A topsy-turvy world

When living in Canada, my favourite time of year was autumn.  I loved the changing colours of the leaves and what drifted away from the parent tree in the fall.  The smell of burning leaves as chill took over the air is an evocative memory that lingers, as does the shiver as one tried to dig deeper into warmth.

When the Northern Hemisphere prepares for autumn, we in the Southern Hemisphere, look forward to spring.DSCN7753.jpgWhen new life begins.DSCN7974.jpgAnd young ones are nurtured.DSCN7694.jpgWhen one finds colour erupting in unexpected places.DSCN7627.jpgAnd even succulents on beach sand bloom in the warmth.DSCN7690.jpgA time when the mulla mulla appear in their hundreds of thousands across the arid mining country, with mauve spears tipped in pink.DSCN7622.jpgOr one finds a florist shop, roadside on an empty highway, that gave me pause to think.

Unlike nature, what grows unchecked, is not always beautiful. 

This, to me, is an unsettling thought.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

‘The other voice’

I love the word inspire.  Each year, it brings new meaning.  No longer passive, I seek each day.  I can write when I see, feel, hear or sense something.  It’s a daily awakening.  A daily reminder.  I am alive.

To share the images below with you brings a level of discomfort.  They were always there.  I just never saw them.  Importantly, and sadly, I did not seek them.  I did not seek to use my senses mindfully.

Every day I look beyond what I see.  A tree, is no longer a tree.  A flower is no longer, just beautiful.  A fallen leaf, is more than debris.  A bird is more than feathers and song.  My strides are shorter and slower.  I inhale and exhale more deeply.  I hear small sounds amid din.  A moment lasts longer.

This year, inspire has been synonymous with stillness.  It has been moments when I waited to hear ‘the other voice’.

So I’ll share with you what I’ve found in those moments of dialogue.DSCN7235.jpgA clump of cowslip orchids, found unexpectedly, in debris.DSCN7253.jpgManna acacia blooming below a canopy of gum trees.DSCN7270.jpgA spider orchid, dancer like, posturing mid-furl.DSCN7377.jpgAn emu in the wild, caught mid-stride, long neck perfectly curled.DSCN7348.jpgThe tiny inland thorn bill with yolk egg feathers, singing for mate, in spring.DSCN7556.jpgA Willy Wagtail, with bling in her wing.DSCN7466.jpgSunset in an autumn leaf.DSCN7529.jpgPink ballerina tutus in shrubs, just below the trees.DSCN7445.jpgBallgowns draped on shrubs, more beautiful than found on any red carpet.DSCN7461.jpgA trio of pristine white cornettes.DSCN7588.jpgA gift from and for the sea, left on shore by someone unknown.  But it spoke to, and, for me.

May you seek and find a moment today.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Box Man

We called him Box Man.  I had known him all my school years.  From memory, I think he visited the school once a week.  I recall his visits were more eagerly awaited during my high school years.  It was because of what he brought with him.

He came to the school with a large tin trunk balanced perfectly on the back of his bike.  He set up just in front of the school chapel.  During lunch and recess, there was always a steady stream of students and teachers that sought the silence of that domed space.  We would crowd around him chattering in excitement while he set up with a certain deliberate flourish.  He would admonish and set boundaries to step back.  He had some very special things to show us.  We would move barely an inch and with bated breath waited for that tin trunk to be opened.

Once opened it contained a panoply of bling.  Hair clips.  Bangles.  Ribbons.  Hair bands.  Trinket boxes, small and smaller.  We loved every single thing, the shinier, the better!  He would be lucky to make a sale or two each visit.  Everything was over priced for school girls.

One day one of my classmates was bolder than the rest.  She asked him why his prices were so high.  He flicked a scarf in front of his face and missed an annoying fly.  He took his time and then said, because his goods all came from England, with all the haughtiness he could muster.  Cheryl was not going to let him get away that easy.  She held up a trinket box upside down and finger on label said, “Can you read English?  It says, Made in India”.  He didn’t miss a beat and responded, “That one is discounted, because of the misprint!”

I can remember this incident like it happened yesterday!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Luxe, I think not!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is Posh, meaning high end.  Interesting to note the word comes from Romani language, too.  I didn’t know this before!  It makes my post today more meaningful to me.

A few months ago I had an unexpected wake up call regarding my health.  It made me reassess my life and priorities.  I realised we work towards a future, forgetting about ‘the now’.  As I waited for my results (by the way were all clear), I did not want to share my concerns with my colleague, so I enjoyed the trip as if it was my last one.  It made me savour every moment.  I travelled light.

As it turned out over dinner we talked about books and she recommended Paul Kalanithi’s ‘When Breath Became Air’.  I found the book in the airport bookshop on the following trip and started to read it during the flight.  As I turned the pages, the fragility of life as I know it, felt palpable in my hands.  I promised myself the words, “….some day …” would not be part of my vocabulary unless I made active plans for that day to eventuate.  I came back from my trip and booked a short trip to the Coral Coast.

I fly over the Coral Coast in Western Australia, look down on the stunning seascape and yearn to visit, “some day” and most of all, the tiny airport in Shark Bay is where I wanted to disembark.  Now I’ve heard others who choose to fly Etihad and gush about the luxury of Dubai Airport.  Not me.  I wanted to experience disembarking at Shark Bay airport.thumb_IMG_3694_1024.jpgThere is just a cyclone fence that separates the tarmac from the airport.  I’ve been on flights where the co-pilot stepped out and helped unload the luggage.  Everyone here is, “mate”.  Give me this over luxury any day!thumb_IMG_3743_1024.jpgThis is the arrival lounge.  It is quite possible there was a water bottle dispenser nearby, and some toilets, but that was it.thumb_IMG_3744_1024.jpgArrival/Departure lounge. That’s it!

To say this is a tin shed is adding glamour to the structure.  Posh, it is not! But, I wouldn’t want to see this changed for the world.  I love this airport!

At the airport I met another passenger who was travelling to the same hotel as me so we started chatting as we waited for the car to pick us up.  She was from New Mexico and doing a quick tour of Western Australia.  I was impressed with her ingenuity of researching the areas she wanted to visit.  She had avoided the big tourist icons in Sydney and Melbourne to visit the lesser known in the other side of the world. I, on the other hand, had heard about Shell Beach and the dolphins at Monkey Mia but never found the time to visit.  To be in the same place at the same time was a logistically challenging exercise for both of us.  But, we, two gypsies at heart, found ourselves here and determined to enjoy the experience.  Unfortunately the high winds forced the cancellation of her dive tour, and as I had hired a car, we shared the cost and did some sightseeing together.

I left Shark Bay after a brief break feeling I had been on a month’s holiday.  It is a 8-10 hour drive from my home in the city.  Next time I’m determined to drive up here.  My schedule will just have to accommodate that “some day”.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Shell Beach, Western Australia

This is Shell Beach in Western Australia.  Given my love for beach combing, I was anticipating paradise.  It was.DSCN7586.jpgThe beach is 60km long and the coquina shells are about 10m deep.  One needs sunglasses here!  It is sheer brilliance.DSCN7574.jpgThe sea did not look too far away, but it was a deceptively long walk.  DSCN7577.jpgInterestingly, the wind has furrowed long gullies, so one disappears from sight while walking towards the ocean, dipping and surfacing, like a fun ride.DSCN7607.jpgTrillions of shells as far as the eye can see.DSCN7591.jpgAnd shells within shells.DSCN7599.jpgWe reached the water finally.  The colours of blue, beautiful.DSCN7601.jpgThe sea shimmered like plastic wrap.DSCN7628.jpgOn one ridge, I found spring in a bed of shells.

Another item off my bucket list.  Well, maybe not off my list completely.  I’m going to visit again.  The serenity of this beach, was amazing.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

The dolphins of Monkey Mia

Monkey Mia is about 900 km north of Perth.  The area is a Marine Park and World Heritage listed.

I love dolphins.  What’s not to love about them!  I experience joy every time I see them out in the wild in Jurien Bay or in Esperance.  Seeing them without warning is always exciting so I had mixed feelings about going to Monkey Mia to see them as a tourist attraction.

The bottlenose dolphins of Monkey Mia are an attraction for tourists and researchers.  The wild dolphins come to shore to feed and have been doing this for decades after the practice was accidentally developed when local fishermen, in this tiny township, threw fish scraps over their boats.  Now, the feeding and interaction is monitored carefully by marine scientists employed by a government agency.  DSCN7828.jpgI arrived in Monkey Mia with a travelling companion on a perfect, picture postcard day.DSCN7869.jpgI noticed the speaker kept one hand in pocket and the other held a tiny microphone as she explained the history, ending with a firm warning, no touching the dolphins.  As she started her spiel, the dolphins raced in from the open sea.DSCN7835.jpgThey lined up for feeding!  Yes, queued up!DSCN7847.jpgWhat do they make of us!  Look at the ‘knowingness’ in that eye!DSCN7850.jpgThe feeding is strictly minimal, more like a small snack.DSCN7843.jpgAnd, when excited hands miss their mark, the dolphin scans the sandy floor, with one eye wide open, the other shut.DSCN7823.jpgI watched one get away and slip under the jetty.  It swam out to the space between the crowds and a small pier.  Then I saw a little girl break away too from her family to watch the lone dolphin.  The dolphin swam back and forth in the small space, while the audience of one watched on bemused.

The area around the Marine Park is now being developed in all kinds of ways to draw people in.  The cynic in me could not resist a smirk.  DSCN7824.jpgBut this moment, between girl and dolphin, certainly made me smile.

A precious moment of innocence away from the crowds.  I needed to see this too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Ballerinas, in the bush

I had never thought to look for wild orchids in Helms Arboretum, Esperance.  I usually park here for a few minutes when I visit the town to enjoy the parrots in the tall gum trees and to catch a few minutes alone.  But having read a blog recommended by Tracy (Reflections of an Untidy Mind), I walked around instead of staying in my car.

Wild orchids love debris of leaves and fallen logs.  So do snakes.  Dugites look like fallen twigs.  They are deadly and agile.  Spring time is their time.  Maybe that explains why I have never walked around here before.  But I was prepared this time for bush walking and dressed in my best protective gear.  I stepped off the plane to here.

DSCN7548.jpgTo the novice, this is just rubble.  Not me.  My heart raced as I walked around.  I anticipated seeing some wild orchids, just as the blog had published.DSCN7108.jpgSoon I found the first orchids.  DSCN7303.jpgTiny bulbs.  I had never seen orchid bulbs before.DSCN7305.jpgThe donkey orchids bloomed, stained like tortoise shells, in their hundreds.DSCN7279.jpgAmong the grass there were spider orchids.DSCN7269.jpgOh! so graceful in bud!DSCN7268.jpgWhen blooming, they danced around, ta da ing their way across grass and rubble.DSCN7275.jpgTheir heart, exquisite.DSCN7124.jpgSome bloomed in trios, each more graceful than their neighbour, in still posture.DSCN7337.jpgI headed over to the Lookout where there is a steep gradient over granite rock to bush land below.  I’ve found white sugar orchids here before, so I went looking.  I wasn’t disappointed!DSCN7549.jpgThere were some that were stronger in colour.  Each detail so perfect in dusk light.DSCN7355.jpgOthers, tinted white.DSCN7360.jpgAnd others, deep in the bush, barely pink.

I have no other words to describe these orchids, other than ballerinas, because they dance so gracefully, in the breeze.

They lit up my heart, eyes and mind.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

PS Thank you Tracy!

 

 

 

 

The Marlgu Billabong

I’m travelling but had to submit a post today when I saw the RDP was ‘Oasis’. This billabong is the closest I have come to an oasis. The memory is an oasis, as well.

A Shared Space

The visit to Marlgu Billabong  was a magic carpet ride.

Three women piled into one 4WD.  I sat in the back of the other, while two of the men in the group sat in front.  Often forgetting I was there, they talked candidly about love and life.  In silence I listened to their sensitive and meaningful perspectives.  How similar we all are!  We all hurt.  We all regret.  We all dust ourselves off and try again.  We all seek meaning to where we were, where we are and where we want to be.  The cycle of life.  I listen in silence and feel grateful for the opportunity to be where I am.

During the usual bone crunching ride we stopped intermittently.  The traffic and views are different here.  We let the yellow spotted monitor cross the road.  The shark was perfectly preserved in fierce heat on the salt flats.  Crisp…

View original post 179 more words

In spring, my steps are slow

Yesterday I spent the first three early hours of the day in Foxes Lair in Narrogin.  I barely walked two kilometers as there was so much to see.DSCN9972.jpgThe Lair was a florist shop.  There are thousands of flowers and different species every few steps.  Instead of rubber necking, I decided to explore one side of the track before exploring the other.   I also decided to look for the smaller flowers that the eye can barely see.DSCN9998.jpgI found tiny purple tassle flowers.DSCN9949.jpgBlue lechenaultia blooming in some corners.DSCN7060.jpgWhile others responded more slowly to sunlight.  Blue and purple flowers are more difficult to see in dense bushland where white, pink and yellow are dominant colours in spring.DSCN7079.jpgI spent a lot of time with the exquisitely tiny paper everlasting flowers.  They are barely visible to the naked eye.DSCN7090.jpgThey love the sun and open at first rays before one’s eyes.DSCN7092.jpgHow cute is this?DSCN7089I loved the white flowers too, interspersed among the pinks.DSCN9992The tiny pink fairy orchids were scattered here and there.DSCN7084.jpgThe sundew were less frequently seen this month.  I love these flowers.DSCN9953.jpgThe hakea tassle flowers were frosting large bushes, white with pink tips.DSCN9990.jpgI found this beautiful white orchid, demurely blooming behind a log.DSCN7029.jpgI thought this was moss but it looks like a succulent of some kind.DSCN9979.jpgThis was the only pimelea I found during my walk.  Beautiful!DSCN7036.jpgI heard a squawk above my head, only to find a young redcap parrot, all ruffled to greet the day.DSCN7056.jpgWhile another young parrot groomed nearby.DSCN7051.jpgOn the ground, the red breasted robin kept me company.

I’m now off to the Great Southern region and when I return, I hope to have, more of the same.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Orange, is more than a fruit

In India we did not have oranges.  We had sweet limes and mandarins (that we called oranges).  Perhaps decades later, things have changed.

My mother came from a region well known for oranges.  We would get big woven baskets of fruit around Christmas time, the peel crystallized for Christmas cake.  My father would make the most delicious orange mousse, peeling pith off each segment so carefully, for decoration.  I loved the fresh smell of orange peel, and the leftover segments that was shared equally.  So, naturally, it is my happy fruit.

Orange makes me happy for other reasons.

DSCN8258.jpgWho doesn’t love a roaring, orange campfire burning in a ten gallon drum, like one I experienced at a cattle station in the Kimberley.  Just add billy tea, cowboys and music, and I’m in a happy place again.DSCN7179.jpgA blazing sunset at Cable Beach, Broome.  One of my favourite beaches to visit.DSCN5901.jpgThe orange sands of Cemetery Beach, in Port Hedland, where we waited for turtles hatchlings, patiently.  Yes, the beach is across from the town’s cemetery!DSCN9043.jpgThe beautiful ranges in the far north Kimberley that erupt from the ground.  The light play is stunning at sunset or dawn.DSCN8257The delicate wings of a dragonfly, etched in gold and orange.DSCN9249.jpgThe silent full moon that creeps up at night, unexpectedly.DSCN9232The soft sage like eyes of an emu.DSCN8528.jpgA lantern at dusk, that signals, this is home.

Orange is no longer just a happy fruit.  It is an experience, for me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Grace, by the sea

As a child I would sit for hours on the back landing of my aunt’s home in Mumbai and watch the tides come in and roll out again.  I would watch the fishermen sing in unison as they heaved their heavy wooden boats out to sea or mended their nets on shore.

The lure of the sea has never left me.  It is ironic I feel this way.  A non-swimmer, I’m terrified of the power of water.  Yet, the ocean is as soothing as mother, to me.DSCN7116.jpgI walked along the shore early morning in Exmouth.  I was the only one on the beach.  I usually like it that way.  Every few steps, I stopped and watched the sea trying to figure out whether the tide was coming in or going out.DSCN7101.jpgI stood mesmerised by the grace of movement of this powerful ocean before me as it whooshed at my feet so elegantly.DSCN7115.jpgLeaving behind a bounty of coral, shells and smooth pebbles.

Then the ocean, this mother, drew breath, only to exhale again with delicacy.  So I did the same.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

I see beautiful things …

I’m a bird without feathers and wings.  I seem to be more often in the air, than I am on land.  My flights take me to beautiful places.  Importantly, I see beautiful things.

I walked along the shore yesterday in Exmouth, 1200+ kms north of Perth.  The waves are particularly huge at this isolated beach.  With one eye on the tide, I took my time, camera in hand and explored the world at my feet.DSCN7060.jpgWhere the waves crashed, I found a sea urchin unexpectedly.  DSCN7056.jpgAnd another left behind by the sea on the damp sand,DSCN7055.jpgadjacent to seagull tracks.DSCN7054.jpgFurther up, there was another, still beautiful with spikes, left behind by time.DSCN7046.jpgAnd even more beautiful, ‘de-spiked’.DSCN7053Some with a hint of lavender.DSCN7042.jpgOthers buried in sand.DSCN7065.jpgAn artefact of the ocean, on land.

Thrilled with my experience on the beach I headed to the hotel and read up a little on sea urchins only to learn, they are reborn by turning themselves inside out.

Writers do this, too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

Bark

I work with a colleague intermittently and observed she loves trees, especially ancient ones, like boabs.  She reaches out to them and palm on tree, stands silently as if in reverence.  The moment is always so sacred, it forces me to look away to give her privacy.

This post is for her.  She taught me, a tree is more than canopy.

DSCN9451.jpgDimpled.DSCN7918.jpgFlaky.DSCN7728.jpgFrilled.DSCN7873.jpgUndressed.DSCN9882.jpgStripped.DSCN9916.jpgStriped.DSCN9917.jpgPainted.DSCN7910Peeled.DSCN7050Bejewelled.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

An aunt, by any other name …

I’ve been waiting to share my memory of this aunt.  The time never seemed right.  But tonight seems an opportune time, as she was a teacher by profession and today being Teacher’s Day.

She was my mother’s oldest sister who came after two sons in a sibship of ten.  She was beautiful in youth, chiselled features, a twinkle in her eye, long dark hair draped over one shoulder.  She remained that way as she aged.

My aunt had a profound sense of responsibility for her siblings and cared for them like they were her children.  They, in turn, respected her authority.  She was an indulged daughter who was known by her nickname, Baby, by her parents, and later siblings that followed.  As the nieces and nephews came along, she asked us to call her ‘Baby Darling’.  Her reasoning was simple.  She never married and did not have anyone to call her darling.  We accepted this.

Her name tripped off our tongue with easy, “Baby Darling this …”, “Baby Darling that …”.  The memory of this makes the child in me smile.  She had a closet in her bedroom that she kept locked.  It was a treasure trove.  It was always overstocked with perfumes and chocolates, and we crowded around her for the treats she shared generously.  Despite all the beautiful bottles of perfume, I recall she had a strong preference for Tiger Balm for pain.  Imagined or real.

Unlike my mother, who was always immaculately groomed, my aunt spent her day in PJs and slippers.  Her reasoning, was simple.  She was home.  It was her castle where she was queen.  She could do what she liked.  If my mother objected and pleaded with her to dress for visitors, she would say, if they were offended, they could come back when she was dressed … which was never … and then follow this statement with a peal of laughter!  We loved her eccentricity.

She was fiercely protective of her siblings and the extended family.  She was the protector of all secrets.  As teenagers we confided in her with absolute trust.  Our secrets were safe in the vault of her heart.  She giggled like a young girl at our stories of teen love, then she would share little snippets of her love life.

There was a sadness in her life.  It made her eyes sparkle.  Oh! the sweet pain of forbidden, unattainable love, far from being a burden, made her glow from the inside. Tennyson’s words, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”, far from loss, was a triumph that glided her path.

As she walked with us step by step from childhood to teen years and beyond, little did she know, the children at her knee had learnt the best lesson about life.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Take Five

It was cold in the Wheatbelt town of Merredin.  I woke to find I was curled up tight in the womb of my warm bed.  I turned the heater on and leapt back into bed while I listened to the freight train roll by, rattling windows in the cabin, and let my thoughts travel too.

I recently stopped at a small cafe run by a retired couple in a small farming town.  She makes the best sandwiches!  And, her lemon curd tartlets are out of this world!  It was too early in the morning when I got there for me to justify buying baked goods, so I chatted to them while they made me breakfast.  The cafe also has a small shop attached to it.  It would appear the locals put things like jams and embroidered napkins there on consignment. So I wandered around while talking to them.

An old boot caught my eye.  It had a tag attached to it.  “$20 donation for Give Cancer the Boot”.  It turns out someone’s daughter was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  The town has rallied to raise money.  Sprayed bright pink, the old boot belongs to a farmer who brought it in, with flower, to add to the money raising effort.

thumb_IMG_3604_1024.jpgThe boot sits outside my study window.  It reminds me life is fragile, and living in community makes one stronger.  I take time to talk to strangers.  They love to talk about their community, I’ve found.  Like the old boot that no longer dances, but the story of its new life, can still make a heart sing.  So I consciously and mindfully live life closer to the source and Source.DSCN9631.jpgThe clump of snowdrops at my doorstep has grown, having arrived three weeks later than they did last year.  They seem to have survived another year of my old gardener’s enthusiasm for clearing flower beds and his failing eyesight!.  I looked through dozens of flowers and found myself wanting to see what was under the hood.  Now I know!thumb_IMG_3600_1024.jpgIn the back garden the Cape Gooseberry is fruiting.  I love this fruit and they hardly ever stay long enough on the bush without me picking off the lanterns while still green.  I found this one on the ground, encased in gossamer, the detail, exquisite.DSCN9803.jpgI know while bush walking, there are tiny flowers and foliage to search for and delight in.  I also know some folks are intent on the walk itself, and miss what my eyes search for.  I also know that’s their journey, not mine.  So I let them walk by.DSCN9780.jpgWhat I search for in bush country, are the tiny wild orchids that grow in impossible places.  They remind me of a plaque I have in my study “Bloom where God plants you”.DSCN9799.jpgThis year the orchids are prolific.  DSCN9756I love the detail of these delicate orchids that seem to bloom in harsh conditions, with attitude!  If this is not a diva presence, I’m not sure what is!DSCN9819.jpgAnd who can walk past the beautiful banksia and not stop to marvel at this wonderful plant.  I love the symmetry of the prickly leaves too.DSCN9836.jpgThere are tassle plants growing everywhere and after uploading the photograph, I can see the details, hidden to the naked eye.  I’ve come to learn through photography, beauty is often sensed and not always seen, until later.DSCN9993.jpgThese are mallee and gum trees.  The mallee is like a gangly teenager, with out of proportion limbs and leaves.  Or, so I thought.  DSCN9996.jpgWhen I stood under it, I had to ask myself, how did I miss this before?DSCN9913.jpgYes spring is here.  The turnip weed flowers are everywhere alongside roads and highways.  The soft canola, is painted across the landscape in broad strokes of vivid yellow.

This is just a view.  A fleeting view.  Pedestrian, if you like.  Just like life.  Unless one stops long enough to cherish living a full and meaningful one.

So, promise yourself today to take five.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird