.  The area has warning signs for freshwater crocodiles and although less aggressive than the deadly saltwater crocs, I was wary but found the surrounds irresistible.

Lake Argyle, a large artificial lake, is the lifeline of mining and agriculture, in this region.  This is also diamond country where the pink Argyle diamonds are found.  The landscape is more beautiful than the most expensive bling dug from earth.

About 400 kms away from Kununurra is Halls Creek, a historic gold mining town.  Just on the outskirts of town is China Wall, a quartz outcrop that erupts from the ground for several kilometres, rising from and disappearing into the red earth intermittently.  It is the longest known fault of its kind in the world.  In places, it is several meters high.  At the base is a pool with palm trees growing, an oasis, in this harsh beautiful country.  Unfortunately, to access it, the camera had to be left behind.

Raised with the fear of snakes, I initially resisted my companion’s urging to explore the oasis.  Like I said, it was hot.  I also know there is a simple equation in the bush, where there is water they are birds, small animals and, naturally, snakes.  Climbing down was easier than I anticipated.  The rocks were scorching hot.  They made our descent even quicker!  Once down we realised we hadn’t anticipated the challenge of summit.  Climbing over hot rocks, some more than a metre high, was made harder by our laughter, squeals of pain and fear of what could be lurking in the crevices!  Once in the car, I was exhilarated.

In looking over these pictures recently I had an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, a “I did it!” moment.   It fuelled me to reconsider what is my biggest challenge these days.  Running my own business, the work-life balance has been elusive and has been for a while.  The largely sedentary lifestyle of planes, cars and chairs has impacted my fitness.  It prevents me from working on my bucket list where there are gorges to visit and walking trails to explore.  It is stealing joy by stealth.

The insidious nature of stress is that one gets used to it.  Relaxation is the pole opposite and can make one feel uncomfortable.  To counter this I am starting slowly.  A walk every day.  Around the lake in good weather.  Undercover, in the shopping centre, when it rains.  Much to my surprise I wake each morning and allocate time to do this.  I leave my camera behind and enjoy being ‘in the moment’ where ever I am.  To do this requires art and science.

Although the science of behaviour modification is familiar to me, it took a New York journalist, Charles Duhigg’s book, ‘The Power of Habit’, to practice it.  My late father used to say, words are words, but it is how you hear them, matters.  My father was right.  Sometimes, words like diamonds, once chiselled and faceted, sparkle.

May you hear what you need to hear today.  And, may it change your life, for the better.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird


A migrant, like me

He is a slender man with skin the colour of roasted coffee beans.  In his late twenties, I estimate quickly.  His taxi is as clean as his simple blue shirt.  He settles into the driver’s seat and lowers sunglasses over long lashed eyes.  I know he has caught my gaze in the rearview mirror.  When he smiles he is a boy again.  His dimples are deep.  I like him immediately.

As I close my eyes and sink lower into the backseat, he turns on the air con and asks if I’m comfortable.  A thoughtful gesture that makes my eyes glisten in a world of competing demands.  I enjoy the solitude for a few seconds.  Unable to tolerate the silence he blurts out, “I remember you.  You are the lady who works very hard for her family.”  I try and minimise my lifestyle amid his insistent, “no, no, you travel a lot”.   He remembers our previous conversation in vivid detail.  He asks if I’m going to Broome again.  I now remember him, as among other things, we had talked about camels.  He is from the Middle East and as a child was a witness to the unspeakable terror of war.  I’m ashamed he has remembered more about me than I have of him.

He talks impulsively.  Recalling our previous conversation, he tells me he too has a bucket list now.  He wants to provide for his young children like I have done for mine.  It is possible in “this beautiful country” to achieve this, “if you work hard”.  I sense this is his daily mantra.

He has no other plans than to give his children a childhood they remember rather than one he tries hard to forget.

I knew I liked him the moment I met him.  This time I don’t want to forget him, so I offer him a home where I live, the space between the keyboard and screen.

And, perhaps, in your thoughts, when you meet or see someone like him.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird

The Old Timer

DSCN0580It is my first weekend home without external demands.  I’ve enjoyed working at my own pace and targeted chores that were meaningful to me.  As the day winds down I can’t help but remember some of the far away spaces where I was just a mere speck in an enormous land.  This came to mind …

I am seated outdoors at a regional airport, the building is no bigger than a suburban home.  The luggage is off loaded in an open shed.  The word Security is not part of spoken or written language around these parts.  There are no warnings to travellers about their unattended luggage or cars blocking the entrance.  The car park is spacious with 20 bays.  There is no need to park at the door.  This is country life.  The shed is empty now after a small spill of people emerged from the flight that will take me back home.  The announcer says passengers will depart from Gate 1.  It is a superfluous announcement.  There is no Gate 2.  Indoors, my frame is just below the level of heavy backpacks.  The miners are going home too.  I am safer outside until the crush at the small check in counter dissipates.  Near me are two young men, dressed in tee-shirts, jeans and new steel capped shoes.  Their mining uniform is tucked into the gym bag, their hard hat, two sizes too small, sits atop their head like a crown.  Their arms and chest are smooth sculptured muscle, large enough to provide a backdrop for tribal designs to be inked into their skin.  Fresh out of university, the young engineers flaunt their salary in body art.  At right angles sits The Old Timer, his face aged faster by the sun than years.  His legs are stretched out in front of him.  People, including me, respect his space and step over his dusty boots carefully.  He is comfortable in the usual uniform of the area, the reflective stripes glowing bright against the red dust he wears.

The Old Timer sucks at his hand rolled cigarette throwing his head back to take in every bit of smoke into his lungs that crackle like electricity.  He turns his head to the left and blows out steadily.  At the end, the effort convulses his body into a coughing fit.  When he catches his breath he closes his eyes and is deep in thought.  The two young men are waiting for him to speak and in those seconds, the graphic on their laptop screen collapses and then resurrects itself upwards in a kaleidoscope of beautiful colours.  The same graphic is in the Old Timer’s head.  He sees it covered in dust.  He knows it well.  It has not moved in years.  It has always been the same colour.  He speaks slowly, “I reckon”, he pauses, eyes closed.  “It’s the third valve on the right that’s carked it.  Fix ‘er and that water pump will run.  Sweet as.”  A stream of smoke fills the silence when he stops speaking.  The two men focus on the computer again conferring softly.  His wisdom shared, the Old Timer stands up, the momentum makes his back arch back, a little too far, or perhaps it is the weight of his stomach on spindley legs.  One young man laughs and says something inaudible but the Old Timer hears the comment.  When his coughing subsides he states emphatically, “Bin smokin 40 years.  Buggered if I stop now.”  With that parting shot, he gets into his 4WD with dust licking the sides like flames, and drives away, leaving behind his absence in the shed a void that is wider and deeper, from where he came.

His kind is iconic of this region, deep in mining country, but sadly, few and far between.  So it is not surprising, the memory of his honest eyes, watery and as blue as the sea he has not seen, is what I take home with me and now share with you.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird

What seeds need …

Some Australian flora need the intensity of a bushfire to bloom.  The hard exterior hides the most beautiful, delicate flowers in colours of white, cream, gold, orange, red, and pink.  I find this in people too.  The toughest, most disgruntled person, can have a kind moment. A generous moment.  A soft spot.  A chink in their armour, where something beautiful resides.

My last trip, for now, just happened to be to Kalgoorlie, the wild, wild, west gold mining town.  Much to my surprise I’ve come to enjoy my trips here.  Through my camera, I see it with new eyes.  The recent heavy rainfall over this parched arid landscape has transformed it.  New gum nuts are waiting to burst with colour and will be in bloom when I visit next.  For now, they hang, covered in silver, in boughs of softest grey-green.

The short ten minute drive to the hotel from the airport is an interesting one.  The taxi driver, a mountain of a man, lumbers out of his seat to load my suitcase into the boot.  I have met him on several occasions on prior trips.  He has found a way to communicate with me after the first silent ride.  He is well over 6 ft something.  Heavy of build.  Hair and beard that have been untrimmed for years.  He wears predominantly black clothing and big leather boots.  A belt, the size of a conveyor belt, props up his belly.  He is a poster child of a life lived on his terms.

Buckled in, I tell him it’s my last trip for a while and surprisingly I’m experiencing a sense of sadness of not being in the Goldfields for a while.  He takes over the conversation.  He has lived 54 of his 58 years in this town.  His voice is now filled with affection and warmth as he tells me about his grandmother and mother, also locals of these parts.  He is a child of this land.  In the dark of the cab, I am a child too, as I listen in awe to what he tells me.

He tells me about his trips bush where he goes shooting feral animals, for the pet meat industry, with a friend.  In a hushed voice, (“You should see …”), he shares the secrets of the landscape and about the carpets of wildflowers in regions around the Goldfields in late August, early September.  There are Sturt Desert Peas, and pink and white everlastings, banksia, acacia and gum, all flowering across acres of flat land and over ridges.  A fire in recent years has resulted in a blaze of colours across a landscape that is usually blue of sky and red of earth.  There are huge billabongs, water holes, where all kinds of birds visit and stain the sky with colour when they lift off en masse.  He talks about the clear nights under a canopy of a million stars while billy tea is brewing and damper is being baked in ashes.  “Ah! there’s nothing like it!”  he states softly and with conviction, confirming it to himself.  He paints pictures in words and, enthralled, I almost asked him to take me with him!

Warm in my hotel bed, in the still moments before sleep, I planned my trip driving across this countryside in spring.  I want to experience the land of story.

Like I’ve said before, there are no coincidences.  Some things are just meant to be.

May you experience a happy encounter today.  One that transforms the ordinary, into extraordinary.

As always,

a dawn bird



A colleague recently asked me when would I stop working.  Three years came to mind immediately.  Why?  I’m not sure.  But, it’s a good span of years.  Not too distant, and not too immediate.  On reflection, I’m not sure what retirement would mean to me.  I’m enjoying life the way it is and the way it was meant to be, for me.

Looking back on my work history, I realised I have worked with keyboards for a long time and learnt to touch type on a manual typewriter.  A S D F.  You know the drill.  Changing inky ribbons was a chore on clumsy days.  Moving overseas I was introduced to the electric typewriter.  Only the senior secretary was allowed to have one.  Observing her type on it was a thrill!  Working for a science professor meant changing fonts by lifting the ball head for italicized letters or Greek symbols, a tedious task by any account.  Then came the word processer, the size of a room, followed soon after by the little boxy Mac.  I wrote this seated in a small plane typing on my laptop.  Just like technology, I’ve come a long way.

Did I ever have ambition?  If doing something different to what I was doing is ambition, then yes, I did have ambition.  Did I aim to be materially successful?  I can’t recall thinking along those lines.  I just wanted to be happy doing what I was doing.  Working 9-5 in an office never satisfied me and gnawed at my insides like hunger.

Seated high above the clouds I found myself looking outside the window.  The landscape is a familiar one.  Once past the bumps along the Perth Hills, the land has dark splashes of forest that give way to a patchwork of gold and green farmland.  The closer we get to Esperance, pink spots in the green fields appear, where algae transforms drinking holes periodically.  This is my route to work every month.  It beats the gridlock of city traffic any day!

In Esperance I drive by the golf course and keep an eye out for the Cape Barren Geese.  If they are around, they flock here.  In over 30 trips to Esperance I’ve only seen them twice.  Once in formation overhead and once on the ground.  They are iconic around these parts but seeing them is never guaranteed.  They are considered to be some of the rarest geese on earth.  So I’ve posted some photographs to share as I find the geese endearing.  The geese are large, almost prehistoric looking.  They have a tab stuck to the top of their beak.  I’m sure it is functional in some way, but it looks like an afterthought!  Large on the ground, they are graceful in flight, a feathered airliner.  They are expert navigators.

My work has opened up new worlds to me.  Never would I have dreamed this was possible for the young woman who worked for others.  I am now my own boss.  Like the geese, I have navigated my way through life, at least, thus far, successfully.  I work for pleasure, the rewards and gains, are incidental.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird




The small turbo engine plane found its way out of Perth through a blue eye that peered from a darkened sky.  Just over an hour later, it was late afternoon when I arrived in Esperance.  It felt like the middle of winter.  Cold, dark, wet and windy. In fields, now greener than they were last month, black faced sheep kept their lambs close to them.  Closer to my hotel, the young Pacific Gull fished out a crab and feasted on it in my presence.  Perhaps the animals sensed the imminent storm that was to hit the next day.

I woke to the sound of rain.  The Bay, usually calm, gushed waves over the rock wall.  It rained for hours.  The wind howled.  With no electricity, none of the three cafes could serve early breakfast.  I went to work hungry and craving a hot coffee.  The weather was consistent all day.  Just after ten am I felt the sofa slide, just a bit, to the left.  Then heard and felt the grind of rock on rock.  Alarmed I looked at the person I was with.  She confirmed “that’s an earthquake”!  It was a tremor from a 4.4 earthquake in another town, some 200 kms away.  The 11th tremor to be felt in Esperance in a few days.

Trapped in a hotel due to poor weather, I craved being outdoors with my camera.  The gods were kind to me.  As I drove to the airport to return home, the sun came out briefly.  I took five minutes to drive to Lake Warden and found winter colour in the bush.  The yellow acacia tree was in full bloom.  So also the red bottlebrush.  Gorgeous pink flowers hung low on the Silver Princess gum trees while pink protea below waited to bloom.  I also found some very delicate gum flowers, pale pink almost lavender.  I hadn’t seen these before.  In a field across the road, the sun shone brighter for a few seconds, illuminating the blonde Scottish Highland cattle and setting it aglow.  These are moments captured to savour in my own time.

They say pink is the colour of hope.  The word Esperance, translated in French, means hope.  It is also known for the Pink Lake.  But never before have I enjoyed the pinks of Esperance as I did this trip when it was dark and grey.  The pinks in blooms were vivid.  In the midst of winter, they signalled spring.  And why shouldn’t they?  Isn’t that what hope is all about?

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird


My routine is pretty set at the airport.  I go through Security and head straight to the book shop.  It is getting increasingly difficult to buy something I don’t already have.  On my last trip, a lone book in the Bestsellers section caught my eye, ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg.  As I paid for it the cashier commented, she had just ordered more books as this one “just flew out the door”.  As I read it, I hoped the book impacts others in a positive way as it seems to have done for me, in a few short days.

I don’t believe in coincidences.  I believe everything happens for a reason.  We may not know why, how or where.  But, there is purpose in every interaction.  While waiting for the flight, delayed yet again, as I put away my book, someone near me took the opportunity to strike up a conversation telling me the details of her visit to the city.  More than 12 years younger than me, a few kilos lighter and no risk factors in her life or family history, she had recently suffered a heart attack.  Her doctors told her the only thing missing in her lifestyle was exercise.  She is busy with family and community, she stated, so she drives everywhere.  I took note.  Like I said, there are no coincidences in life.  She, together with the book, I believe, changed mine over a few days, and will continue to change mine in the days to come.

I have been living under the misconception, I eat healthy.  I don’t buy cakes, muffins or biscuits for the home.  I only eat them if I bake them myself.  The only time I buy butter is when I bake.  I don’t buy sugared boxed cereals.  I rarely buy bread.  I eat bacon very rarely.  It’s been more than 25 years since I ate junk food chicken and have no intention to eating it any time soon.  I rarely eat pizza or hamburgers.  A novelty in town, I ate a Krispy Kreme doughnut two years ago.  I try and eat ‘oily’ fish (salmon, sardines) at least twice a week.  But, when I reflect, I am cued by my environment when I’m not home and without realising it, I have developed unhealthy habits.  At a hotel where breakfast is included I eat toast with butter and marmalade, I eat tinned fruit, boxed cereal.  All the foods I don’t ordinarily eat … just because I anticipate a busy day with no breaks.  I eat a packet of potato chips on the flight (something I never buy).  Staying away from fish or chicken when I travel, I eat steak at least ten times a month.  There is no way around it.  My diet is unhealthy.  So when cued, I made a choice.  A conscious choice to change a habit and doing so I found, by lunch time I consumed over 600 calories less than I normally would have in a day and I was not hungry.  If I kept this up, over a year, it is close to 100,000 calories less than I would have eaten.  And, that is just a change in breakfast and midmorning snack!

With the surprising revelation of my unhealthy dietary habits, the challenge now is to find time to fit in exercise.  Wish me luck!

There are no photographs with this post.  Just words.  Because, it is the words of strangers that made a difference in my life.  If you are struggling with similar dilemmas, my wish is that you, too, find a way to enhance your lifestyle and life.

As always

a dawn bird

It’s how you see it …

Often we expect things to be the same, just because they were the previous time.

Take for example my recent trip to the Pilbara.  I love the hotel I stay at and happily got an opportunity three times in two months to do just that.  I’ve mentioned before, the hotel is an oasis in rugged mining country.  So, of course, I was expecting the frangipanis and birds to be as abundant as they were on previous trips.  Sadly, I did not anticipate seasonal changes.  I spotted only two honeyeaters in the hotel grounds.  I found the zebra finch enjoyed skimming the road side verges along the highway, in preference to the garden lawns.  Perhaps what was growing there is what they need at this time of year.  At 70 km/hr and no safe place to stop, I could only catch a glimpse of them as I sped along.   There were changes in the frangipanis too.  The brilliant white flowers took a step back and the beautiful pinks have taken centre stage.  I also noticed some in shades of peachy mango but leaving early in the morning, did not get a chance to see them respond to the sun command, “Bloom!”

But, this trip, I saw the Pilbara in her natural beauty.  The rugged landscape.  The native resilient flora.  The Sturt Desert Pea was growing in the scrub near the car park.  These had a red centre and not the distinctive ‘black eye’.  And, a tree caught my eye.  I thought I saw tinsel streaming off branches.  It looked stunning under a fierce afternoon sun.  So I turned around and although I could see the shimmering sparkle with my eye, the camera could not pick up the sun on the long seed pods that glistened tantalisingly.  Nature can be a beguiling seductress!  On the way to the airport to pick up a colleague who arrived on a later flight, I stopped about a kilometre away from the entrance, in a small area near the salt pans where I know is frequented by birds.  While texting a friend to while away the time I took a few photographs.  In the vastness of the landscape I found, some subjects add delicacy while making a bigger contribution to the overall moment.

On the flight home I scanned through my photographs.  The perfection in a frangipani, yet to bloom, came into sharper focus.  I leaned into my seat satisfied I had got the pictures I wanted.  Glancing outside the window I found the colours I had seen in the flower were reflected in a Pilbara sunset.  I returned home with more than what I anticipated.

Like I say, it’s how you see it …

May your eye see ‘it’ today.

As always

a dawn bird