Weekly Photo Challenge: Out of this world – The Boss


The Sturt Desert Pea is a striking flower that blooms roadside along highways and in other unexpected places.

When visiting mining regions up north my eyes constantly scan hoping I catch a glimpse of them.

To me, these gorgeous flowers, that bloom close to the ground in harsh clay earth look like aliens.

The centre is a huge glistening black ‘eye’, called ‘the boss’.

The flowers shines like satin and they grow in small clumps.

They are a visual feast!

As always

a dawn bird





A leaf fell from the tree,

it floated from the top

And landed at my feet

It was shaped like my heart

Its veins were gold, like memories

That sparkle in the morning light

And through the glint, I glimpsed

A promise of tomorrow

That follows the darkest night.

The leaf lay there, like a moment in time

And, although vivid

It was no longer green and new

I smiled as I leaned down for it

Like me, it was supple, not crushed

And like me, it danced

in the crosswinds that blew.

As I said goodbye to summer

A gentle breeze lifted the leaf

Off my hand and into the sky

And in that silent space

It drifted free

Just like me

Under a watchful, blue eye.

a dawn bird

Lunch with a stranger

via Daily Prompt: Dim

Unlike my usual style, this post, paints a picture with words …

I met her 20 years ago in the university cafeteria. We greeted each other, echoing the sentiment, “all men are bastards (but not the next one!)”. It drew genuine laughter from the source of deepest hurt. Today, she takes control of the spontaneity of our hug.

She has already ordered our smoked salmon. We toast social media for making it happen. My eyes glisten with affection for times once shared. She is still my beautiful friend, as she was then.

Soon I am puzzled by the dynamics of our friendship. I am from the suburbs. Judging from her love for chilled Veuve Clicquot at midday, she probably owns a seaside one. I am a worker. She works a room. She is still slender.  My body, on the other hand, is now a spacious home, that once housed my children.

She is constructed thoughtfully. Like art, she looks more beautiful when you step away from her. I am a random product of family genes. We do have one thing in common. I, too, visited a surgeon for years, but I was mended not enhanced. Scars, physical and emotional, graffiti my body and mind. Pain is a frigid companion in the aftermath of an accident.

The art of her surgeon is obvious. Like DaVinci, he had worked to a formula for that facial symmetry. I thought he got the math right, but not the measure of the silicone that flooded her cleavage.  She was ready to face the world again after “investing” $25,000 of her divorce settlement in her pursuit for new love. She was determine never to talk about children, fearing they would “carbon date” her. Unlike me, she laughs easily at this.

Decades later, she is no different. Time has stood still.  She is single again. Her profile picture is honest about what is not. Her tanned legs swing carelessly over the edge of a sailboat, red toenails defining her feet, behind the designer sunglasses she laughs provocatively at the sun. The Swan River below glistens like the two carats embedded in her ears. Her promotion is flawless. She is a screen siren. Sly responses from men whose computer keys are more functional than their once virile bodies ‘Like’ and Follow her Instagram faithfully.  She laughs, sex now is consummated with keystrokes.

Her sense of entitlement is effusive enough to dim the light of friendship.  How can this be!  Where did my friend go?  Did she lose her way?  Or did that happen to me?

As the table is cleared, we are no longer seated in an intimate, shared space of single womanhood. The distance between us is not geographical. I catch a glimpse of her world on the way out. Men, snug in their well-lived bodies line the walls where they can view those passing by, best. I recognise faces once prominent in judiciary, business and politics. Their mobile phones buzz incessantly. While their wives shop, they find company in a dating App, responding instinctively mid-sentence to computer-generated compatibility.  They pause and swipe right.

In the ensuing few seconds of frenetic texting, she looks up. Her smile is deft, she signals availability.

I walk across the car park, my steps heavy with a new reality.

I lunched with a stranger, today.

(Disclaimer:  This was a spontaneous writing exercise and a figment of my imagination!)

Until next time

a dawn bird

Almost autumn ..


It’s the first day of autumn tomorrow in the Southern Hemisphere.  The days are getting shorter.  I wake to dark.  The early light is softer.  The shadows longer, before they take shape.  Yes, autumn is Nature’s zen time.  A time to let things fall away.

I’m home for a few days enjoying the simple things that life offers before I leave home again.

I’ve had time for a leisurely stroll through markets enjoying the mindfulness of the taste, feel and smell of fresh produce.  Summer lingered in the scent of peaches.  The green herbs still have their zest.  I’ve had time to query when did we change our habits to have a wall of different milks to choose?  Do we really need the mega bulk stores that promote savings if you buy more.  Really?!  I’ve found the only savings I make, is when I don’t buy anything at all.

I’ve had time to take a break and enjoy lunch with my son.  Listening to him talk about his university studies with enthusiasm, a parent could not ask for more.  I’m looking forward to a high tea with his fiancee and my daughter.  Amid girlish giggles, we have been practising holding out our pinky finger, delicately.

I’m enjoying a few days of simple living.  Taking time to talk to neighbours about this and that and nothing at all.  The veggie man in the supermarket, did not avoid me.  I had given him a piece of my mind a while back when I wanted some garlic and found they were labelled “Produce of Mexico” and “Produce of Peru”.  I queried why on earth, when we have market gardeners just down the road.  He proudly showed me the local produce section, yes, it’s tucked away in a corner and more expensive.  The law of supply and demand.

I’ve had time to enjoy roasting tomatoes in garlic and basil, to store in olive oil for a pasta meal, or for a quick hot soup.  I love the vibrancy of the colour and taste.  With crusty bread, it is one of my favourite meals.

When I lived in Canada, autumn was my favourite time of year.  I loved the changing of colours that we rarely find here.

Autumn in Western Australia has a chill to it.  Perhaps, we feel it more acutely because it’s the sudden shift in temperature from the intense summer, to a few degrees cooler.  I’ve come to embrace this.  I know as winter approaches, there will be pots of spicy goulash or beautiful stew to bring the family together.

Perhaps it is an artefact of aging that one comes to appreciate the simple things later in life.  The only regret I have, is not knowing how to appreciate an uncomplicated life, in my youth.

Until autumn

As always

a dawn bird






End of summer

It’s the second last day of summer.  Autumn is in the air.  There’s a chill in the early morning.  My feet need warmth.

I recall the warmth of the sea that encased my feet, not long ago in Jurien Bay.

DSCN9022The morning was tinted in muted colours.  The beach, nearly empty.

DSCN9005When the jogger was out of sight, the seagull kept me company

DSCN8925I stepped off the jetty to watch the dolphins play.  They enjoyed the limelight.

DSCN8929As if it noticed me, one flipped on it’s back and swam a length, to show off the latest party trick.

DSCN8959The tide was leaving.  The sun arrived.

DSCN9142I started to see things that first startled me … a mouse?!

DSCN9076I relaxed.  Angel wings, or perhaps a butterfly.

DSCN9176I realised, the pristine sand was just shells, waiting for time, like me.

DSCN9027There was plenty to distract me, like the honeyeater in the scrub.

DSCN8973The cormorant on the pontoon, in the early morning sun.

DSCN8983The pied oystercatcher, with mate.

DSCN8996As the day ended, lovers, like lovers often do, stopped to watch a setting sun slide into the sea.

DSCN9096Like I said in the previous post, yes I’ve travelled the world, but every morning I wake in awe, to find it at my feet.

May you do too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





The little girl in me …

via Daily Prompt: Imagination

The little girl in me had a simple but seemingly impossible dream. She wanted to travel the world.

She visited countries, now most of them have been marked off the bucket list.  She walked through gardens and museums, rich in history.  She shopped for things that had value in the moment and discarded them long ago, without regret.

Yes, she travelled the world, but she had an insatiable yearning … she hadn’t seen anything as yet.

The realisation was a powerful catalyst.  She wanted more than the eye could see.  So she cast aside shackles and started to experience, free.

DSCN0335.jpgShe saw colours more vibrant

DSCN4181.jpgthan any painting in a gallery.

DSCN4446.jpgAnd when colours were muted

DSCN3953.jpgshe found, they still told a story.

DSCN4776.jpgShe searched for the Cape Barren Geese, at every trip to Esperance and found the giant bird, doing the impossible.  Looking elegant.

DSCN4608.jpgHer eyes held a joey’s gaze while it snuggled deep within the mother’s pouch.  It was something she only read about.

DSCN2874.jpgShe walked with waders until they found the perfect palette for her to capture the moment.

DSCN4965.jpgShe delighted in the ice cream pink wave of flowers, she found one day, in spring.

Yes, that little girl had dreams.

But, never in her wildest imagination did she think, Nature could generate this powerful synergy.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Daily Prompt: Congregate

via Daily Prompt: Congregate

I recall the word congregate from early childhood and it is forever associated with the church.

DSCN9130.jpgOver the years, my faith has grown stronger but my church no longer has walls.

The word, congregate, means to come together.  A show of unity.  Seagulls do this well.  I often see a white carpet in the car park near the beach in Esperance.

DSCN4076.jpgBut, I seek the one that stands apart.  The one that sets the stage for me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird




Starry eyed …

via Daily Prompt: Astral

Years ago a friend introduced me to the work of Theodore Roszak, and a newer, more beautiful world.

Ecopsychology promotes, quite simply, the connection to wider systems that make up life on this planet and beyond.  Ancient cultures practiced this as a way of life.  As we come to grips with the devastation caused by disconnection and dislocation, it is vital to understand this.  Underpinning this, is the yearning for connection.

I set about to find my way through the maze of work-life balance and as I did, my ‘connectedness’ to the world became stronger.  I started to understand the meaning of ‘country’ and, with each step, I returned to mine.

Astronomy left me wondrous with the galaxies, planets and comets, but unattainable.  So I looked elsewhere and found stars within reach.

thumb_IMG_0408_1024I found them in my garden.

thumb_IMG_0124_1024Viola! in the strawberry, waiting to fruit.

thumb_DSCN5145_1024Among bush tracks.

thumb_IMG_0097_1024.jpgAgainst a fence.

thumb_IMG_2583_1024.jpgIn the neighbour’s garden.

thumb_IMG_1668_1024.jpgIn the eyes of the magpie lark, as it picked through the remnants of my breakfast.

thumb_IMG_0193_1024.jpgIn the eyes of a sick dog, who knows she is loved.

thumb_IMG_0850_1024.jpgIn my eyes, when I found the heart I left behind.

thumb_IMG_2688_1024.jpgAnd, when I walked among the ‘sea clouds’.

thumb_IMG_2685_1024I found my very own Milky Way.

thumb_IMG_2735_1024.jpgSo I took it home, and like a child at Halloween, emptied my pockets of loot.

My astral experiences may be different but if they help you seek yours, our lives have been enriched by sharing this space.  Stay starry eyed!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





The sorry seagull

I watched a Pacific Gull fly over the ocean to the shore.

DSCN9120Breakfast, freshly caught, in beak.

DSCN9122He rinsed the creature in the ocean, while those thug-like seagulls surrounded him.

DSCN9124In a flash, it was gone, and I watched a free for all.

DSCN9129The big gull looked on, bemused.

DSCN9126But, managed to get his meal back.  This time the seagulls, looked on, silently.

DSCN9132The tide was cruel, and took the creature back to sea.  The Pacific Gull looked on forlornly.

DSCN9158it stalked the shore

DSCN9136waited patiently

DSCN9159then turned his back

DSCN9160and flew back to the sea.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Sea dialect

via Daily Prompt: Conversant

I know …

DSCN9100the tide is receding, when I find lines drawn between sand and sea.

DSCN9086they chronicle time

DSCN9088or memoralise life, between the lines.

DSCN9093The sea may leave a sprig of foliage.  An oasis, when you least expect it.

DSCN9145Sand from far away places.

DSCN9170Tiny shells, from who knows where.

I catch a glimpse, a fleeting glimpse, of sand in the making.

And, as the tide leaves, I become more conversant with the language of the sea.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird




Nature’s jewellery

via Daily Prompt: Encrusted

As a child the word encrusted would conjure up imagery of jewels in a crown or perhaps, sequins on a garment.  I am still child-like.

The word encrusted now conjures up Nature’s jewellery.


At Cable Beach in beautiful Broome, you’ll find me in an area that has a scatter of rocks.  It’s a magic place at sunset when viewed from afar.  It is a magical place at dawn.

DSCN7401The rocks covered with barnacles.

DSCN7398And there are sea creatures, just as encrusted.

DSCN7793I always visit this slab of rock.  It is jewel like with barnacles.

DSCN7426So enthralled by it for several visits, I failed to see one just beyond, and closer to the sea.

DSCN7417There is life in tiny crevices.  The ibis knows this.

DSCN7562So does the heron that walks with intent.  While the seagull photo bombs, also with intent.

DSCN7513Above the roar of waves, I can hear the crunch of footsteps on a shell encrusted beach.

DSCN7431And, amid the noise and beach clutter, the tiny sand plover takes a moment to stand still.

Like me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird






via Daily Prompt: Constant

For those who do not believe, this post may be difficult for them to understand or appreciate what faith means to someone who does. I don’t judge them.  I hope the feeling is reciprocated.

I have not raised my children to be church going.  I decided to live my faith instead, so they experience it.

Faith is a constant motif in my life.  It is my compass.  My guiding hand.  My comfort.  It brings me joy.

I believe whatever has happened and continues to happen in my life, is a mere piece of a complex mosaic.  It may look distorted to some, and at times, to me.  I don’t know what the Artist’s vision is, but I delight in each fragment that will complete the whole.

DSCN7145There are times my wings are tattered and I can barely hold on.  These are not challenging times.  They are just reminders, at times like this, faith renews my wings.

DSCN8202.jpgAnd it does.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





I was driving between Dongara and Geraldton in the Midwest and from the highway at 110km/hr I glanced at the pasture on my left.  Among a large flock of sheep, I saw a lamb aglow in the setting sun.  I could not pull over fast enough.  It was several hundred metres away but I was able to zoom in.  I didn’t see the bird until I uploaded the picture to the bigger computer screen.  At that time I thought some encounters are serendipitous.  I’ve come to believe all encounters have the same impact if we see them as such.

There have been many people who have come into my life and continue to do so on a daily basis.  Sometimes, they give me more than I give them.  In the end, life looks after the score sheet.  One person is worth remembering today.

I was an undergraduate student.  It was a busy time with work, study and children.  I had a major essay due and submission deadline was looming.  I worked through the night.  As was my style, I always had more references than I needed.  I always wanted to read wider and present a better argument.  After all, that is what is expected of a student who aimed for a place in the postgraduate program.  I never lost sight of that goal.  I came across an article about a man who wrote about his life and experiences of the mental health system in the US.  He came from a well established family in New York and although he had a successful business he yearned for something else.  He became a vegan and started looking more closely at the tenets of different religions to find meaning.  The shift in this New Yorker was unsettling for his parents.  They committed him to be evaluated by mental health professionals.  He ended up undergoing the most draconian ‘therapy’ for years.  It should have destroyed his spirit.  He came out, a warrior.

I did not sleep that night.  I could not.  I noticed his contact address was not affiliated with any university even though the article was in a peer reviewed journal.  I called international directory and got his phone number.  I had to talk to him.  It was 4 am in Perth.  The children were asleep.  The home was silent except for the sound of my breathing.  I dialled his number.  It did not ring but went to his “hello” immediately.  I fumbled for words as I tried to tell him who I was and why I called.  He listened patiently.  We spoke for over an hour.  It was the start of a wonderful friendship.

My friend taught me about love, tolerance and understanding.  Although he never married or had children, he valued all of those things.  He helped me value what was in my life and more importantly, what wasn’t in my life at that time.  He introduced me to the work of Joseph Campbell (among others) and it helped me let go of what I wanted and accept what I had.  What I had was an opportunity.  I had the opportunity to educate myself.  So I did.

He also taught me outrage was an appropriate response when people, governments, situations cross the line of human dignity.  Yes, outrage!  The quote of Edmund Burke “The only good thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” was one that guided my spirit every day.  Yes, outrage is a necessary part of change.  I completed my postgraduate degree in a controversial area of study.  Outrage, fuelled me.  Years later I met my friend face to face.  He was in the audience when I presented the findings of my thesis.  I realised in that moment, there is no better feeling, than an audience of one.

There is a difference between outrage and anger.  Anger destroys the spirit.  Outrage is a change agent.

I want to live in a world that is outraged.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird