Winter in Bridgetown, Western Australia

Bridgetown, is some 250 km in the South West of Western Australia.  You head down to Bunbury, a two hour drive on a straight highway and then turn east.  Another hour or so of winding, undulating roads, flanked by orchards and farmland and you arrive at Bridgetown, a quiet, staid place known for its annual Jazz Festival.  I love this town.  It has historic architecture with many of the buildings on the main street being over 100 years old, rolling hills, excellent pub food, a renowned cidery and busy theatre.  It has an air of rural gentility that is palpable.

Winter in Bridgetown is cold but made warmer by splashes of sunshine yellow acacia that bloom on tall trees or hedges, wherever you look.  Quite stunning!  One of my favourite stops is near the river where a historic property, now a 5 acre bed and breakfast place.  The barn is a treasure trove of goodies and where you can always find Christmas ornaments.  The entrance is highlighted by the quirky pig statue.  The property eases down into the Blackwood River and where the geese are usually found.  I stopped here for respite from the storm on the way home, to find flower berries hung like a chandelier in the rain.  Then saw the geese.  For a split moment, their stillness, their perfection made me think they were garden ornaments!  The success of this historic place rests with the owners who have been excellent custodians of this property.  Their research has kept the history alive.  Sadly, the husband passed away two years ago.  I missed his presence.  It is a big business to manage single handedly and a responsibility that his wife has assumed with grace.  I felt a huge sense of empathy for her.

No sooner had I pulled away when the rain came down again and I sought refuge in another car park.  Thinking about my conversation a few minutes earlier about death and grief, I had time to think about my own mortality.  I’ve updated my will but had to decide what I wanted done with my ashes.  I always thought I’d like them scattered in the ocean.  But when talking to my children they reminded me I’m afraid of water!  My son then suggested, why not in the forest where one is always surrounded by birds.  How perceptive of him!  Yes, I am happy surrounded by birds.  I look for them.  I’m delighted by their behaviour.

As if in response to my thoughts, the sun had a ta da moment.  The rain stopped.  Glancing out the window I noticed a slight movement among the leaves and zooming in found it was a wren, but not blue.  Hopping nearby was a silvereye, eating insects that dropped off the acacia.  Exquisite!

My son is right.  When I pass, my spirit will always be free because I will be resting on the wings of birds.

As always,

a dawn bird


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