Gold, in Kalgoorlie Western Australia

As mentioned previously, the West coast of Australia received some unexpectedly high rainfalls in summer.  Travelling across the State, one can see a landscape transformed.  Naturally, rain dominates the topic of conversation.

I was recently in Kalgoorlie.  I had just missed the torrential rain they experienced.  The main roads were flooded and young folks shrieked while floating on inner tubes on previously dusty creeks.  Like I said, I had missed the rain but not it’s legacy.  Everywhere I go, the familiar is novel.  My eyes are greedy with awe at this nourished landscape as we fly in.  (I’ll post some photographs later).

As is my routine, I check the times for sunrise and sunset and set my alarm for the morning.  This time, I head out to Mt Charlotte.  I am alone with birdsong.  One of the most surprising things I have discovered in Kalgoorlie is the number of birds they have here.  Quite amazing given it is not an oasis of green.  The landscape is scrubby with elegant gum trees.  The earth is red.  The main street often streaked in bright orange or yellow clothing of those who work here.  This is gold mining country.

I’ve taken photographs of the town at sunset from Mt Charlotte.  The sun goes down on my right.  I’ve never photographed a sunrise here.  I know it must be on my left.  Duh!

Mt Charlotte is one of the highest points in town.  It is also an isolated spot with a few cars at sunset.  I never feel entirely safe here unless there is a busload of tourists.  At daybreak, I’m convinced there will be no one there.  I was right.

I needed little to convince myself, sunrise here will be awesome.  Almost bashful in my solitary presence, the horizon blushes, anticipating the spectacle that follows.  Within seconds, like the eye of God, sunlight streams directly over The Superpit, until recently, the biggest open cut gold mine in Australia.  For a split second I know I am not alone here.  The spirit of those who walked this land flood my thoughts.  The indigenous people, the pioneers, the entrepreneurs.  I am none of them.  Yet, I am.

I practice my mindfulness exercise for 15 minutes.  Once whole, I head to my day’s work.  No matter what the challenge, I know I can meet it.  I also know this is how a work day starts.

Until next time

As always,

a dawn bird

The Honeyeater



It was dark when I woke an hour before the freight train rumbled by at 6 am, less than a kilometre away.  I lie in bed and enjoy the vibration.  I know all is well.  This is my life.  This is familiar.

The honeyeater outside my chalet door in Merredin, Western Australia, is not.  Smaller than the ones I have in my garden, in the softest dawn light, his call is insistent and sweet. Under a harsher light, he is ordinary. Like me. In a garden filled with flowers, he knows what he wants. And, he is quick to seek it.

For a brief moment, he is silent and still.  So am I.

We share the same space.  Trust is a fragile intimacy.

I blink.  The camera clicks.  His company is fleeting, reinforcing the reality I face each day. I have no nectar.

His flight is as silent as unrequited love.  I look away from the camera.  I can only smile, because, he was once there.

Here’s hoping a memory makes you smile today. I know mine has.

Until next time,

As always,

A dawn bird

When new life begins …

Last spring while walking in a nature reserve a Willy Wagtail caught my eye.  They usually do, because they are joyful creatures.  They are quick, have the sweetest call, and shake their tail feather like we all should do.  I also find their company comforting.  They are fearless and will not fly away on approach.  So to find a bird in the tree, quiet and not moving was unusual.  I zoomed in but could not see clearly because of the thicket.  I thought it was trapped by a leg in the thick brush, and, fearful of predators, silent.  Early morning, still concerned, I returned to the area.  Amazingly, the thicket had cleared, what was blocking my view, fell away.  I could see clearly.  It was a mother in a nest.  The clarity and perfection of the moment, delighted me.

Over the next few visits, the nest disappeared.  A few days ago while walking in the same area, a tiny Willy Wagtail chick dropped at my feet.  Shiny, new, curious, fearless, trusting.  A new life has begun.  It gave me pause for thought.

The reality of life is simple. In Nature, seeds and eggs burst, break, crack, as part of the process that brings new life into being.

So also with people. Sometimes, things have to break or sever, for new life to begin.

May today find you are able to break free from all that binds and traps you. When you do, new life awaits you.


Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird

Jasmine, where home is …

Perth, Western Australia experienced a once in a 100 year weather event last week.  We were lashed by rain, some of the highest recorded falls and coldest summer days, in recent history.  It was undeniably winter, in the middle of summer.

I was hundreds of kilometres away and wondered how my parched summer garden was coping with the onslaught.  I made a cup of coffee early morning and went outdoors  … to this.

I have several different kinds of jasmine in my garden in shrub form and a climber.  The shrubs vary in size, with this one well over 8-10 feet high.  It is the most generous plant in my garden.  With a little nurturing, it lays down a perfumed carpet.  The bees love it, as do I!  A wonderful reminder … when you have something beautiful to give, a 100 year storm cannot destroy it.

The perfume of jasmine is where home is.  I recall in the India of my childhood, women wore strings or slender garlands of jasmine entwined in their braids or chignon.  It was a familiar adornment around homes and temples where garlands of flowers are hung over the entrance.  It was worn as a bracelet by teenagers, giddy with puberty.  A symbol of femininity and grace, it was a flower most closely associated with women.  My mother found the scent of jasmine too heady.  She preferred roses.  She often tucked a perfect rose bud alongside her chignon.

For me, the perfume of jasmine grounds me.  It reminds me of a time when I felt safe and secure.  The indelible memory, the experience, of being home.  And, that’s how I feel now.  As I write, the heaven scent wafts in intermittently.  I’m home.

May you find ‘home’ today where ever you may be.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


There’s a benevolent quality that comes to the fore in all when looking for ‘something special’ in Nature.

For some, a sunset is a sunset.  For others, it is an event.

Sitting at a waterfront pub at The Fascine with a colleague recently in Carnarvon, Western Australia, the visitors to town were obvious.  They eyed the soon-to-set sun and chose their table accordingly close to the heat of big glassed windows.  The locals buried themselves deep into the darkness of the indoors and away from the heat.  Others, cold beer in hand, sat on the ledge and directed the tourists where to find the best angle for their photograph, cautioning when an occasional car drove by.

I’ve always been drawn to the sky.

As a child in India I recall we would hire ‘summer beds’ for several months.  They would be lined up in the front yard with snowy white mosquito netting.  The maid would make up the beds just after dusk.  Slipping into a cool bed at night when the sun had gone down is a delicious sensory memory.  Chatting to our neighbourhood peers over the hedge and being constantly hushed to sleep is another memorable one.  We had no fear.  We were safe, in the open.  The monsoons would arrive, with rain showers predictably at midnight.  There would be a mad rush to take the bedding indoors to be set up hastily before we caught a few more hours sleep.  It was something that happened every night for several nights until the rains would appear almost constantly, day and night, before the summer beds were sent back, until next year.

I was always fascinated by the night sky.  By the stars.  By the moon.  It was my connection with the wider world.  It was the same Moon viewed by others around the world in faraway places.  It was a world I wanted to be part of.  Each summer night, I plotted and dreamed … one day …

My “one day” is here.  I still look at the sky with wonder.  How can I not?  There is one difference from my childhood.  This time, I want others to be part of my world.  So I share.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



Dawn is the best time for me.  I see clearly.  I think clearly.  I feel clearly.  I am synced best at this time of day.  It is my moment of mindfulness when all senses are intensified.  It is a moment that has taken years to acquire.  It is now an addiction.  I seek it every day.

I took this picture at dawn in Carnarvon, Western Australia, an image running adjacent to my hotel.  As soon as I took it, I had a visceral response.  I knew I had photographed what I had seen.  There was a feeling of authenticity that resonated deeply within me.

I don’t do this well with people.  If I feel slighted or in doubt when someone is being passive-aggressive, I tend to give them another chance, despite a bum note resonating in my body.  I second guess myself.  I make excuses for their behaviour, sometimes blaming myself.  No more.  And, I’m not just saying, no more.  I’m practising it.

As we get older, behaviours and habits are set in people unless they consciously want to change them.  If one lacks insight into their own behaviour and the impact it has on others, or perhaps even if they do know this and continue with their behaviour, then I know it is time to distance myself.  It is not my role or my responsibility to help them gain insight or be their change agent.

This kind of truth brings its own distress and joy.  The latter may be difficult to experience at the time because there is no harsher truth than discovering a friend’s behaviour for what it is.

Reflecting on Maya Angelou’s words, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” I know this is true.  As the picture shows, what is visible above the water line, is reflected perfectly below it.  But, you can only see it in a moment of clarity.

May you find your moment today.

Until next time,

As always

a dawn bird

Shark Bay, Western Australia

12:30 pm.  I arrive at the small airport, the one used for charter flights and off the main airport just in time to hear the announcement.  The flight to Sunrise Dam is delayed.  The voice on the PA adds, passengers can show their boarding pass at the counter and get a slice of pizza!  The room is filled with a sherbet volcanic eruption.  The miners in their high viz orange and yellow clothing, headed to the gold mine, some 1000 km northeast of Perth, hear the announcement too.  Soon the congo line snakes out the front door.  Some chomp their way through their free lunch with absolute focus, others comment with gusto, “Bloody good, eh!  Almost restaurant quality!” to anyone within ear shot.  Thirty minutes later with the most delicious pizza permeating the air, same announcement and the same result is repeated.  An eruption of colour, that settles into an orderly queue and hungry men returning to their seats with their spoils.  No angry customers.  No angry tantrums at flight delays.  No demands for better customer service.  I’m still smiling at the memory.

At university I recall my classmates making plans of working in private practice.  I can still remember one or two who had aims of working in West Perth, the mecca of health specialist services.  I recall one whose husband was adamant working in West Perth was the plan for her.  Perhaps due to my circumstances, life as a practitioner seemed so far away, that I really did not plan the distant future.  But I knew one thing for sure.  I was going to work differently.  Influenced by mentors who advocated universal health care, I wanted my services to be accessible.  From the time I was a student practitioner, my work focused on accessibility for all.  I had not thought this one through but now realize I had unconsciously made a commitment I would go to others when they were unable to come to me.  I have reaped many personal, spiritual and professional rewards from this kind of thinking.

At the time of writing this, I’m flying to Carnarvon, via Shark Bay, while glancing occasionally at the landscape below me, the bluest of seas, curved coastline and the occasional seaside hamlet.  The propeller plane flies low at 18,000 ft.  The coastline is visible but too far to recognize landmarks as the flight avoids the inclement weather over land.  Soon we will be stopping in Shark Bay.  I love this area.  The landscape is spectacular.  The plane meets the tarmac with a thud.  I always try and catch a glimpse of the tiny airport as we make a sharp turn.  A small shack, wire fence, a few white plastic chairs and a plastic table or two make up the whole airport.  This time, someone is waiting with a placard!  There are only two passengers on board who disembark.  There are twice as many people at the airport!  But, they are thoughtful and have come prepared with a home made cardboard placard!

The plane turns on a five cent piece and we take off again.  We seem to ascend faster than the descent.  Before I can catch my breath, we are air borne.  Thirty minutes later we land in Carnarvon, flying low over banana, watermelon and mango plantations.

On my return journey home from this region at sunset, the beauty left behind is fleeting as a backward glance.

As I reflect on this I am more and more convinced … life is not about luck.  It is all about making the right choices.  I know I made the right one.  The view is beautiful from here.

Until next time

As always,

a dawn bird