It’s my first rodeo!

After photographing horses in Wyndham last year, I fell in love with the animals.  I made a mental note to return, thinking next time I would get to Broome for the polo that is played on Cable Beach.  But I missed the date.  So I was thrilled to find I was in Derby the weekend the rodeo was in town.  At dinner my companion noticed a poster on the wall.  I needed no convincing.  We said, “Let’s go!” simultaneously!  With hotel gates closed at 7 pm for security reasons, I had to walk into the bar to get access when I found myself facing a wall of cowboys with beer in hand.  That was a surprise!  I went back to my room and listened to the carousing that went on until midnight.  I could hardly wait for day break while my camera battery charged.

At breakfast the small cafe was crowded and loud.  Orders were being requested for tomato juice and double shot expresso (but sadly for sore heads, ‘hair of the dog’ was not on the menu).

We got to the rodeo late afternoon.  Amid the noise of the caller, shouts and cheering, Jimmy Buffet sang Margaritaville while we cracked open and drank a cold one.  We were in the zone!

This being cattle country, the stations were well represented by station hands, owners and indigenous people (many talked in their dialect).  The spirit of community was vibrant.  Unprepared for the event, I stood out in a white linen top and pale blue linen shorts.  Totally unsuitable for red dust!  Yet, I have never felt more included.

DSCN9227.jpgThe thrill of the gate opening!DSCN9354.jpgThe roar as the bull charged.DSCN9298.jpgI loved how the light and dust moved!DSCN9355This was magic town.DSCN9157.jpgThe teens were just as brave as they hung on as long as they could.DSCN9364.jpgThe bulls were fiesty, and after dislodging rider, came straight for the stands, snorting and grunting.DSCN9303.jpgThere were times the bull kicked up heels, free of rider.DSCN9309.jpgAn exceptional young indigenous man, who punched the air in victory, was clearly a crowd favourite.  His self-esteem glowed at dusk.thumb_IMG_3504_1024.jpgSoon the light faded, but I doubt, my memory will.

I read the rodeo is considered cruel by some folks.  I don’t know enough about it to make up my mind.  I will say this though, the spirit of this gathering of cattle stations that compete, brought together a whole community.  I did not hear a single swear word that one hears so frequently on streets in the city.  Not even in the bar area that was cordoned off.  Nor did I see anyone being anti-social.  These were folks just having a good time, until they meet again.

The memory of my first rodeo will stay with me.  I always knew this region was special but this time I felt the synergy between country and community.  It was a powerful emotion.  I can’t describe what this felt like except to say, for a few hours that afternoon, this city alien felt right at home in cattle country.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Life, precious life

I’ve just returned from a much anticipated trip.  I went to big country to look for small things.  I needed the contrast and dichotomy for my body and soul.

I was thrilled to find the tides at Cable Beach, Broome had left generous amounts of shells and sea debris on the shore.  I’ve visited the town at least a dozen times and found this phenomenon only twice so far.  It is the tail end of winter in Perth, so Broome and the Kimberley region is tourist time for backpackers, ‘grey nomads’ travelling in caravans and the well heeled to get away from the cold.  I belong to none of these groups.

I went because I want to live.

DSCN8799.jpgOn a beach that stretches for 22 kms, I peered through tiny coral windows and found life in minutae is what has added zest to my journey.DSCN8852.jpgI contemplated the fragility of life and the glue that holds it all together.DSCN8801.jpgI reflected on the foundations and layers we create within us, between us and for each other.  Do they support or divide?DSCN8884.jpgI found things that spoke to me.  Much like life, debris was once perfect and whole and …DSCN8876.jpgstill exquisitely beautiful.DSCN8873.jpgWe are given life.  But … it is a finite serve.DSCN8861.jpgI paused to reflect.  What’s my footprint, my legacy, that I leave on shore?DSCN8818.jpgThe glory of sunset at Cable Beach is seductive.  It is promoted as such and people come to catch their breath.DSCN8824But I also know the young boab tree at Town Beach, the opposite side of town at Roebuck Bay, is magnificent at sunrise.  So in Broome I catch my breath, at least twice a day.

I’ve returned home after an amazing trip.  I have more to share with you, perhaps later today, but for now, I’ll leave you with a thought.

We may think we choose our journey.  Not so.  We are given a journey but we are also given choice.  We choose how to travel it.  So, travel well.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Generous Earth

It’s three weeks before spring.  Like me, it feels like the Earth is anticipating this too.  I feel like as joyous as a child on a spiral staircase, slipping and sliding and at times, careening, giddy with delight.  I have planned three short breaks during early spring.  I can hardly wait!  As I countdown …thumb_IMG_3399_1024The canola fields are turning gold in the farming Midwest.DSCN8746.jpgThis picture captures the colours of the Midwest, so perfectly, from the ground.  DSCN8743.jpgThere are expanses of these low growing shrubs, encrusted with tiny flowers growing in the bush.DSCN8772.jpgBeautiful spears of flowers everywhere one looks.  DSCN8775.jpgIn this land even a common weed looks beautiful!thumb_IMG_3413_1024.jpgThere are huge swatches of paper everlasting flowers.  Just breathtaking!thumb_IMG_3418_1024.jpgSeeing them up close, is seeing perfection.DSCN8766.jpgThese purple flowers are scattered among the pinks and whites.thumb_IMG_3422_1024.jpgIn my garden the bees are busy.IMG_3356.jpgAnd, roses continue to bloom.

The Earth is generous at this time of year, so I thought I’d share my bounty with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

A time for reflection

 

I worked a long day yesterday.  By night I needed reflection.DSCN8717.jpgI went where I had lunch one afternoon.  There’s a cafe to the right of this with beautiful views over water.  But no, I wanted to be in the scrub!  To my delight the place was teeming with birds.  I know them well enough by the call.DSCN8571.jpgI found a tiny male zebra finch with wisdom in his eyes.DSCN8567.jpgThen there was the female finch.  She flew up, caught the blade of grass in her beak and slid down, showering grass seeds on the ground.  She then fed in privacy in the tall grass.  Clever!DSCN8519.jpgEver watchful, high in thick scrub, were a pair of rainbow bee eaters.  Aloof, silent, predatory.DSCN8584.jpgThe yellow honey eaters, feasted on flowers, their maniacal laughter-like call, harsh, for such a pretty bird.DSCN8618.jpgWith ‘lipsticked lips’ pursed tightly shut, the Pacific Gull was dignified in defeat as silver sea gulls stole lunch and flew away screeching. DSCN8635.jpgThe Brahminy kite (I think), from the highest vantage point, watched all, then flew away silently.

Reflections on my experiences last night gave me a new understanding, life is not the journey we are given, but how we choose to travel.  I recalled this in a poem which says it better, so I’d like to share it with you today …

A Strong Woman vs a Woman of Strength
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape …
but a woman of strength builds relationships to keep her soul in shape.

A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything …
but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of fear.

A strong woman won’t let anyone get the better of her …
but the woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.

A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future …
A woman of strength realises life’s mistakes can also be unexpected blessings, and capitalises on them.

A strong woman wears a look of confidence on her face …
but a woman of strength wears grace.

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey …
but the woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.
(Author Unknown) cited in a book ‘The Voice of Silence’ by Oonagh Shanley Toffolo.

May all the steps you take today, make you stronger.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Finding spring

It is Friday night.  A winter’s night.  Rain is lashing outside with the intermittent hiss and spray of hail.  I’m rugged up but still cold, so I had a novel thought.  I’ll conjure up spring.

My colleague from the north sent me an email today.  “Bring your camera”, she said, “the flowers are out”.  I can’t wait to see them!  I know what a feast for the eyes wildflowers can be here in spring.  I had a glimpse of this last week when I was north, so I’ll share them with you while it rains.DSCN8552.jpgThese tiny everlastings were flowers within flowers.  Thousands of these roadside.DSCN8510.jpgI thought they were exquisite.DSCN8507.jpgThis was a tiny flower.  The sand gives some perspective to the size.DSCN8487.jpgThen there were succulents.DSCN8506.jpgWere these past their prime?  Still beautiful, I thought.DSCN8501.jpgAnd carpets of these succulents, too, along the sand hills, ocean side.DSCN8483The wattle has a distinctive perfume.  Like, honey.DSCN8496.jpgVivid colours in harsh country.DSCN8512.jpgThere were thousands of these along the coast too.DSCN8468.jpgThis was one of my favourites.  There were carpets of these, yes, acres of flowers, but this one caught my eye.  It seemed to support a whole colony.

When driving these flowers look like splashes and spills of colours in an otherwise beige landscape.  I’ve found it pays to stop and look closer.  I’m glad I did, because with the din of a wild winter outside, I’m able to share with you my spring.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

A gentle dove, came my way

 

I walked around the garden this morning and found I was wrong the other day.  The little nest I had found previously did not belong to a honeyeater, it belongs to the pair of spotted doves that live in my backyard.  They are now a family of three!

They reminded me of a gentle dove that came my way recently …

DSCN8330.jpg

On one of my  trips, I disembarked from the plane and realised I was unable to pick up my light camera bag.  A sharp pain and loss of power in my arm took me by surprise.  As the hours progressed I was incapacitated.  With my neck and shoulder grotesque with swelling and pain every time I moved, I was convinced I had broken my collar bone.  I sat up all night and waited for day break to see the doctor.  If I thought I had been through a nightmare, I was wrong, the worst of it awaited me in the morning as I hadn’t anticipated the challenge of dressing.

I slipped off the bed gently then proceeded to dress, muscle memory taking over my movements.  I had to stop immediately.  Befuddled by pain I had to develop another strategy and, mindfully, engage in a new set of motor planning sequences.  It took me the best part of an hour to do what I usually do in 30 secs flat.  I was dressed!  I was elated!  Fortunately, the X-ray came back clear.  I had hurt myself, but how and when, remained a mystery.  I had time to rest and recovered well.

I was in a small town where people didn’t know me.  More importantly, I didn’t know any of the medical services and was lost in town trying to find them.  I felt alone in my hour of need.  Yet, where ever I turned for help, a stranger came to my aid.  When I got to the doctor’s surgery I was in tears of frustration and pain.  The receptionist took me to a room for privacy, gave me a drink of water, held my hand and said she would stay with me until a nurse arrived.  She didn’t have to do this.  This came from her gentle heart.

Today, reflecting on the kindness of strangers fills my heart and home with light.  I believe, in a time of need, it is the gentle touch of human hands that makes a difference.  Perhaps this comes from my upbringing.  I was raised to believe, one cannot repay kindness.  One passes it on.  I strongly believe, what the receptionist gave me, is something she had experienced herself, at some stage of her life.

May you have an opportunity today, to comfort another.

Until next time

a dawn bird

 

 

Here comes the rain …

There is something quite distinctive about the monsoon season.  Those who have experienced it, will confirm this.  There is the ‘build up’, the oppressive humidity, that can be quite stifling and being indoors in air conditioned comfort brings on ‘cabin fever’.  One looks forward to rain with anticipation and when it comes, one rejoices with a sigh, saying “Here comes the rain”.  I’ve written about the monsoon season memories of my childhood elsewhere in my blog.  The time to revisit those memories now, seems appropriate.  I experienced rain during the monsoon season in my childhood, now I experience it as winter storms.  What a difference!

Perth has been in the throes of some nasty weather.  I was up north when a large portion of this very expansive State was under a severe weather warning.  It was still warm north but as soon as I saw clouds appear, I knew the skies would be magnificent.  So, of course, I headed out with camera.DSCN8681.jpgThe sun broke through, as it always does, just beyond the Small Boat Harbour, (Carnarvon).DSCN8700.jpgI delighted in the superb drama happening over this little town, quelling my fears of flying home through this and then to weather that was worse in Perth.  The flight back was surprisingly calm in the small plane.  But there was silence among the 34 passengers when the pilot announced we were going to land in poor weather in 60 km/hour high winds.  I know what 28 km/hour winds during landing feels like in this plane.  But 60!  I closed my eyes and visualized all good things in my life.  I found it was not a difficult thing to do.  Half an hour from landing I clutched the seat tighter and tighter, while we bounced and rattled.  We landed with an almighty thud and a deafening whoomf.  Then came the short dash from aircraft to terminal.  As soon as we stepped off the plane, it hailed.  (Yes, it hurts when it hits one’s face!).

The experience of monsoon rain is different.  There’s relief and seems like generosity of Nature, when it rains.  A winter storm is all anger and unpredictability, like Nature is having a tantrum.  I’ve come to love both experiences for all the sensory components they bring.

I do question myself from time to time.  Did I miss out on something special because I lived my life from month to month, skidding into the next season with a regularity that now seems mundane.  If I did, the time to experience life, is now.  And, that’s the beauty of living.  The now, is the starting point.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird