Autumn Song


It was summer twenty four hours ago
my skin is still burnished brown
the dawn sun ignites a signal lamp
and spells in code,
slow down.

My girth is too wide for embrace
but where my wisdom is kept
I am matriarch
alive among sapling and dead wood
I am old, as I am young again

Come closer, yes, closer
lean in
hear my autumn song.

a dawn bird

(In response to the RDP word, diametric)


I have yet to get to Narrogin well before dark to enjoy Foxes Lair at leisure.  I’m always pressed for time and promise myself, I’ll do better next month.  I was in Narrogin a few days ago.  I drove into town just before it got too dark for me to drive through the reserve.  What I saw fulfilled me, much like a sacred communion does.DSCN7633.jpgI caught the last rays of sun through these flowers.  Love the detail in the leaves.DSCN7696.jpgThe bush is getting ready for autumn.  The sphere banksia groves were a brilliant green lace.DSCN7761.jpgIt was late at dusk.  The bush was quiet.  The birds were resting, their day done, when I saw this Painted Lady flower vine climbing up a tall tree, the limbs looked frosted but on zoom, the flowers were gorgeous in detail.  These flowers are quite small and grow in clumps.

I have become accustomed to the sounds in this reserve.  My hearing is acute.  I’ve learned not to startle at the sound of rustling leaves.  If I listen, the rustle is usually followed by a rhythmic bounce that can only mean one thing, kangaroo.DSCN7635.jpg
This time it was different.  Sitting in my car I heard subtle nibbling grass sounds.  I peered around me.  Nothing!  Must be a rabbit, I thought.  I leaned back in the car and rested when this took shape.  Oh! the thrill!DSCN7637.jpg
They were just beautiful.DSCN7657.jpg
This little one is learning to be discerning.  His ears twitched, one this way and the other, that, with mother nearby, doing the same.

I’ve travelled to the Eastern Wheatbelt and south west region, hitting several towns in a few days.  Many, many kilometres on my own.  I loved it!

I spent last night in Bunbury.  Weary, I treated myself to a nice hotel room.  It was 8 pm before I realised I had not eaten all day.  The evening was warm, so I decided to walk into town and buy some dinner.  It felt exhilarating to walk at night on my own to the centre of town and not feel a skerrick of fear.  I have come a long way and my spirit celebrates this at every opportunity.

I’m off again tomorrow, this time east of Bunbury to Bridgetown, Greenbushes and Balingup, and, then to the coastal towns of Dunsborough and Busselton.  I hope to share some of my life on the road with you when I return.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

A post, without pictures

This post comes with a disclaimer and warning.  If you have experienced trauma, it is probably best you don’t read the post.  If you choose to read it and feel distressed, please talk to someone who can support you.  (This is also a very long post).

This is a reflection on something that happened years ago.

I was taken aback by my feelings about the Me Too movement.  I went through periods of anger, hopelessness and even unnecessary bravado until I talked to someone who helped me join the dots.  

I was in my twenties. I had a job.  I had my own place.  I was in love with Dr T.  Life was sweet.  My unit was a short 10 minute walk to the main street to catch my bus to work.  I would walk past a small building site where young tradies would be loud, jostle each other and vie for attention. On a summer’s day and around 7 am, people were out in their garden watering plants, no different than any other day when I heard a jogger behind me.

I moved to the side to let him go by when he hit me from behind.  The force sent me flying sideways into the lane way between homes.  Out of sight from others we tussled and somehow I whacked him under his nose.  He flew to his feet in pain, I got to my feet, and dusted myself off, absolutely furious.  I thought he was being dared by his mates and warned him, “I know where you work, I’m going to report you”.  He backed off and said, “I know where you live” and then proceeded to tell me his intent.  I didn’t process his threat.  I was angry at the indignity of what had just happened.  On reflection, shock made me process things differently.  I went through the lesser priorities of the moment.  He had torn my blouse and left a zig zag tear.  “He ruined my top!”,  “I need to go home and change my clothes”, “Damn! I’ve missed my bus”.   He jogged off.  A neighbour came to my aid.  I waited at home for the police.  No fear, still fuming.  The police interviewed the tradies and no one could recall seeing the man.  I have no memory for the rest of the day.

Later that night I waited for Dr T to arrive for dinner.  My unit’s big glass sliding door opened on to the front lawn.  The entrance door was at the back of the building.  I saw a tall man lean over my mailbox.  Dr T!  I opened the sliding door.  The figure straightened up and walked towards me.  The walk was unfamiliar.  In an instance I remembered the threat made earlier that day.  Fear nearly paralysed me.  I stepped back into the unit, locked the door and switched off the lights.  I had the advantage of darkness.  I heard him check the bedroom window, the two bathroom windows, the front door, then the kitchen window.  Then back to the front door and tried to jimmy the lock.  I dragged the landline to the door.  In panic I dialled random numbers.  I knew he was listening.  I pretended to talk to the police as if they were down the street, waiting for him.  When I stopped talking, there was silence.  I knew he was gone.  Dr T came over.  I moved out of the unit that night.

Four years later the police arrested him.  He had attacked 13 women around the city, four laid charges.  He was not one of the workmen at the building site but was working across the road from my unit.  He had seen me leave that morning.  He told his workmates he was going to the toilet, stepped out of his overalls when he jogged up behind me.  Then calmly came back and got dressed in his overalls.  No one remembered the clothing I described.

He got a $100 fine for each of the four charges.

Life went on.  I did not give the incident any thought.

I lived a life like most others.  Love, marriage, children, divorce, career. On the surface it would suggest the incident did not have any impact on me.  My professional self has been safe and clear thinking.  I am trained to deal with the unexpected and I have encountered it more times than I care to remember.  I worked in high risk environments before I started my own practice.  I travel alone on lonely country roads most of the time for my work.  I enjoy a solitary walk in the bush where I am warier of encountering a snake, than a human being.  Every time I hear a tragic incident of someone being attacked, I consider myself lucky.  After all, I wasn’t harmed.

Or so I thought.

On a personal level this impacted me on a fundamental level.  I was trapped in my own home, my safe place.  I have lived with triggers without knowing this until I had a light bulb moment in a small town.  Maybe I was overly tired to react the way I did and I’m glad I was.

It was a Sunday.  The sesh was on at the pub when I saw two men get thrown out.  They pushed and shoved as the altercation spilled on to the street, a few feet from me.  There was swearing and laughter from observers.  I crossed over the road but then abandoned my walk and returned to the car.  I was trembling.  I went back to the hotel and lay in bed, reflected on why I felt the way I did.  I phoned a friend and in talking we realised I was triggered by the loud laughter.  I also realised why I am so careful about giving out my home address.  (“I know where you live”).  Both these triggers were scorched into memory just before and after the incident.

This incident shaped the way I lived without me knowing it.  I was fearful in my home for decades but felt safer in the community by day.  The incongruity of my functioning puzzled Dr T.  When he went to a meeting at night, I went to bed with the children and lay awake in the dark until he came home.  On his return, I’d hear him say in irritation, “Why are the bloody lights off!”.  I had no answer because I didn’t know why.  It drove him nuts!

When divorced I was studying late at night on New Year’s Eve.  Our home was within a short walk to the local pub.  I could hear revellers and music.  I felt safe.  The children were asleep.  I typed on.  Then I heard the neighbour’s dog bark, the gate behind my window creaked.  I immediately went to the laundry where the children’s bedrooms were and watched in darkness as a young man walked across the path, the other side of the glass door.  I called the police.  They checked the property and he was gone.  I wasn’t afraid, my maternal instinct sharp.  Life continued on.

Four years ago I moved into my current home.  The real estate agent stuffed up the whole process and left me in a monumental mess.  The first night I sat on the sofa and wept.  I had bought the house as an investment but hadn’t thought this through.  In a large, dark home I felt vulnerable.  I slept on the sofa for the next year with unpacked boxes strewn about.  The renovations started, more mess of course and now most of the major work has been done.  When I moved in I was comfortable (read safe) but not happy living in mess.  The home was ‘booby trapped’ with stuff in corridors.  It gave me a sense of safety.  It impacted me in other ways, too.  I did not wear bright coloured clothing until my son mentioned this a few years ago, commenting I dressed like I want to be invisible.  How perceptive of him!

There are some positives to this.  I always lock my home and windows by day and night.  I do the same in hotels.  This has kept me safe on more than one occasion and I’ve written about it in a previous post.  I’m more empathic towards those who have suffered trauma.  From feedback I’ve received I know I have been able to help them on their journey to healing.  I’ve come to realise, one can live a full life, but triggers can be very subjective.  The benign can be terrifying for the person who experienced trauma, and dormant, this can surface unexpectedly.  I never drink when I’m on my own.  Nor do I take medications.  I’ve reframed hypervigilance to mindful living.  I listen to small sounds and label them accurately.  I know the feeling of fear is one from the distant past.  This, too, will pass.  This is now.  I am safe.  This process of thinking integrates me.

The old saying, knowledge is power, is true.  Meditation and counselling alone did not fix fears.  Understanding the triggers and confronting them, has.  Who would have thought, despite my work history and my solitary bush walks, I could be reduced to a state of utter panic in a main street, middle of the day and with people around me.  I also realised when my children lived at home, I was their fearless protector.  When I’m alone, I feel vulnerable.

There is still some lasting impact of that brief encounter.  I am still wary giving out my home address and experience irritation when people ask for this.  I can’t sleep upstairs if I’m alone at home.  I’m uncomfortable with the feeling of being trapped, not claustrophobia, but feeling trapped.  (Like I was in my unit with him outside).  I dislike underground car parks, preferring the roof, even in intensely hot days.

Once the pieces fell into place I started working towards regaining what I had lost.  I live life.  I experience life.  I help others experience it.  I wear bright colours!  I often have to return home from trips later at night when all is quiet and dark in the neighbourhood.

I am well on the road to full recovery but this post took over a year to write.  I wasn’t sure whether my narrative would raise understanding and awareness of the experience of trauma, but I thought I’d share, just in case it does.

I finished this post at an airport.  My flight was delayed.  I was sitting in the middle of a sea of loud miners who were drinking and happy to be going home.  I was calm as a monk.

I boarded the flight and got to my seat.  In a row of three the middle was empty. The man at the window was deep into his screen device.  I glanced at it.  He was watching a documentary on Ted Bundy.  True!

I returned home later that night.  The taxi drove away.  I was unafraid.  I was home.  My smile lit up the dark house.  I knew I would post this one day.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird
















Your memory no longer lives within me
the air I breathe is no longer shared,
giving life to the walking dead with each breath
our journey ended, when mine began

Reborn, I woke one day
taking my first breath among trees
and holding me close to her bosom
Mother Nature smiled indulgently

The air I breathe now,
is sweeter than early morning
when I wake to birdsong, my silence
and find diamonds in the garden,

the ones you never had a chance to give me.

a dawn bird



It’s not a pretty picture, but I’ll share anyway!

I usually post pictures that I hope will inspire others to spend more time in nature and see the world around us in a different way.  It is quite possible, I have done too much walking outdoors and neglected what I should be doing in the home.

What I am about to share is not a pretty sight.  Inspired by Tracy (Reflections of an Untidy Mind), I’ve decided to share my truth, frame by frame, too.  My life is not perfect, like many other people, who juggle too much each day.  I’ve decided should I ever marry again, it will be a group wedding, to four husbands.

I love to travel as much as I love to cook.  I’m always buying condiments from the South West, Broome or the Midwest.  I bring them home and store them in the pantry.  I buy a lot.  (A distinct disadvantage of a walk in pantry).  When home I could never find what I needed, so I went and bought more stuff.  I’d open it and it would get lost in the mess.  When I had time to cook again, it was a repeat performance.  Buy more, find the old stuff, see the use by date, throw it out.  Oh! the waste!

Introduced to Marie Kondo philosophy about two years ago, I would get despondent at the sheer magnitude of tidying up the pantry.  This messy habit is not new to me.  I can recall my son in primary school tidying up the smaller pantry we had, writing out a missive that his sister and I had to sign, saying, we would put things back where we took them from!  Sadly it didn’t take long for me to become haphazard and sloppy again.  Once I understood the Kondo magic it all fell into place for me.  And also my father’s wisdom “If you had a place for everything, then everything would be in its place and you would not lose anything”, he would say unsympathetically while I ran around trying to find my school book or school project.  I set about making life easier.  Incidentally, it also reduced my spending and wastage of food.thumb_IMG_0944_1024.jpg
I started taking photographs of the pantry.  I started from the left of the room.  It didn’t look that bad, really!thumb_IMG_0945_1024
Neither did the right side of the pantry (but we’re getting to the ugliest part).thumb_IMG_0946_1024.jpgWell, here was the mess I stumbled upon every time I opened the door.  I had a disastrous move into my new home.  Four years on, I still haven’t unpacked most belongings.  Things from the former kitchen were stuffed onto the floor of the pantry where it found a place for at least two years.thumb_IMG_0948_1024.jpg
Using the Kondo method, I started clearing a small section.  I stood back and thought, yes, that looked like something I could tidy up and feel I had accomplished a little.  I took out everything from that small section, wiped the shelves down, turned around and then faced reality.thumb_IMG_0949_1024.jpg
Ever seen one of those magic tricks where the scarf being pulled out of a hat has no end?  Yes, this came out of that small cleared space.thumb_IMG_0951_1024.jpgThe temptation was to go out and buy more plastic containers to help with tidying up.  But I have plans for my pantry, they are with the carpenter at the moment, so for now every usable plastic container is being used in new useful ways.  I bought a few old plastic ice cream containers (the white one on the left) from an ice cream shop over 15 years ago for a dollar or so when they were closing down.  One of the most useful things I have on the shelf!

Now I know where to find the good stuff and sadly, so does my son, who raids my pantry when I’m not home.  I’m also spending less money on food.  I can see at a glance what’s there.  It’s interesting to see what I had two years ago.  My eating habits have changed so much since then.  I still buy the olive oils and flavoured vinegars but eat very little processed food.  I haven’t baked in a long time.  There is no more flour or sugar in my pantry.  I do love natural honey and can’t give that up, especially wildflower honey.

I’m no neat freak.  Far from it.  But I can see the value of having a tidier place more than I did years ago.  It has made my life less stressful and has improved my mental well being, too.  That’s what Marie Kondo magic has done for me.  Try it, it may for you, too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





The Freedom Fighter

DSCN9485.jpgHe was a freedom fighter
to me, he was a rebel
to others, a soldier
to my parents, he was trouble

I was barely sixteen,
he, a few years older
we met at a party
fun was what I was after, and so was he

My parents watched with consternation
as things progressed too far
they were wise, cautioned softly, go slow
of course, at sixteen, it was advice I would ignore

At night I’d slip out the back door
to the intimacy of an empty park
somehow I’d find my freedom fighter
with cigarette tip glowing in the dark

He’d kiss me with a passion
I remember to this day
he promised me the world
If we left my hometown and ran away

In the company of friends
we would talk politics, knee deep in the car
I knew little about what he fought for
Yearning only the kind of freedom, I fought for

I once asked him if he’d choose his country or me
He looked at me intently saying
(as only a freedom fighter would)
If your country was wiped off the map
What would you do?

He had fought for his country
at an age when I didn’t know what that meant
But I loved his passion for fight
at a time when I was fighting for independence

Surrendering, my parents gave in
it was the lesser evil of the two
so they let me pack up and leave
all that I knew and loved, behind

He wept when I left him
the train pulled away, I opened his gift
I held it in my hand and smiled
as only a 16 year old would

It was a pendant, a bullet on a chain
Something I would never wear
a premonition of things to come
and yet, I didn’t care

Years later, I heard he was living in the USA
Married with children, he lives a staid life
This morning I know with conviction,
I did the right thing then.

Yes, my parents were right,
he never knew me at all
he may have been a freedom fighter once
but a staid life was not the freedom I fought for

a dawn bird


Through new lens

This post comes with a warning.  There are a lot of photographs to scroll.  I’m enjoying a moment of indulgence.  Why haven’t I seen these before?DSCN8599I’m an amateur at photography.  I don’t have a clue about what I’m doing so it was a delight playing with light.  I love the glowing crown on this little silvereye.DSCN8938Can a duck have too many colours?  I’ve seen these ducks so often but never really noticed this.DSCN8625.jpgI love these pink gum flowers.  It’s a pink I would not dare to wear. (Having said that, maybe I will, one day).DSCN8650.jpg
I love camelias.  I once met a family at a conference who had twin young adult sons.  One completing honours at university, the other either homeless or in and out of psychiatric facilities with schizophrenia.  I planted two camelia bushes in my garden.  One for each of them.  One flourished.  The other did not, but did not die.  I never knew, which was which.  I still think of the young men.DSCN8998.jpgOne of my favourite flowers is the Geraldton Wax.  They have been planted along the freeway to reduce sound.  The shrub grows high and wide.  In spring, they are covered in flowers and make a beautiful vase of cut flowers.  I’m planning to have one or two of them in my garden.  I especially love the white flowers.DSCN9420.jpgIt was winter in Margaret River when I rugged up and went for a bush walk.  This caught my eye in the garden as I headed out.  I had never seen a fig growing on a tree before.  Luscious little thing!DSCN9432.jpgI recall this flower was tiny.  It took ages to get this pic.  Worth it, I think.DSCN9124.jpgThese snowdrops bloom in August at my front door.  Why don’t they all droop, head down while others perk up to light? Perhaps they are a reminder, hold on, spring is next.DSCN9424.jpgI’ve grown to be curious about lichen.  I love the ‘colonies’ that coat limbs.  In nature, life goes on.  There is no death.  Or perhaps, there’s life, in another form.

Without a security blanket, I think I’ll take that thought to bed.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


It’s Morning, again


The sun came out today
from behind a laden sky
to colour my world,
once monochrome
The grey clouds parted,
(they seldom did before)
So I laid my claim
that spilled into the bay
scooped that molten gold
to carry back with me
to share.

a dawn bird


In response to the Pic and a Word Challenge:  Colour

Moon madness


I woke at dawn the other morning
the kitchen was flooded with light
I stood at the window and watched
a sequin, embellish the velvet night

There was no coffee in hand to remind me
of the distant past
when we stood conversing silently,
no questions asked

In those moments,
we owned eternity
life was larger than life itself
oh! the unbridled audacity

how young we were!

we said so much more in silence,
than words could ever say
I know now, always is but a moment
that moment, is today


I stood still at the window and waited
and so what if it took years and a day?
for the the wan moon to brighten
and for the supermoon to take her place.

a dawn bird

Moving on

It’s eighteen years and a day
My grief has come of age
So the boxes are packed
I’m giving your clothes away

The shirt I wore at dawn
Those grey socks kept my feet warm
your jacket is empty
the sleeves, too, of hugs.

Your touch, your taste is elusive
your absence takes up less space
I no longer lie in bed and wait
you nudging at my ribs
whispering, Hey! You awake?

It’s eighteen years and a day
yes, my grief has come of age
In that darkest space there is a celebration
as angel wings sprout
and thoughts of you lift me up

How proud you would have been
Against all odds,
I have lived to say
your memory brings joy as always
but you should also know, there are nights
Oh! how I wish you were with me again.

a dawn bird

The day I wore cranky pants …

Life has been a whirlpool over the last few weeks.  I’m coming up for air before heading off to the Goldfields, and then, three more trips before the end of the month.

In the last ten days I’ve spent nearly a whole week in the south west.  It was a busy time but I found some time to relax and take things easier when my day was done.  But, the trip did not start and end as well.

Unfortunately, I did something I have never done before in all the hundreds of trips I’ve undertaken.  I had forgotten to send in my travel request so I arrived in Busselton and found I had no accommodation booked.  The folks at the hotel were kind enough to give me a room while the admin lady sorted that out payment with the agency.  In Bunbury, the agency could not get the usual hotel and I had to stay in one I hadn’t stayed in for years.  I was looking forward to it as it is more upmarket with better amenities and the perfect end to a busy few days. I thought fortune had smiled on me.  Not so!

I got there later in the evening only to find new management had taken over.  The girl at the desk insisted I give her details of my home and email addresses.  Firstly, she didn’t need it.  The agency booked me in.  Secondly, my details are suppressed on the electoral roll.  I don’t give out my home address.  I tried to explain the situation to her.  She was adamant and I grew impatient.  I told her tersely, we both had a choice before us.  Either I check in, or I take my business elsewhere.  I checked in without giving my personal details.

Then I had to park in the underground car park where turning and bays were tight and each time my car beeped a warning, I grew more anxious.  I could only see private bays so I phoned her and then she tells me, I needed to park in a special bay that was unmarked but of a specific colour, to indicate it belonged to the hotel.  Of course!  I muttered under my breath.  I was supposed to know this!  I squeezed into the bay and went up the elevator wearing my best cranky pants.  With all the scrapes along the wall, I could see other cars had difficulty negotiating the tight space, too.  In the few seconds it took me to go upstairs, I reasoned with myself, I needed time out before I said anything to the Receptionist, after all she was just doing her job and probably new to it as well.  So I drove to Australind, a few kms out of Bunbury where I knew my spirit would be calmed.thumb_IMG_4358_1024I love this spot in Australind.  It is the perfect foreground to Bunbury.  The wetlands has a lot of waterbirds.  It is beautiful at sunset.thumb_IMG_4364_1024.jpgI watched folks taking time out.  So I picked up on their cue and stayed longer.  By the time I got back to Bunbury, I had forgotten how irritable I had been.

That night I reflected on my emotions and found there was an underlying reason beyond the hotel situation that riled me up.  I dislike underground car parks and I have a good reason why I don’t want people to know where I live.  The trigger is a post in the making for the last year.  I’ll get there one of these days.thumb_IMG_4372_1024I’m now home for a few hours before flying out.  This morning I walked in the garden, coffee in hand, to the sound of birds.  The lorikeets, the magpie larks, the wattlebirds, the crows, the magpies, the occasional laugh of the kookaburra, the swish of the wings of waterbirds heading to the lake.  I also found the pink crepe myrtle is in full bloom, a lovely bouquet reaching to the sky.  A beautiful surprise, blooming in one corner of my garden, just for me.

I’m home, although only for a few hours, but happy to be in this space, (and, without cranky pants!).

Hope you are in a happy space too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Oneness: ‘The Trees Speak’

It’s been an eventful few weeks but the highlight has got to be one of the Perth Festival events, Boorna Waanginy – The Trees Speak.  The roads to our central park in the city, Kings Park, were closed so people came by special public transport or like us, parked a distance away and walked several kms.

In the warm, dark night we moved towards the park, like rivulets that grew into tributaries finally joining at the entrance forming a human canal that flowed almost silently for 1.5 kms.  The remarkable thing was that although there were thousands of people, most were silent, including children who were entranced by what we saw and heard.  Some folks even moved on to the lawns, lay down, eyes closed and meditated.  Magic night!thumb_IMG_4215_1024.jpgThe tall gum trees were canvas to the stories and biodiversity of the six Nyoongar seasons and shared through the eyes of the first people with the intermittent haunting sounds of the didgeridoo that made one catch one’s breath.  There’s a short clip on You Tube that’s worth a look for the full effect.  (My pictures don’t do the event any justice).thumb_IMG_4235_1024.jpgWe walked through ‘burning’ forests where new growth takes place best.thumb_IMG_4279_1024.jpgThrough gardens of anemones that floated above us, a wondrous underwater canopy.thumb_IMG_4285_1024.jpgAnd watched fish swim up trees.thumb_IMG_4296_1024.jpgI loved the shadow drama of hunters and gatherers that made people stop and stare in silence.thumb_IMG_4329_1024.jpgAnd the forest walk where …thumb_IMG_4330_1024.jpgEndangered plants in lanterns lit up the night.  A sobering thought.thumb_IMG_4340_1024.jpgAnd finally resting our weary feet at the theatre where messages of conservation were communicated on a gum nutthumb_IMG_4343_1024.jpgby children and indigenous elders .  The audience was rapt.

I’ve never been in such a large crowd of people and yet experienced something so intimate.

The take home message was clear.  Oneness.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird