This week Indians around the world will celebrate the festival of Diwali.  A festival that celebrates good over evil, light over darkness through lighting decorations and spectacular fireworks.

As a child growing up in India, Diwali was anticipated with delight.  Hundreds of earthenware saucers would be bought and the children would sit with adults in circles and roll wickers of cotton wool between their palms.  The saucers would be placed in decorative fashion around home, the wickers placed in them, and oil poured carefully to fill the saucers.  At dusk the wickers would be lit.  It cast a soft glow.  It was fairyland.  Then came the fireworks.  Huge explosions in the sky and the triangles that shot spouts of fire from ground level.  The strings of red ‘crackers’ that skidded around or leapt in the air.  The ‘bees’, tiny curled fireworks that buzzed unpredictably from the ground and into the sky.  (How did that ever pass the safety inspection!).  The nervous and raucous laughter of teens who loved the dance of danger.  People would be dressed in new clothing.  Homes would be thoroughly spring cleaned.  Strangers were welcomed by genteel hospitality.  Trays of sweets and goodies would be sent around the neighbourhood as a gesture of celebration and good will.  The premise being, the more you give, the more blessings you receive in return.  So largesse, was the order of the day.

Although my birth country may have changed now from when I left it, the memories remain and have shaped who I am today.

I believe in the bond of true friendship.  The kind that gives, more than it takes.  I believe when we engage with others this way, we celebrate life.  We celebrate being alive.

I have no fireworks or earthenware sauces to light today except the fireworks that Mother Nature has provided and the wish that your heart, home and life be lit with love, light and prosperity at Diwali.

I will light a tea light at dusk scented with essential oils of ‘Peace’.  When I do, I will think of you.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird




Big Swamp, Bunbury, Western Australia


How often has one heard someone suggest, “You should …” and never follow up on the suggestion?  Of course, when the place being suggested is called, quite simply, “Big Swamp” and does not even have ‘The’ to distinguish it, one can be fooled into thinking it is an ordinary place.

With an early start back to Perth I knew I had a full day’s work ahead of me.  Decision making has been weighing me down lately.  Even the several hours of solitary driving, on other trips, would have been a welcomed space to reflect and plan.  But, not this morning.  I felt swamped.  Utterly swamped.

I drove out of the hotel at 4.30 am to clear my head.  A lone dolphin broke the surface intermittently at Koombana Bay.  Two fishermen, launching their boat at Leschenault Inlet, were surprised to see me up so early and in typically Australian vernacular, say, “You’re up early mate!”  “I keep fishermen and farmers’ hours”, I tell them.  Their laughter rises above the throttle of the engine.

Still restless, and with the sun now fully crested, I drove down Ocean Drive looking for coffee.  Then I remembered ‘Big Swamp’.  I turned left and found it with ease.  I circuited Prince Philip Drive and Tuart Street a couple of times.  My attempt at recon, this being unfamiliar territory.

I park my car and watch a man with a boxer and a smaller dog stop and let a duck and six ducklings cross in front of them.  Within striking distance, the dogs are still and silent. People and animals live in harmony here.  I step out of my car to air that is alive with the sound of birds and “Good morning”.  I am home.

The peppermint gum tree, an ordinary looking tree, has tendrils of beautiful delicate flowers.  The grove of paperbark trees is an enchanted forest.  The honeyeaters, loud.  The bottlebrush, much like me, is bursting to bloom.  The New Holland honeyeater is bold, flies past my nose and clutches a flower less than six inches away from me, tilting his head with curiosity.  So close, my camera is difficult to focus, so I move away.  He stays.  This is his territory.  I see native wildflowers entwined in embrace.

By now, like a wild child, I know no boundaries because none were imposed.  I stop for a moment, confused, and try to find my bearings, when suddenly, and perfectly, the Splendid Blue Wren, dropped from the tree on the ground before me, like a bright blue leaf.

I left Big Swamp reluctantly, making a silent promise.  I will return.  It is no longer unfamiliar territory.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird

Love, Broome

In a coastal town deep in the south west, the surf was pounding at my feet below while I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of buttered toast and Vegemite.  A movement caught my eye and I glanced up.

She is seated near by, almost within arm’s reach.  The skin on her face moves like a concertina accordion in motion.  She is playing the music of smiles between strangers.  Hesitant, unsure.  We hold each other gaze a moment longer, and the moment sets her face aglow.  Her smile comes from a place where she keeps good memories.  Encouraged she says, with utter delight, “You’re a Vegemite kid!”  We both laugh at the incongruity of this observation.

We start talking and she tells me she is from Broome.  “I’ve just returned from there!” I respond, the comment invigorates a new friendship.  “I lived there from the war years until 1954”.  An only daughter among several sons, she lived free among the mangroves.  “Of course, there were snakes, but no crocodiles”, she tells me in a hushed voice of caution.  “There was only Chinatown.  Now …” her voice fades wistfully.

I tell her about Crab Creek where I watched birds live in harmony and the red earth bleed into the sea, my attempts at photographing the lesser sand plover at Cable Beach, the pindan cliffs of Roebuck Bay at dawn, the Shinju Matsuri Festival where art finds a home on shore.  Our smiles find a resting place here too.  Soon, her elderly husband helps her up on her crutches.  She limps to the door way, stops and turns around to look one last time.  Nostalgia is reflected in her eyes as blue as the sea she frolicked in, and as warm as the sun above it.  She is not looking at me, but at her beloved Broome.

Little did she know, so was I.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” Theodore Roethke

It’s a beautiful Sunday.  Spring has arrived late.  Overwhelmed by the demands and deadlines I have to meet, I impulsively dressed and escaped by driving 70 kms to visit Araluen Botanic Gardens.  I went to see the tulips.  They bloom beautifully, all 100,000 or so in spring.  But, I was two weeks too late.

The gardens are undulating.  The eye candy helped me stop and catch my breath.  Among thousands of flowers, the ones that caught my eye were the ones that shone in the light.  The light, it seemed, came from within.

What comes from within is important.  It is nurtured there by self, and adjusted by others, throughout one’s lifespan.  Nature and nurture.  If the combination is right.  If the influences are right.  You get an optimum result.

Every so often I come across people where this calibration has gone wrong.  When it does, it is quite tragic.  What doesn’t shine, shows.  It is visible to all except self.  And, therein lies the tragedy.

May you find the right light to guide you today.

Until next time,

As always

a dawn bird

@ dawn


“If life had a second edition, how would I correct the proofs”, so said John Clare.

For me, every day is a second edition.

We are always given a chance to ‘correct’, modify, clarify, consolidate, reflect, edit, amend, add.  For me, this process starts at dawn.

Reflection can be uncomfortable for some but, over time, it can become a place of sanctuary.  A place of renewal. When we practice this consciously, mindfully, we enrich our life and of those who cross our path.

May you find a few minutes of renewal in your sanctuary, today.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird

Stella Maris (sea star)


For those who look, there is guidance in stars.  Travellers on land and sailors on sea scan the skies to find their bearings.  Some look to stars of media, from whom they model their behaviour.  There are stars in cyber space (Instagram, Pinterest, come to mind).  There are stars within family systems, as bright, or brighter, that guide future generations, than those found in astronomy.  Then, there are stars that guide others, who seek them, in astrology.

For some, Our Lady, Star of the Sea, is a prayer.  A symbol of guidance, of hope, of safety, of protection.

So to find a sea star at my feet, alive, at Cable Beach, Broome, was fortuitous.  Yes, I believe there is guidance in stars.

I’ve been focusing on living mindfully.  I’ve been attempting to appreciate the experience of the moment, and I’m finding this to be larger than the sum of all others.  Early one morning while walking mindfully, step by step, it was no curious thing for me to find a sea star at my feet.  It is an interesting creature.  The sea star is not a fish.  It has no brain.  It uses nerve endings that travels the length of the limbs.  It senses.  It survives by using this strategy.  It can regenerate a limb, when one is lost, to be whole again.  How can a creature without a brain, be so powerful? (Wannabe ‘leader of the free world’ excepted!).

Being busy, one loses the capacity to sense.  One dances to the rhythm of demands.  And, when one can hear and one can feel a bum note, one ignores it.  Rhythm takes over.  Because.  One.  Is.  Busy.  Then the bum note reaches a crescendo.  It is unmistakable.  It demands one heeds.  It demands one responds.  It demands one stops, looks and listens.  It is all about savouring the moment.  Living the moment.  Pleasant or unpleasant.

I heard the bum note.  I stopped.  I looked.  I saw.  And, I listened.  My life has been enriched because I did.

Yes, I’ve learned to renew my life through new experiences.  Through my senses.

My wish for you today is that your footsteps be mindful.   And may your path, too, be guided by a star today.

As always,

a dawn bird

Home is where roses bloom

After a whirlwind of trips, walking up to the front door, flanked by dozens of roses is a welcome like no other.

Waking to the sounds of birds in the garden, the beep of the garbage truck, the whistle of the kettle in the kitchen, the churning of clothes in the washing machine, may be mundane to some, but music to my ears.

I am home.


But home … and, where I am rested and happy.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird


About storms …

I was taught to believe storms are dangerous.  Perhaps, some are.  But not all.  Storms can be transformative.

As mentioned in the previous post, we are experiencing unseasonal weather.  Busselton, in fact most of the South West was buffeted by strong winds and rain.  I am learning to experience a storm differently.

I woke one morning, pre dawn, and rather than stay in bed, I went outdoors only to find the cloud formations were wonderful.  They were huge and hung so low, one could almost touch them.  The iconic Busselton Jetty that curves some 1.8 kms over the Bay in the morning light, was serene and more beautiful under a stormy sky.  During the day clouds were like a careless blanket cover thrown halfway across the Bay.  At sunset, still gorgeous and making a fiery statement, every sunset is a new day elsewhere.

Storms make us look upwards.  We try and interpret what we see.

I did not see a rainbow this time.

As always

a dawn bird

Wetlands, in the south-west

It’s been busy with little time to keep up with my blog.  I’ve taken hundreds of pictures that need sorting.  It’s a task to do.

I woke one morning recently in Busselton.  A small town in the south west of Western Australia.  I’ve grown to love visiting here.  The Bay is always beautiful.  One morning I decided to stay in bed instead of scouting around with my camera.  But, with my hotel balcony facing east, it was a fleeting thought.  I drew the curtains thinking I’ll watch the sunrise from the comfort of bed.  (We have been experiencing a lengthy, unseasonal winter, in spring).  The storm clouds were tinted pink.  I had to experience the moment.

I’ve been looking at real estate in this town and thought I’d take the road to my left, just to explore.  Driving for a while along the coast with little traffic, I turned off the music and turned down the windows.  There is something special just listening to the sound of sunrise.  Then, in the quiet, I heard them.  Unmistakable!  There was birdlife.  A lot of birdlife!  Somewhere close.  Somewhere within reach.  I followed the calls.

The wetlands were a delight and surprise.  Under a massive storm cloud, there was a colony of water birds.  Most of which were perched in trees.  They were waking to a new day and wanted every one to know about it.  I usually see ibis across the State, solitary, or in a small group of two or three.   Here, I stopped counting just past 50.

Enthralled I sat quietly in the car and watched the colony interact.  All water birds, they were different.  The ibis, the cormorant, the heron.  Some sharing the same branch.  Each seeing the world from their vantage point.  Sharing from the same pool.  Their tasks were similar.  One cared for the chicks, while the other brought food back to the nest.  Migratory, they have learned the art and science of being magnanimous.

Humans, migrants, do this too.

More later …

Until then,

As always,

a dawn bird



Thoughts by the sea

“I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Anne Morrow Lindbergh is one of my favourite authors.  I return to her books often.  I think about her life and her works when I’m on Cable Beach.

Cable Beach in Broome is 22 km of pure bliss.  White sands, azure water, and fabulous sunsets.  There have been many happy times there in the company of others, chatting, sipping a drink or walking.  But.  Yes, there is always a but!  But, I have enjoyed many, dare I say, happier times there on my own.

On my own I’ve walked the beach oblivious of its sweeping beauty.  I’ve drowned out chatter.  I’ve walked looking down at my feet where I have found beauty beyond words.  Today I want to share the rocks with you.  The rocks of the Kimberley region are gorgeous.  The colours, the shapes, the stories of ancient times.  Just before my trip a new dinosaur footprint was found on a rock in a new area of the beach.  (There are known dinosaur footprints at one end of the beach).

The tides always leave behind gifts.  There have been times I have watched the tide recede before walking, my step quickening in anticipation.  Sometimes, thousands of shells are left behind.  Sometimes, clear rock pools.  But, always, generous gifts to the seeing eye.

Embracing the ebb and flow of tides is a life lesson.  There is predicability in the movement of tides.  What goes out, comes in again.

I have left nothing behind on Cable Beach except my footprints, my joy, my solitude.  I believe the tides will return them to me.  I can’t wait to return and receive more gifts from the sea.

Until then,

As always

a dawn bird

Wild Flowers

I recently visited the Mid-west region of Western Australia.  Geraldton is a coastal town some 400 km north of Perth and Dongara, a fishing hamlet some 60 kms south of Geraldton, are known for fishing, in particular, cray fishing.  These parts are also known for the wildflowers that bloom in spring.  This year the conditions were just right and the flowers have been magnificent.  I caught a glimpse of them while driving between these two towns.  They were spectacular.

There were acres of pink, white and yellow everlastings.  Purple Patterson’s Curse is a toxic weed for horses but prolific in paddocks.  There were tall trees covered in blooms.  I got out of my car once and attempted to walk.  The flowers were so dense and fearing snakes, I was cautious and did not venture far.

Western Australia is known for its wildflowers in spring.  I had heard about them but never had the opportunity or desire to see them.  But then, I had no idea what I was missing!

Life can be like that.  But, not any more.  I am on a mission!  I will see it all.  I will experience it all.  Nothing will stop me now.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Spring, never arrived …

We are a month into spring, that has not yet arrived.  It is reported to be the longest and coldest winter we have experienced in a while.  For me, it has been longer and colder.

It felt like being in the throes of winter today.  I made an effort this morning to brave a blustering, biting wind that made my eyes tear.  Camera in hand, rugged up, I went outside to spend some time in the garden.  I walked around, looking for perfection and inhaling deeply, much like a mother who examines and nuzzles her newborn.  I was not disappointed.  The ornamental fruit tree is just starting to bloom.  I love the tiny, white flowers.  They grow on stark branches.  The geraniums continue to be in full bloom, pretending it is summer in their corner of the garden.  They are flamboyant in an otherwise staid landscape.  The lemon tree is in bud.  A tiny butterfly kept me company refusing to move and standing her ground in a fierce gust.  A lesson taught in a nanosecond to a willing student.

Ask anyone about the weather and the response will be, “I’m over it!”  Cold does this to people.  It makes them burrow into themselves, not daring to stretch.

Yes, I’m over it too.  I am over the cold.  And, I know the only way to counter cold is to seek warmth.  And, to do this, I must leave you …

As always

a dawn bird