Look this way!

Much like cyberspace, early morning in Big Swamp is noisy.  It is filled with tweets and squawks.

During my recent trip I found the air was filled with the high pitched squeaks of honeyeaters, the melodic songs of the Willy Wagtails, and the pained cry of the swamp hens as I approached.  The musk duck was being chased by another, the paddle speed of webbed feet on water, fast and furious.

I slowed my pace as I approached the boardwalk.  It is the intention, that slowing down of body and mind, that brings me here each time.DSCN9061.jpgI know the Welcome Swallows love sitting on the rails, facing the sun.  Sometimes they get used to my presence and accommodate my curiosity.  I’ve learned to extend the lens only when they look away, as movement is always a signal for flight.DSCN9089.jpgTo my surprise I found some Swallows on the ground near my feet. DSCN9091.jpgFear set aside, they were busy with nest building, focused on task.DSCN9115.jpgA slight movement from the corner of my eye caught my attention, a fairy blue wren darting and hopping among the foliage.  No matter how many times I see them, the flash of blue always makes my heart skip a beat.  DSCN9126.jpgThe male wren stood still for a moment.  So perfect.  It looked like an enamelled ornament, with blues upon blues found in sky and sea.DSCN9128.jpgIn contrast, the female’s beauty, is subtle.  Perhaps this is nature’s intention.DSCN9131.jpg While the male distracts she tends to her family, almost invisible, among debris.

Distraction is a powerful tool.  These tiny little creatures know this instinctively.  They use it for survival.

People in power know this too.

As I read today’s news headlines, I wonder …

Do we?

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Where seagulls fly

I once worked for historians.  It fostered a curiosity in me.  I don’t believe it is depressing or unhealthy that I’m drawn to pioneer cemeteries and memorials.  I want to know among the dead, who is in there and sometimes, why.  There is so much one can learn from the past.

It may sound ghoulish but it is one of my favourite places to visit when I’m in Geraldton.  It sits atop a hill, overlooking the town and the ocean beyond.  DSCN8719.jpgThe HMAS Sydney II Memorial is a place of quiet reflection. DSCN8726.jpgThe HMAS Sydney II was lost off the coast of Western Australia in November 1941, taking all 645 lives with it.  DSCN8724.jpgEach silver seagull, a memory.  In that space of the dead, they fly free, forever together, in sky and sea.DSCN8733.jpgShe turns her back on the Eternal Flame, her frame larger than life, just slightly larger.  The wind catches her dress.  She holds on to her hat.  That’s all she has for now.  Her scan of sea, unwavering.DSCN8735.jpgThe powerful emotion written across her face, of concern and dare I say hope, is of a  woman who has loved and lost.

In the quiet of the night I wonder, have we learnt from history?

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Yum!

 

 

I make it just once a year, and if cajoled, maybe twice.  It has not lost its place among the list of ‘must have’ desserts for our Christmas buffet in 30 years.

Made from dried Australian apricots, cream, egg yolks, lemon peel and a dash of Cointreau. It doesn’t need an ice cream maker to keep it smooth and creamy.  The rich calorie content takes care of that.

It is, in a word, sublime.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Feels like home

I’ve just returned from Bunbury.  If there is no traffic, the drive there is a steady two hours on a straight freeway that becomes a major highway to the South West.  Monotonous if one perceives that to be.  Not me.  I know what awaits me there. DSCN9030.jpgI got to Bunbury just moments before the sun slipped into the Indian Ocean.  A moment of pause for me and others too it would seem.DSCN9079.jpgThis morning I was up early and headed to Big Swamp where the bottlebrush is blooming.DSCN9057.jpgAmong the reedy grass I caught a glimpse of a swamp hen chick, not yet purple, blue and red.DSCN9097The Welcome Swallow chick was a delightful ball of fluffy feathers.  It is so new, it didn’t know fear of me.DSCN8978.jpgThere were chicks every where making a silent call for food.DSCN8996.jpgA young New Holland honeyeater obliged with a moment of stillness.DSCN9125.jpgThen came the Splendid Blue Fairy Wren, in his gorgeous feathers of blue.DSCN9127.jpgAfter a frantic game of chase, he rested with his mate.DSCN9136.jpgOn the other side of the boardwalk, the big cormorant ignored my presence.  I’ve not seen this type of cormorant here before.  It sat on the branch for the whole of two hours I was there.  Probably still there!

I spend a couple of hours here each time I visit Bunbury.  Even the regular walkers now know me by face and update me on what’s new in the wetlands.

As the late Duchess of Windsor purportedly said, home is where the heart is, so this morning, home was here.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

Full circle

The last month has been a roller coaster ride personally and professionally.  Perhaps it is the end of a busy year so I’m feeling more vulnerable and tetchy.

Bullying behaviour happens in all walks of life.  The time has come to call this behaviour for what it is.  My instinct is always to walk away from a bully.  They don’t deserve my time nor need to be in my space.  But this time, when pushed by a colleague, I pushed back.  Uncharacteristic of me and I found, a bully does what bullies do best, they retreat when called out.

Then it was the neighbour who had been trying to contact me regarding the damaged common fence.  I was expecting a showdown.

I walked around Foxes Lair one morning and said, ‘Lord, there’s too much on my plate” and after a couple of hours bush walking, although nothing had changed, I returned home feeling spiritually rested.

I caught up with my neighbours.  It was the first time I had met them since moving into my home about four years ago.  They were perfectly reasonably people!  Then I had a phone call from my line manager.  I was expecting, at best, a reprimand for being outspoken to someone in a higher position than me.  But no, he had called to ask me if I could help someone who was in dire need.  During our conversation I brought up, what I perceived to be bullying behaviour, with him and much to my surprise, he agreed with me and invited me to discuss these matters with him sooner rather than later.

Over the years I’ve learnt pilots use the phrase “we are expecting some weather” for turbulence.  My instinct is natural, I tighten my seatbelt.  So leaving Perth in perfect weather and expecting 30 degrees when I landed in Kalgoorlie, the pilot’s forewarning surprised me.  We landed after an uneventful flight.  The girl at the hire car counter grinned and said, “how was the flight” and was amazed when I told her it was smooth.  She told me a terrific storm had just passed Kalgoorlie and she was sure the flight would have experienced it.

A few minutes later I headed to the hotel, the massive open cut gold mine for my horizon, the backdrop a waterfall of lightening cascading.  Rain fell like pebbles.  It was still warm at dusk.  I had heard about the lightening storms in the Goldfields but have never experienced one before.  It was spectacular.  We had landed between storms.

My two days in Kalgoorlie are always busy.  I did not have time to visit my favourite park.  As I left the clinic I realised I hadn’t taken any photographs.  I looked up instinctively.  thumb_IMG_3842_1024.jpgGum blossoms.

The flight home was buffeted.  I closed my eyes and rewound the previous few days in my mind.  I recalled the moment I woke startled around 3 am when a clap of thunder ricocheted around the town, snuggled deeper in bed and realised, there’s something wondrous about watching a storm from the safety of one’s bed.  I held on to that imagery until we landed safely in Perth.

I was raised to believe in a higher power that is loving and benevolent.  It is not everyone’s way of thinking and I respect that.  Equally, I’ve come to respect, what prayer means to me.

When busy I’ve found I have a tendency to slide away from the familiar and when I do, I feel rudderless.  I am mindful of this.

This month I recalled something I had read some years ago that was a useful spiritual compass for me.  I’ve paraphrased here.

When you don’t feel the presence of God in your life, ask yourself, who moved away? 

This reflection always returns me to where I started from.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Where all roads take me …

I’m spending a few minutes reflecting on the past month.  I’ve travelled far and wide in the Midwest, the Wheatbelt, the South West and my usual trips to other places too.  There was so much I didn’t know about the State, so, although a bit tired, the travelling has been worth it.DSCN8462.jpgI found a sculpture in Kulin, left behind after the last ‘Blazing Swan’ festival.  The festival runs to a similar theme to The Burning Man.  This was the swan’s egg.  How did I not know about this festival!  When I returned home, I looked at the website.  It looks awesome!DSCN8554In the Wheatbelt I also watched some birds, like me, work hard to create their nest.DSCN8595.jpgThe wildflower season was ending in Mingenew in the Midwest, and although past their prime, some were still sunny side up.DSCN8600.jpgWhile in other places, there was harmonious diversity in all colours.DSCN8613.jpgI came across details in tiny insects that the naked eye could not see.DSCN8639.jpgI walked along the walking trail high above West Beach in Esperance where teenage surfers start their day and where I like to start mine.  They stick together in a pod and have each other’s back.  Earlier this year a Great White hung around for hours just 100 metres from shore.  Although I watch them with a mother’s eye, I can’t help but admire their youthful dare.DSCN8657.jpgI’ve come across extraordinary, in the ordinary.  Reminders for me that any job is ordinary, but how we perceive what we do, takes it to another level.DSCN8662.jpgI examined the wonderful weirdness of Nature closely and found I was wrong, there’s nothing weird about delicate intricacy.DSCN8850.jpgThe striking vividness of colour on shrubs stopped me in my tracks.DSCN8935.jpgAnd also when I caught sight of an errant Running Postman on the ground.DSCN8898Color in nature can be striking when plain.DSCN8930.jpgOr subtle in varying hues.DSCN8954.jpgThere are also some attention seekers saying, ‘look at me’!DSCN8958.jpgAnd just when I thought I was alone while bush walking, I realised, I had company.

I’ve found a way to generate balance in my day.  These moments of mindfulness, usually first thing in the morning, add an extra dimension to my day and what I do for a living.

Over the years I’ve come to the understanding, in those moments of mindfulness, all else falls away.

I’m off today and before the end of the month will have completed three more trips.  But tonight in keeping with a balanced life, it will be room service and rubbish TV!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Say it with flowers

I love fresh flowers.  Sadly, with frequent travel it is a luxury I cannot indulge in.  I do return home from each trip to a front garden full of roses.  They seem to bloom profusely, partly because I have given my neighbours permission to cut as many as they like for themselves.  It’s a win-win situation.

Last week a bunch of flowers was also a white flag to irate neighbours who I hadn’t met before and much to their frustration could not contact me when the fence blew down.

When my son was about five, the neighbour who lived across the road from us lost her husband to cancer.  My son promptly stated he wanted to give her flowers.  I cut some iceberg roses and placed them in a laundry basket as I snipped at the bushes, thinking I’d keep some for myself and do up a bunch for her.  No!  My son insisted, she was to have all of them.  The image of a five year old child staggering across our front yard to her home, laundry basket filled with white iceberg roses, is a precious memory.

My recent memories are embedded in flowers.  I’ve found in this State something is always blooming somewhere.

Oh!  the irony of living in a happy place and not knowing it!DSCN8938.jpgThis morning I walked around in Foxes Lair.  There were so many flowers to see and enjoy.  It was overwhelming. DSCN8963.jpgThe long view was beautiful.  But what was at my feet?DSCN8911.jpgI found this straggly plant, probably a weed.  Just green foliage but wait, there was a hint of colour.  It is imperceptible even now when I look for it.DSCN8883.jpgI waited for the sunrise and returned to the plant.DSCN8870.jpgI’m not sure if it is a weed or not but it lifted my flagging spirits.DSCN8757.jpgThe tea tree flowers were growing everywhere, sprayed here and there, over leaf debris.DSCN8832.jpgThen there was this gorgeous plant.  Exquisite.DSCN8897.jpgThis enamel orchid took my breath away.  I’ve never seen one this tiny.DSCN8852.jpgI looked deep into tiny flowers.  Each perfect in creation.DSCN8939.jpgThis trigger plant was a stronger pink compared to those that were in the palest pink hues.DSCN8956.jpgA gorgeous succulent.DSCN8944.jpgThere were all shades of purple.  This one so vivid against grey debris.

I walked around Foxes Lair this morning, listening to the crunch of my boots on dirt and dried leaves, the twittering of birds, the intermittent cacophony of kookaburras, the shower of gum nuts from above.

I know one thing for sure.  I can’t wait to return.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird