What is normal?

I was in Kununurra in the far north of Western Australia, walking and talking photographs in my favourite park alongside Lily Creek Lagoon.  It was nearly dusk and, after hours of sheer pleasure, I was headed back to my hotel reluctantly.  Always on the lookout for birds, my gaze is usually, and was, upwards.  But this time, something caught my eye as I neared the grand old boab tree.  It is a icon in this park.  Ancient and large.  Tourists will stop and wrap their arms around it.  Their fingertips never touch.  You would need several people to circle the girth.

The movement of fluttering caught my eye at the base of the tree.  As I neared it, I realised, it was a mother honeyeater desperate to keep me away.  I moved away to ease her distress but could not see what caused her behaviour until I zoomed in.

DSCN7694.jpgAt the base of the massive boab tree was the tiny chick she so desperately tried to protect.  If you look closely you can barely see it at the juncture of the base and the longest root that extends from it (to the left of the screen).DSCN7697.jpgSo young, it still had feathers on the crown and eyes that were barely open.  In a park where dogs and children played with careless abandon, the vulnerability of the chick, fired my up protective instinct too.DSCN7702.jpgThe chick relaxed and stared at me with curiosity.DSCN7696.jpgThe mother did the same, no longer flapping her wings furiously.  She flew away time and again, returning with a morsel each time.  She fed her chick with utmost patience.DSCN7707.jpgI stood guard until the park was nearly empty.  The protective instinct of the mother was memorable.  No longer anxious, the mother and chick relaxed into their respective roles of nurturer and one being nurtured.  The impact of trauma on a developing brain is well documented, especially for learning, emotional regulation and attachment issues.  It came together for me in one fleeting moment.

So my blog this morning is not about pretty pictures.  It is about instinct.  What is normal and not.  I can’t help be shaken by the lack of distinction modern politics promotes.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird




It is difficult to comprehend it is over a year since my holiday in the north to a remote outback cattle station in the East Kimberley region.  The thought of a very ‘rustic’ environment where crocodiles, lizards and snakes are prolific was easily overcome because I know the landscape.   It is awe inspiring.  I joined a group of writers.  All strangers.  I hadn’t written and shared my work face to face with an audience for over 17 years, following the loss of my writing buddy.  So I didn’t expect to write anything.  Why would I, I reasoned.  The anonymity of blogging was satisfying a deeper need in me.  But I looked forward to the experience of the East Kimberley.  And, I, who flinches at the sight of a tiny gecko, wanted to test my mettle in this harsh environment.

One night I lay in the ‘rustic’ cabin listening to the sounds of the outback.  Something in me came alive.  I allowed the previous days of writing with strangers, now intimate strangers, to flood my senses.  I wrote this after sleeping in a tent in a very remote area, on the banks of the King River, where the eyes of a crocodile glowed at dusk.  The brolgas called in the distance.  I knew they danced under the stars.  My heart heard their music.  The feeling of oneness with strangers in a stranger environment was complete for the city me.  I opened up.


As the moon brightened the night,

I walked along the celestial bitumen

I saw stars there, signposts for travellers lost.

I saw stars in other places too, that only I could see.

Have I been lost?  Did you leave them there for me?

As dawn unveiled the granite ridge

I saw a kapok tree, aglow, with yellow flowers on bare, brown branches

And at my door, emu and wallaby.

Child-like I spied on nature

clutching seedpods in my hand

held my breath watching blue dragonflies land

And, while passing travellers warned,

I experienced life at a billabong.

I walked down a dusty path, visible to you, not me

to Mother Boab tree

and at my feet, I found stars twinkling

where light and shadow meet.

I have been on a silent journey

This time, the million steps became one,

when I headed out in someone else’s footsteps

and returned in mine.

My fellow travellers, you were not to know

long ago, yet, like yesterday

Grief silenced me.

But in the barren night, alone, not alone

I found something glowed in the Kimberley

It was the stars

The ones you left for me.


Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





Antediluvian? Yes that’s me!

On a cold morning I feel the history of my journey.  Every healed broken bone, a vivid memory of an accident years ago.  It is the only time of the year I really slow down.  It would be easy to take a pill and become functional quickly.  Not me!  I give my body what it needs the old fashioned way.  Pain is the body’s dialect to remind one, something is not right.  I take my time getting out of bed (the biggest challenge), sit for a few moments to let my body adjust to a manageable level of pain, then start my day.  It is tempting in those few moments to allow panic to flood me.  There is so much still that I want to do in life.  I’d hate pain to get in the way.

Some people confuse a simple life with an easy life.  This is not true.  There is complexity in simplicity.  It requires a level of discernment as opposed to automation.  Take for example technology … how many children rely on programs to correct their grammar and spelling?  How many refer to a dictionary as a first option?  How many children know how to read a map and do maths, without the use of a calculator?  I was stunned when I asked a teen how they would find a phone number for the local pizza shop and the response I got was, “I can just ask Siri”.

I cannot help but wonder at the potential cognitive changes that may be a result of technology.  Are we becoming less reactive?  Are we changing our own ‘wiring’ and relying more on software?  Are we becoming cognitively ‘lazy’?  I wonder this because I’m buying a new car.  It’s hard to find a model in my budget range without all the bells and whistles that forewarn, and react for me, under the guise of ‘safety package’.  When I drive I want to stay alert.  I want to use my own judgement to keep a safe distance between cars.  I want my brain to think for me.  I want to remember the speed zone.  I want to look over my shoulder and be aware of the blind spot.  I want to enhance my spatial perception, my cognitive reasoning.  I feel there is danger of mind-body disconnection, when we are reliant on external factors to do this for us.

In an increasingly automated world, I find my time with camera is where I make my mind-body connection.  Like watching the Pacific Gull on West Beach in Esperance ….

DSCN7431.jpgThe gull stood still and watched the tide come in.  From the road above, I did the same.DSCN7432.jpgThen the gull then strode out purposefully to meet it.DSCN7433.jpgIt seemed to know where to stop.  DSCN7435It stood still and waited.DSCN7434The tide came in with bounty.  The Pacific Gull knew this.  This was time honoured instinct.  Honed and practiced.  No technology to guide it.  It was a beautiful thing to observe.  A moment of mind-body connection, for gull, and me.

Call my views antediluvian.  I’m okay with that.  I’m one of those who enjoys the challenge of looking up the meaning of new words.  I do it the old fashioned way.  It’s like opening up a wrapped gift.  The excitement of the unknown.

Thank you Ragtag Daily Prompt!  I learned a new word today!  Perhaps, even earned a new label!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird




On Target

I set goals.  They anchor me.  Sometimes, several goals in a day.  Goal setting gives me purpose and makes me more productive.  Keeps me on target.

The last thing I do at night is set up my goals for the day.  It makes me wake with anticipation.

On the Fridays I am in Esperance, the last thing I do is check the time for the first light of day and sunrise.  I’m out of bed before this.

DSCN7407.jpgThis is Esperance Bay at first light.  The winter sun rises further left in the Eastern sky.  It spreads the softest light, before it rises.  Some people do this in life too.DSCN7410.jpgMy favourite spot to have my first coffee of the day is the end of the groyne.  Sometimes the dolphins visit to keep company.  DSCN7426.jpgI then head to West Beach to catch the glow of sunrise in the softest pinks, blues and greys.DSCN7436.jpgIf I meet my target for the day, I know I’ll find these folks too.  Nothing keeps them from catching a set, except maybe a shark warning.  Yes, maybe.DSCN7437.jpgSurfers seem to sense the potential in an opportunity and go for it even if it is a short ride.  They may not know this or see it as such, but each decision they make is a goal.  Enjoy the ride.DSCN7321.jpgAnd Woody Lake is where I sit and consolidate my day.  The solitude gives me vantage point.  It is where everything comes together in a moment of quiet.  My vision, enhanced with clarity.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



Just add colour

It’s grey outside.  Cold, too.  I’ve been home for a few hours overnight and headed out again for one of my last trips for this financial year. I have to confess, I’m limping over the finished line so I’m taking a few minutes to myself while waiting for the taxi to arrive.

thumb_IMG_3182_1024 copyIn my garden a lone purple rose is blooming.  The bees are having a pollen spa.  They are fascinating to watch.DSCN5677.jpgIn the backyard the rainbow lorikeet added colour to any otherwise ordinary day.DSCN7632.jpgI’m dreaming of far away places, like Broome.  Time to go there.IMG_2614.jpgBut for now, I’m off to Esperance again.  It promises to be cold, wet and windy.  But always beautiful, even if the only light is an (unknown) berry in the garden, that glows.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



My winter plans

I’ve been up since 4 am.  I’ve finished one report and hoping to complete another before I fly out again this afternoon.  It’s howling wind and rain outside while I’m enjoying my coffee and short break while anticipating the next few weeks.

I love the South-West region of our state in winter.  I have some work coming up near a tiny hamlet called Balingup.  I love this little place of less than 300 people.  The population is made up largely of retired professional folks who enjoy a tree change.  I always wanted to buy a small holiday home here but somehow never got around to it.  The place is known for its colourful scarecrows and an annual medieval festival.

DSCN8784.jpgRoadside in Balingup where wild freesias grow.

DSCN8791.jpgThen there’s Donnybrook.  Known for apples and orchards.  I have to spend a few days here and so looking forward to it.

DSCN2569.jpgOn the way to Margaret River, our premier wine country, I’m looking forward to a walk along Geographe Bay.  I’ve walked the 1.8 km Busselton Jetty and this time, weather permitting, visiting the underwater viewing area is on my list.

DSCN8579.jpgI always love Margaret River in winter.  A chalet, good cheese, a good red, blanket and book fireside, and I’m happy.  Of course, there’s also the added attraction of tiny wrens!

DSCN3482.jpgI’m hoping to find some time to walk in the Perth Hills.  I’m not sure what’s blooming at this time of year.  I’m never home to find out!  This picture and the next were taken in spring.

DSCN3484.jpgI know the coming weeks will bring moments of sheer joy.

Then, I’ll return home and share them with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



Memory of a mother


It is almost impossible for me to see a rose and it not trigger a memory of my mother.  She loved them.  She often tucked a rosebud in her chignon.  I don’t recall vases of flowers indoors.  My mother preferred wearing them.

As June is a month of celebration in memory of my parents’ respective birth anniversary, I thought I’d share my mother’s advice.

Be hospitable to all those who grace your home
Share like you have plenty to give
Be generous in thought and the practice will be easy
Smile even when you are hurting
Revenge is best left off the menu
Work hard for yourself, harder for those less fortunate
Say your prayers every day
Being rude says more about you, than the issue
Always wear clean underwear
Always sleep on clean sheets
Never go to bed angry
Pure silk and pearls never go out of fashion
Immodesty is not sexy
Pay your own way
Be a good in-law
Friendship is precious

Oddly enough I was never close to my mother.  Although beloved by all who knew her, her gift to them was her warmth and accessibility.  The child in me found her unattainable.

Always her silent student, her values continue to resonate with me.  Perhaps, therein lies the legacy.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird