Lessons from nature

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning.  It is typical of autumn in Perth.  I went to bed looking forward to the next day and have been up for hours.  I have a list of things to complete before heading off again.  As the end of financial year looms (June), work ramps up with invoices to submit, and extra work to be picked up before the new budget.  Being sick for three out of the four weeks in April has been a drag and I’m behind on most things.  Today is the first day I feel well and myself again.  I hope to make a small dent in what I have to complete.

My home is undergoing the second part of the renovation.  I am project managing this.  I have no idea how I fit it all in.  It is chaos in the home with nothing where it should be.  I’ve had to rely on superhuman resilience.  I take one day at a time and within the day, I have moments where I come up for air.  Like now.  I learnt this strategy from nature.  From the red cap sand plover.

The red cap sand plover is a tiny bird.  I absolutely love them!  They are very difficult to see along the shore because they blend in so well.  I found one in Lake Thetis once and always on the look out for them when I visit.  They are quick on land and scurry at great speed.  I’ve only seen one fly maybe twice in all the times I’ve photographed them.  They race across the sand, stop for a moment, feed and then repeat.  It can cover great distances this way.  If the strategy works for the red cap sand plover, surely it must work for me!

DSCN7023.jpgDuring one trip to Lake Thetis I searched for the tiny bird for over an hour and then reluctantly decided, it was not my day.  I took one last photograph of the Lake before turning around to walk away.DSCN7028.jpgThen an imperceptible movement caught my eye.  By the shore.DSCN7029.jpgIt turned around and looked straight at me!  Joy!DSCN7040.jpgThen turned away, the beautiful red cap clearly visible.DSCN7047.jpgThe stride is quick and effortless.DSCN7048The stop and stare, well, fierce comes to mind!DSCN7061.jpgThis bird is a tiny creature.  Yet, somehow, has the capacity to fill vastness by mere presence.

Some people do this, too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Kindness of strangers

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

I was headed to a town close to Lake Thetis, some 200 km north of Perth.  I had researched it and was keen to visit.  It is famous for the living marine stromatolites, considered to be ‘living fossils’, some thousands of years old.  It is off the beaten track and the first time I visited, I stayed in the car park and was not game enough to walk around on my own in isolation.  The next day curiosity got the better of me.  I ventured out and started to walk down the path.  A few hundred metres down and edge of the Lake is a viewing deck and I was enjoying the moment alone when I saw four men walking towards me.  I had no way to avoid them.  It is one path way in and out.  As they approached in high viz clothing I realised they were probably interested in what was out there, like me.  But I was still uneasy, with the isolation of the place making me jumpy.  Like me they stood around taking pictures.  I waited for them to move on.  I watched them until they disappeared towards the car park before walking to my car.  When I got there I realised they were sitting in their van.  The first thought I had was “They should have left by now.  Why are they waiting!”

I had to walk past their van to my car.  It’s funny how a white van can conjur up the worst case scenario.  I felt a frisson of anxiety creep in.  A tiny rivulet of perspiration trickled down my back.  I hoped I looked like I walked with confidence, and got into my car.  The men then backed out their van but not before giving me a smile and wave.  In that moment I realised they may have been concerned for me, and waited until I returned to the safety of my car.

I’ve returned many times to Lake Thetis.  I love the place.  The special ecology makes it almost sacred.  I’ve enjoyed many a quiet moment here.  DSCN7024.jpgI love the sound of my hollow footsteps as I walk down the ‘gang plank’ to the viewing area.DSCN0004.jpgThe stromatolites look like giant cow pats.  I come here for the bird life too.DSCN9988.jpgOn one trip the white faced heron was my muse.DSCN7068.jpgSuch elegance!DSCN7071.jpgAnd simple lines!DSCN9997And in the distance, the large cormorant seemed almost fluffy, in comparison.

It has been a few years since that incident.  The kindness of those strangers I remember well.  After all my travel experiences, I know traveling alone is generally pretty safe.

I’m not risk taking as such but the thrill of photographing something new can sometimes lead me astray!  So I continue to rely on the kindness of strangers and bring photographs home to share with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Blessings

via Daily Prompt: Bestow

Today is the anniversary of my first date with someone.  It was decades ago but the memory as vivid as yesterday.  It was a hot day (40 degrees Celsius), unlike a cool 24 degrees today.  I was young and foolish.  I jumped on the back of his fast motorbike wearing just shorts, a tee shirt and sandals.  I had just had a pedicure and did not want my feet enclosed.  (Oh! the vanities of youth!)  We rode out of Perth to a small town less than 100 kms away.  We walked hand in hand and then stopped for scones and tea.  I spotted an antiques store and we lingered some more.  Soon the sun was waning, we decided it was time to get back to the city.  The area is teeming with kangaroos and we did not want to come across one at dusk.  Helmets on, we revved up and headed home.

As the sun slipped away lower into the horizon, the tree lined highway was dappled with sunlight.  He was doing the speed limit of 80 km/hour, when he failed to take a bend.  The bike slipped off the hard road into the soft gravel shoulder.  It bounced, twisted and danced in air.  I flew over his head like a stone from a catapult, skidding on bitumen like I was body surfing and then stopped with an almighty thud.  He held on to the bike for a fraction longer, before it bucked and threw him off, continuing for several hundred metres before a tree forced a stop.

He was also injured and could not reach me, but I could hear his urgent pleas, “Get off the road!”  Lying in the middle of a highway frequented by road trains that could not have stopped, his pleas became increasingly frantic.  My body moved in slow motion.  I lifted myself into a seated position and then bent over laughing at the slapstick comedy of it all.  I was obviously in shock.  Then I saw my right arm, or rather, what I could see.  The laughing stopped.

A nurse who lived on a farm nearby heard the crash and saw the smoke.  She raced across the paddock and approached the scene, all sombre, efficient and instructive.  She lay me down on the side of the road.  She fashioned support from the broken fairing and lay my shattered arm on it.  Being Anzac Day, a public holiday, the traffic, fortunately and unfortunately, was light.  Unable to leave me, the nurse waited for someone to come by.  A truckie finally did.  He was unable to call the local hospital.  This was the days before mobile phones.  He finally got someone in Sydney on the CB radio who phoned the hospital.  Being a holiday the staff were all on roster, enjoying a BBQ.  By the time the ambulance staff could be contacted, it was over two hours from the time of the accident.  By then the pain took over.  We headed into Perth with the ambulance wailing.  Still in shock, I complained bitterly about the nail polish being totally wiped off my nails on one foot that had dragged along the bitumen!

I spent months in hospital recovering from my numerous injuries and then another four surgeries and hours of therapy before my arm was functional.

Years later I married my date.  The father of my children.

Because of that day I have love and laughter in my life.  I have family.  I am mother.  I experience motherhood.  The best gift he could bestow.

As the years go by, I know one thing for sure.  I wouldn’t have missed that ride, for quids.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

“….this moment, is your life”

via Daily Prompt: Vague

It must have been about ten years ago when I first went to Port Hedland.  Not knowing what to expect I researched the area before the trip.  To my surprise there was more to see than just Port, salt mines, and iron ore laden freight transported by rail or sea.  What did surprise me was the vivid colours of the landscape.

There is no way the mining Pilbara region up north can be described in vague terms.  What you see, is what you get.

DSCN7195.jpgIt is hot.  It is red.  It is dusty.  The sky is blue.  It is magnificent.  DSCN7210.jpgThere is a solitary tree at Spoilbank, in South Hedland.  It is my favourite view from across the water.  This is harsh country exposed to cyclones.  I love the statement it makes.  DSCN7161.jpgThe muted shades of dusk.DSCN7163.jpgThe day ends beyond (tidal) Pretty Pool.  It casts an iridescent glow.DSCN7154.jpgThe bird life at Pretty Pool is discreet.  This heron was among the mangroves.  It was barely bigger than a crow.DSCN7152.jpgWith a stretch that was amazing!DSCN9593.jpgThe tide had left a calling card.  DSCN9563.jpgMy favourite place early morning is near a church.  The eagles like it too.DSCN9559.jpgThe magnificent cargo ships glide by, often without sound.DSCN7203.jpgI’ve visited Cemetery Beach before when the turtles were hatching.  (Yes, the beach is across the cemetery!).  This time I found sculptures on shore.  The real turtles in the sea were too quick to photograph.DSCN7201.jpgA beautiful egret.  An Eastern Reef egret, I think.DSCN7207.jpgThe rugged Pilbara shore.

I had lunch with my son yesterday.  I was telling him how hot it was in Port Hedland when I was there.  I got off the flight to temperature that was 17 degrees hotter than Perth.  I was sharing with him the sights and sounds of the Pilbara when he asked how come I am still enthusiastic about work after all these years of travel.  My answer was simple.  I practice the quote from The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam:  “Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life.”

It is the essence of being alive.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Feast or famine

via Daily Prompt: Partake

Life is a feast.  Yes, a cliche we have heard many a time.  What does it really mean?  For me, it is how one looks and experiences life.  It is how you partake in it that one can regard it as feast, or famine.

When necessary, some professionals will delve into people’s early childhood to search for ‘thinking’ seeds that were sown early.  The search guides their understanding and practice.  This makes sense.  Yes, it is how people perceive things that is always more interesting because it shapes who they become.  My early thinking was shaped by a strong work ethic by parents, nothing in life is handed on a silver platter.  I know I resented my strict upbringing.  It seemed so unfair when my parents had the means to indulge us.

As my book takes shape, my reflections of early childhood are changing.  The skeletons are not rattling, they are dancing to the beat of the keyboard.  I’ve come to realize my family history is populated with interesting people who saw the world, their way.  I know my life history is enriched by them being in it.

I’m not quite sure when my perceptions started to change.  Perhaps they were dormant for a while, perhaps, not, but I do recall myself as a child who viewed the world with wonder.  And, when the world I lived in had jagged edges, I created my own world of fairies, goblins and magical things in the garden, thanks to Enid Blyton.  It is not what I did that made the difference.  It was knowing when to make a difference.

Not much has changed from early childhood.  I continue to see life as a feast filled with opportunities and wonder.  Perhaps the next two photographs will illustrate this point.

Way up north in Kooljaman, Cape Leveque, about 200 kms north of Broome I woke to a  warm morning.  It is a beautiful place of untouched rugged beauty.  I walked around the grounds where I was staying, taking in all the sights, sounds and perfume of frangipani.  The bird life was prolific.

DSCN6306.jpgI stood under the canopy.  I knew I could choose to be either frustrated or excited at what I could hear but not see.

DSCN6360.jpgYou can imagine my excitement to catch this fleeting moment, high up in the tree!

What I experienced in that moment, was a sense of satiety.  I had feasted on a moment.  I was hungry for nothing else.  It made my day complete.

Yes, I choose to live life …. feasting.  The choice is simple when put into practice.

Where ever you are may you, too, be guided by choice.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Me?

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

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There is nothing more disconcerting that watching yourself in someone’s eyes and seeing what they perceive you to be.  The silent judgement is deafening.  The noise can extinguish life, as you breathe.  Not today, though.

I woke this morning with one thought.  Who I am today, is who I am.  In an instant, I was in the present.  Unshackled from the past,  I was free.  The moment felt delicious.  So I lingered and savoured it all day.

I realised there were so many things I could do today because I was me.  The thought gave me wings!  Oh! the freedom!

I switched off the phone.  Made a list.  Crossed off tasks completed.  I closed doors.  I opened windows.  I let in cool, fresh air.  I gathered up the last of the roses.  I took out garbage and set it kerbside.  I wrote.  I read.  I listened.

I reflected on those who have crossed my path in less than positive ways.  How lucky I am today to be me!  I did not have to dig deep to forgive them.  What I let go, I gained immeasurably. The thought, a gift to me.

I cleared shelves of unwanted objects.  I did the same with thoughts.  Then refilled the empty recesses with the joy, I had the freedom to be me today.

I realised my presence is transient like the tide.  My shadow will always be taller than me.  I know today what I lack in presence, I make up in substance.  I am strong and resilient.  I am me.

As my day ends I know the best gift I have received today, is the ability to accept the authentic me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Love, the unexpected

via Daily Prompt: Song

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Those who love photography will know the feeling of an unexpected image.  It generates a visceral response.  A reflex.  The stance is automatic.  Point and capture the moment.  It is rare for me to experience this without a camera.  But I did yesterday.

At the end of the day I felt contented.  I was home with soup simmering for hours in the kitchen.  As it needed a few more hours, I sat down to watch TV.  Flicking through channels of ‘reality TV’ with edited scripted spontaneity not cutting it for me, I was about to turn off and write reports when I stumbled upon it.  A documentary about an American couple.  So why did I sit, spellbound, for over an hour?  Let me share their story as succinctly as I can.

Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love in the 1950s.  They lived in rural Virginia.  He, all American blond boy, who spent weekends drag racing, as other boys of his era did.  She was slender, with long limbs, angular cheek bones reflecting her proud heritage, American Indian and African American.  They married, they claim not knowing inter-racial marriages were a crime in their State.  In an era where the reach of technology was short, being banned from their State effectively starved the young couple with three children, of support from family and friends.  Two young lawyers took up their cause, fired by the civil rights movement of the early 1960s.  They took it to the Supreme Court and won the case, decriminalising inter racial marriage, the waves of that tsunami, hit 16 other States.  I watched the documentary captivated by the story of all the players.  Each had their own agenda, but Richard Loving outlined it best when his lawyers asked him what to tell the Supreme Court.  He said simply, “Tell them I love my wife”.

I know the story of change.  The big players of the time.  Rosa Parks.  Martin Luther King Jr.  The Kennedys.  But, I didn’t know this simple, powerful story of love.

I learned this morning a movie was made about the couple in 2016.  I didn’t know this.  Of course, that’s not too surprising.  I rarely watch anything that comes out of Hollywood, nor will I be rushing to watch this on small screen, even if it was Oscar worthy.

The best images for me were by the photographer who captured beautiful, tender moments of couple and family that were interspersed throughout the documentary.  A man mowing a tatty lawn, doing puzzles with his children.  A lean mother cooking over a stove, her small pots, too small to feed a family of five.  A couple joined in tender kiss.  A burly man leaning his head on his wife’s slender, strong shoulders.  Her doe like gentleness belied the strength she would have needed to cope with this all.  Yes, the photographer caught those unexpected moments, that gave voice to a story.

The love story of Richard and Mildred, has found a place in my heart, like a song.  May it do in yours too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird