The first morning

“Bloody hell!” the exclamation is loud and startles me awake.  My neighbour has found frogs in the toilet!  A very Kimberley experience, even in hotel rooms in expensive Broome, at certain times of the year.  But, he’s from the East coast of Australia and not used to this!  The frogs are the bane of our existence for the rest of the trip.  We have arrived in these parts just after a biblical wet season.  I cautiously flush the toilet every morning to get rid of them.  During the day, the communal toilet near the campers and caravaners is a safer bet.  I found the frogs find it easier to congregate near the pipes that are easier to reach, so I prefer the middle toilets.  One learns this through trial and error.  There is something very simple and uncomplicated about living life this way.  The trek to these toilets, on the other side of the homestead, is worth it, if for nothing else but to read the simplicity of signage.

The walk to the homestead is a short one.  A horse is still feeding at my window.  The rising sun unveils the ridge.  It is dark lashed with trees, that, oddly, is hardly visible during the heat of the day.  In the front of my hut, the hardened ridges of the big granite Cockburn Range is softened like a smile by dawn light.  Horses, goats, wallabies and emu, all ordinary animals, made extraordinary in the most gorgeous golden light.  I don’t know where to aim my camera.  There are celebrities everywhere in this red earth landscape!

At the homestead, the fire has already been lit.  The billy tea is brewing.  We talk to each other softly still strangers in a stranger land.   We are a curiosity to the horses who pause intermittently to look at us.

Soon we are feasting on a hearty breakfast.  Eating crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, charred toast and sweet billy tea, is a memorable feast!  While chasing that ever elusive blue faced honey eater around the homestead, I see an unusual feathery end to long fronds in a bush growing in the yard and zoom in.  Barely the size of a child’s thumb, it is an explosion of pink and white tiny, tiny flowers.  It becomes a source of delight when shared with the owners of this place.  They have had the shrub for years and had never noticed the beautiful almost invisible flower that grew at the fingertips of the shrub.  The delight of this discovery, for me and them, is almost as big as the heart of this country.

After breakfast our writing retreat begins …

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


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