I missed it!

It seems another year has ended in a blink.  I’ve travelled endlessly in 2018.  I’ve tried several times to look at my schedule to count the trips and given up by the time I got to March.  The number no longer matters, but the fun I’ve had, does.

So when on to a good thing why Segway off course.  There’s more of the same in the coming months, so move aside, or watch this space, as I segue into 2019.

thumb_IMG_3873_1024.jpgI’m planning more adventures.DSCN9591.jpgAnd will travel winding roads with destination in mind.DSCN6407.jpgI will spend time seaside in the company of seagulls.DSCN5774.jpgI will seek wisdom in silence.thumb_IMG_3928_1024.jpgAnd enjoy working with purpose.  Head down …. you know the drill.DSC_0570.jpgI will learn a sunset is always perfect, and like life, never marred by the unexpected. DSCN4654.jpgAnd like waves, transiency is also beautiful.thumb_IMG_3869_1024.jpgI will take time to watch in awe …thumb_IMG_3870_1024.jpgThe palette I am given each day.thumb_IMG_3950_1024.jpgI will look for the unexpected in whimsy, maybe even throw caution to the wind and let walls once built strong crumble, to let ‘Barry’ in!thumb_IMG_3868_1024.jpg“All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind” (Khalil Gibran)

Cheers!  May we meet in the New Year to dine again in blogosphere.

Until then my warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for 2019.

As always

a dawn bird



Those of you who read my blog and know me personally will attest to my dislike for the promotion of technology as connection.  But I read something this morning ‘Christmas Presence’, beautifully written and evocative, on Elan Mudrow’s blog and it made me think about connection differently. (Apologies, I’m not tech savvy to link).  Thank you Elan.  You inspired me today.

People go online for different reasons. Some to find love while others find it unintentionally.  Having experienced both, I prefer the latter.  I no longer look for love in the wider world, but have enjoyed the thrill of a ping early morning or late at night that reminds me that I’m in someone’s thoughts that day.  But, it didn’t satiate a yearning.  A yearning for connection on a deeper level, where the unsaid is understood.  So I returned to the computer to write for an unknown, unseen audience where words connect and found vibrancy in my life again.

As a community we come together to write.  We are here because we love to do this.  Writing is a paradox.  We are solitary when we write and yet, we write to connect.  When we do, we are writers.

We write because we love words.  We love that we can play with them.  We build them up, tear them down, pull them apart, stomp on them, tip toe on them, dress them up into something else, chew them, spit them out, savour them in our mouth and mind.  In the moment they are our toys, not to be shared while we play with them, then we release them to make them communal playthings.  Make of it what you may.

The best is when one holds someone else’s words up to light and sees something unintended that brings joy.  We see a soul.

That to me, is connection.  And, like an electrical current, and much like falling in love, invisible until ignited.



Framed behind glass, your words are lit

alone in darkness, they are brighter,

so I return, peer through the fissure

where light escapes

to catch a glimpse

of you, again.

a dawn bird


New Norcia

New Norcia in the Wheatbelt is a small town about 1.5 hour drive from home.  It is Australia’s only monastic town established in 1847.  I drive past it on the way to Moora where I work once every couple of months.  A new highway bypasses the town.  The bypass is a series of sweeping chicanes and although a freight route for road trains, this part of the highway is a pretty fun drive.DSC_0119.jpgThe monastery has several buildings including a small church, all built in Spanish influenced architecture.  I stayed here once overnight.  It was quite an experience!  I drove up the drive way, the building before me resonated of Tara, so naturally the  phrase, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” looped in my head.

My room was tiny and sparse.  (I’m not sure why I had higher expectations, this is a Benedictine monastery after all!)  The toilet was down the corridor.  I was terrified at night!  I was convinced shadows were shapes, ghostly shapes.  The stuff of nightmares!  It brought out every child’s fear in me.  I had to walk down and back with just a small torch to light my path.DSC_0139.jpgI’ve returned several times here to visit.  I love the little church where I spend a quiet moment or two.DSC_0125.jpgThere were two large boarding schools here, now hired out for events.DSC_0136.jpgThe monks live behind the ornate gate.  They often run retreats.  I’d like to attend one some day.  As a child I enjoyed a weekend silent retreat once a year that we had at school.  On reflection, I have enjoyed moments of silence all my life.  I’ve just realised this.

About 30 years ago the little church was robbed during daylight.  Twenty five post Renaissance paintings were stolen and recovered later, damaged, before they were shipped off to Asia.  This small town and monastery rallied.  They started up a cottage industry selling olive oil and wood fired bread.  The bread is no longer their business, having been sold to a bigger bakery in Perth.  The olive oil is expensive but it is fruity and the real deal.

New Norcia is smack in Wheatbelt country, open beige fields, dust and heat.  The incongruity of this oasis here never fails, yet there is a familiarity that draws me to it.  The architecture is similar to the school I went to in my early childhood, so I try and visit whenever time permits.

It’s time to end my day, so until next time

As always

a dawn bird




Bespoke dawn

My mother told me I was born to the sound of birdsong, so I wake each day to the same.  I quarantine that time for myself until I share it with an unknown audience.  This is my practice every day regardless of where I am in this large State.

My eyes are not always on the horizon.  The horizon is only a horizon when framed by something else.  It is changeable depending on the vista and perception.  Life has taught me to focus on what is within my power to change.  So my eyes focus on my feet where, when faced with crossroads, I make a choice which path I take.

Unlike my professional day, my personal day is uncharted so I start here at dawn.  It is a place of integration.  It is where I’m put together as one.

Bespoke dawn

The morning is my chapel

A painted sky, the ceiling

birdsong for hymn so sweet

a raptor folds his wings to listen

under a tree canopy,

I practice silence

surrounded by sound

and in that stillness

I seek and find Thee.

DSCN8824A young boab tree, Roebuck Bay, Broome, Western AustraliaDSCN9646Esperance Bay, Esperance, Western AustraliaDSCN0216Young bee catcher, Parry Creek, Wyndham, Western AustraliaDSCN9916Gum trees, South West, Western AustraliaDSCN8897Purple enamel orchid, South West, Western Australia

My wish for you is that you find your own space where you create your day, too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird




A world of imagination, my hope


Some people experience feelings of depression in winter.  My experience is different.  I don’t experience depression but I do feel a bit pensive towards the end of the year.

This year is no different.  A few hours ago I needed something to lift my spirit.  The picture above did this.  It was taken at Gantheaume Point in Broome some years ago.  It is one of my favourite pictures.  I felt good looking at the photograph but it wasn’t enough.  I went looking for books and found one by Robert Fulghum, one of my favourite authors, on the book shelf.  Gosh!  when did I last go into my front study?  Being home for a few days makes me feel like I’m walking through a haunted house.

I’d like to share one of Robert Fulghum’s quotes with you.

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.”

It is joyous and always brings a smile on my face.  My wish for you today is that it offers you the same experience.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

A child is born …


It seems fitting at this time of year to talk about childbirth, so I’ll go there!

There are traditions around childbirth in various cultures.  I’ve been exposed to two.  Both very different.

As a child in India i was always surrounded by infants or pregnant women.  Yet, the first time I carried an infant in my arms was when my daughter was placed in mine after birth.  I can still remember the overwhelming sense of wonder and love but was brought back to reality real fast.

I had my baby in a Western country where traditions are different.  One is sent home, sometimes on the same day after giving birth.  And, if working, one gets a few months maternity leave.  If one is lucky maybe a year.  I returned to work nine months after my daughter was born, and five months after my son was born.  The fact I had no choice, that’s how life was, does not lessen my regret.  My disappointment should have plunged me into depression.  It didn’t.  Not sure why, but it didn’t.

When pregnant there were several other women in the office who were due around the same time as me.  And, yes, we blamed a chair in the tea room.  The talk around the table was usually post natal depression (PND).  It was almost a given that one would experience it.  I was perplexed.  I had not heard of PND before.  The women of my childhood were always surrounded by others who seemed to know what support the new mother needed.  DSC_0504Like the tree in a Japanese park, folks seemed to sense where the vulnerability was so support was given psychologically, and also in practical ways.

In India, (at least in the days of my childhood and it is possible this tradition no longer is practiced), soon after the mother gives birth, she is nurtured for 40 days.  She rests and every need is catered.  A special sweet, sort of a bliss ball, made from clarified butter, sugar, edible gum, dried fruits and nuts is made, stored, and eaten every day.  The high caloric food is thought to nourish a mother who breastfeeds.  I can remember aunts and my mother’s friends, lying back on a bed like Cleopatra, having massages with coconut oil rubbed into limbs and hair.  I wanted some of that!

Having experienced so different an experience in a Western culture, I decided to create my own tradition.  I wrote a letter to each of my children after they were born detailing the events surrounding their birth.  It became their favourite story at bedtime.  “Tell me what happened when I was born”, became a plea for some years.  If that didn’t promote good bonding, I’m not sure what else could have been better.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird









When an end, is a beginning

It’s that time of year.  We may have played host or experienced the graciousness of another.  It’s a time of year when we connect to a Greater Being, others and self.  Hope your day was filled with love and laughter.

Raised a Catholic, Communion was a sacrament received every Sunday and sometimes, more often during the week.  For me, it symbolised oneness.  Long after my divorce the local parish priest advised me I could return to the church, but I could not bring myself to attend Mass and not receive communion.  It’s like being invited to dinner and then told you cannot join others at the table.  Year later I found a priest who encouraged me to receive communion, but I would have to go to reconciliation first.  The challenge for me is to find a priest who is deaf and has a strong heart!  I do believe one day I will be one with my community again because receiving the host is deeply meaningful to me.  The more human I become, my faith gets stronger.  The return of the prodigal is inevitable.  In the interim, I receive the host in other ways.

I often look at the full moon and see a host in the sky.  Much like receiving one, the full moon gives me a sense of oneness.  There is a certain benevolence in the luminosity, so I live in the light, even at midday.

I can recall one evening in Broome.  I was there for the Pearl Festival (Shinju Matsuri).  One of the iconic events is the Floating Lanterns.  I’ve written about it in another post  The full moon.

At that time I had been seeing someone and enjoyed many fun filled hours with him.  I usually don’t tell people what I do for a living until I know them well.  With him, it was easy talk for me.  I felt I could be myself from the first day we met.  Maybe it was me who relaxed more easily in his company and quicker than he did in mine.  It felt refreshing and safe.  Unlike me, he took longer to get there, and when he did, I realised I did not like what was revealed.  DSCN1501.jpgWe were on the beach on the night of the Floating Lanterns.  It was an enchanted sepia dusk, warm and balmy.  The lanterns glowed in the dark as the waves took them further away from the shore.  In that beautiful moment of a moving ceremony, I experienced an epiphany.  I had absolutely nothing to gain and even less to lose.  I wondered how I could extradite myself from the situation.  I turned my back to the ocean and started to walk back to our belongings.  This is what I saw.DSCN1479I knew in an instant where I was in my life.  I was at one with the real me.  That mattered a lot.  It had taken me years.  I was not prepared to compromise on anything and there was nothing worth compromising.  It was liberating to walk away.  An ending became a new beginning.

So here I am untethered again.  My heart is no longer a host to another but the warmth of hospitality remains undiminished.  When the time is right, my heart will be ready to play host again.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





All I want for Christmas …

It’s Christmas Eve.  I’ve had a really big day.  I’m now alone in the home and it should be quiet but it’s not.  The neighbours are having a pool party.  I usually enjoy their playlist that drifts over the fence, but not tonight.  They are singing loudly.  Off key.

It’s that time of year when the birth of Christ is celebrated.  The concept of ‘organised religion’ is something I’ve drifted away from but will return to one day.  In the meantime I cannot resist walking into a church where ever I am as a visitor.  One such visit was deliberate and well planned in advance.  On the way to Koojaman (Cape Leveque), some 200 km north of Broome, is the small community of Beagle Bay.  The church is the attraction (some may also say distraction).  The history is troubling.  Built in 1890 the Trappist monks tried to convert the indigenous population in the region to Christianity.  The tragic aftermath of this thinking reverberates to date.DSC_0738The church itself is austere from the outside.  The architecture is Bavarian, stark white in the fierce sun.DSC_0735.jpgInside it is resplendent in mother of pearl that is evident everywhere.

It is impossible to ignore news headlines these days.  The train wreck is visible no matter where one looks.  The reach of chaos is long.  What happens elsewhere in the world, impacts us here as well.  So I pray like a beauty queen.  I pray for world peace.  I’m convinced the commission of change does not lie with politicians, fanatical ideology, TV hosts or social media.  My belief is underscored by what I know professionally.  Like a ripple in a pond that is generated in the centre, change starts from within.  The most important and effective dialogue is the one we have in our head.  If we think differently, we behave differently and it transforms us, and our world.

This past year I have been energized by a fulfilled life of conscious living.  I have experienced joy, as it was intended.  It has been an interesting journey and I thank you for being part of it.

My wish is for you and your loved ones at this time of celebration and new beginnings, is to stay safe, care for each other, and care for the environment.  Above all, may you always be surrounded by the love and laughter of family and friends.

IMG_1972.jpgAs for me, … I’ll be somewhere on a beach, waiting for sunset.

Merry Christmas and may you dream big in the coming year.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


White magic

I’m in the throes of planning my new garden.  It’s an exciting time.  Today’s prompt took me back to my previous home that had a back garden in two levels.  The upper level had a hedge of 14 white ice berg roses that bloomed incessantly.  I planted white flowers in flower beds and pots too.  It was magical.  It looked like it snowed in summer.

I love white linen tops (last count, 17).  I’ll say no more!

So out of my wardrobe and into Nature …DSCN7607.jpgI wanted to visit Shell Beach up in Shark Bay some day.  I was there to see white shells.  I did.  Trillions of them.DSCN8885.jpgI love photographing seagulls, perhaps because of my love for the book ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’.  They remind me, I was given wings of freedom.  So I chart my own course and fly.DSCN8629I also love the white wave that brings a poised surfer to shore.DSCN8276The white sundew in spring.DSCN9978A beautiful pest, the arum lily, blooms in the hundreds, roadside in Busselton in the south west.DSCN9406The exquisite white boab flower that blooms up in the Kimberley.DSCN9021 The snowdrops that bloom at my front door, around the anniversary of my father’s passing.DSCN6810Then there are the roses in my garden.  Some pure white.DSCN9729Others, tinged with pink.DSCN2429.jpgAnd then there are those that appear against the white picket fence.  They are the first thing I see when I return from trips.  They say “Welcome home”.

Hope where ever you are, there’s some white magic in your life.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird






























Change, as good as a holiday

Summer solstice in Perth is officially a few minutes away.  In nature, a day of transition.  I’m no expert on weather, just an observer, and can attest this year has been the worst for fierce storms. DSCN7076.jpgDecember was to be a month of transitions for me too.  I was anticipating a whirlwind of final visits to all regions.  My trips were booked back to back and with three suitcases (Midwest, South West and Wheatbelt) all packed, it would have been easy to accomplish.  I started my month in Merredin.  I usually spend the night there after the clinic as it is a 3.5-4 hour drive home in open farming country.  Driving at dusk is hazardous with fox and kangaroo being a real threat to safety.  It was a beautiful start to summer with clear skies and early warmth.  I worked steadily all day, but about twenty minutes before my day ended I looked outside the window and noticed a sepia glow.  I walked outside and found massive clouds were rolling in.  I’ve experienced a storm cell in this region before.  I hurried, wanting to escape the onslaught.  I got as far as Kellerberrin, some 30 minutes away when it hit with force for the next hour and a half.  Spectacular lightening, thunder that made my teeth chattered and hail and rain violently smashing my car.  I calmed my nerves saying the insurance would cover any damage (my car is brand new, bought five months ago!).  I was second last in a convoy of several 4WDs, no doubt all contractors like me, headed home in a hurry.  I stayed with them for safety.  Along the way we were stopped, the police and ambulance helping at a roll over.  I averted my gaze.  This is not how a work day should end.  I was perfectly fine all day but by the time I got to Perth I could barely function.  My car was unscathed but not me.  I came down with a flu like virus and spent five days in bed.  I had to cancel two clinics.

I then went to Kalgoorlie, my days there are always busy.  Folks usually show up reliably for their appointments.  I was exhausted by the end of the first day and went straight to bed when I noticed the sky took on an unusual glow.  Then the summer storm hit.  Now, I’ve heard people talk about thunderstorms in the Goldfields but have never really experienced it myself despite working there monthly for years.  Similar to the experience in the Wheatbelt, once again the clouds collided, followed by a drawn out drum roll that sounded like an introduction.  The lightening intense and nuclear bright.  There was nothing gentle about the rain, either.  Already safe in bed I enjoyed the drama so much I decided to record the sounds.  I’ve heard it many times since, each time the memory is accompanied by smile.

Storms are much like life’s obstacles. A nuisance at the time, but enjoyed best on reflection.  This month I had five nights in my own bed.  I can’t remember the last time I did this!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



‘Tis the season, for love

I’ve spend the last two days reflecting on the meaning of love, perhaps, because of the time of year.  My reflections will give me something to write about in the coming weeks.  For now …

At one time I worked with elderly people where one of them was in cognitive decline.  I would often see them soon after a diagnosis was confirmed.  A difficult time.  Anticipating the road ahead for them and for the surviving partner, I would explore the resilience of the relationship.  I found the themes were invariably the same:  humour, and being there for the other.  Their thinking so alike, they were two peas in a pod.

I learned from the themes in these relationships, yes humour and presence, as simple as it sounds, works.  So this post is for them.


The tremor

She averts her gaze from the future

to his arms on the table

they are strong and still as a bridge

the junction,

where his smile carries her over

a dawn bird


When Christmas Day arrived early …

The young adults have opted to spend Christmas with their father as he’s due for major surgery early next year.  Although I’ll miss them, I’m touched by their thoughtfulness towards him and have agreed to celebrate Christmas early.  I’m headed off to the shops soon having written down my shopping list earlier this morning but thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect what Christmas means to me.

Unlike many others, cooking for family is a special Christmas joy for me.  Unlike many others, shopping for presents, is not.  When they were younger, I would insist my children write out a list of gifts, identifying shops, prices, and when the sale ended, as well.  They would get something off that list but never knew what and looked forward to the surprise.  I was relieved to spend less time browsing in crowded shops, parking in car parks filled with impatient people and would beat a hasty retreat home.  As they have grown into young adults, their needs are even more simple than when children.  They look forward to anything practical and useful.  I wonder where that influence came from!  I buy my family a small gift each to place under the tree.  A symbol, if nothing else.  I do give them a gift of $$ which they never ask for, but I know it helps them buy something indulgent, like a weekend away in Margaret River, that they would never otherwise spend on themselves.

The biggest gift for my family and me, is when we meet for the special meal.  I’ll cook a buffet straight for two days.  This year, they have broken tradition and asked if they can contribute a dish to the table.  My daughter sent me a text yesterday saying she had bought all what she needed for her dish.  I could sense her excitement.  I believe good will and generosity is contagious.  I have proof of that.

For twelve years after the divorce, the children’s father joined us and we ate as family on Christmas Day.  It was our family tradition, including gifts under the tree to each other.  I would cook up a storm, indulge in a few drinks (he doesn’t drink but would pour) and then curl up on the couch to watch my favourite movie and fall asleep exhausted.  When I woke, he would have done the dishes and the kitchen would be sparkling new but always, yes always, with at least one glass or dish being broken!  The thought of those years, makes me smile.  I recall my son who was a very young saying to me, “I don’t remember you being dad’s wife, but you’re a good ex-wife!”  Enuf said!

I have always been totally unrestrained with the menu.  I buy the best.  If you’ve seen the movie, ‘Babette’s Feast’, you’ll know what I mean!  It is also the only time of year when I have more than one drink with a meal, so I try a new drink or two as well.  We are having gin as our main drink, my daughter’s preference this year.  Like his father, my son does not drink at all, so it will be iced teas and virgin mojito for him.  My daughter’s partner is an ‘aussie bloke’, so it’s beer, although he does like craft beer, and this year I’ll get to try Sly Fox.  My son’s fiancee loves bubbles, it fills the air with laughter, so we’ll have some of that too.

The young men devour meat.  My daughter is a pescatarian.  My son’s fiancee has been a strict vegetarian by choice since she was 14.  All this makes cooking interesting.  I cook for my future daughter-in-law first, clean the kitchen so not to ‘contaminate’ her food.  Then comes the seafood.  Clean kitchen again and lastly, the meat (fillet of beef, duck breasts, pork belly).  We don’t eat the traditional turkey and ham meal.  Apricot ice cream and pavlova or meringue roulade and fresh fruit and cheese for dessert.  As for me, by the time I’m done, I can barely eat anything at all!

My Christmas in childhood was dissimilar but also very similar in many ways.  The emphasis was being together and giving of ourselves to family.  These memories I’ve left behind in a previous post … What Christmas means to me

The young adults will arrive later today to set up the Christmas tree with beautiful glass baubles I’ve collected over the years.  The home will be filled with talk and laughter.  I will slip into the role I love best with ease, mum.

Tomorrow Christmas Day will arrive early.  And, when I go to bed tomorrow night, the brightest star will be shining over our home.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


All roads lead from here …

I’ve just returned home from my last trip for the year.  I should be tired, but I’m not!  I’m already making plans for next year.

On the flight from Geraldton I thought about the time when I first accepted this type of work; work that entailed frequent travel around the State.  I recall that time of my life well.

A secure, tenured position is where I was, the unknown was … working for myself.DSC_0869.jpgI woke early one morning, a glorious morning.  My hotel balcony overlooked Roebuck Bay in Broome.  This is the moment I heard life speak to me, ‘Leave the ordinary behind’.

That was years ago.

Since then I’ve come to learn.  Like the photograph, one I’ve never been able to capture again, opportunities present themselves at the right moment.  One just has to be prepared to walk untethered from ‘here’ to ‘there’.

It’s a bridge worth crossing at least once in life.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird