The morning after …

I saw you at the Sunday sesh
I knew I wasn’t wrong
The curve of your head
hair cropped short,
with no start or end
the way you pulled the wallet free
from your back pocket
your sleeves rolled up uneven
so infuriatingly you
the aching familiarity
you glanced over,
while laughing with mates
our eyes met, unexpectedly
it subdued you for a moment
before you threw a careless grin
over your shoulder,
and I caught it

This morning, I wish I hadn’t
Now look at the pickle we’re in!

The (Dis)engagement

DSCN8224 copy.jpg

He thought …
How sad is a kite
that cannot fly, when not connected
not part of two that dance in the breeze with it
no winds to lift it skywards
it is a piece of scrap that trails the ground
it brings no joy, no laughter, just frustration
where is the chase in this monstrosity, he fumed
so he stood at the shore
and alone,
tried to breathe life into it.

a dawn bird

The black crowned night heron

It is said successful people are good at delayed gratification.  I watched a night heron at dawn when I was in Carnarvon and wondered if this is true for birds, too.DSCN8691.jpg
On the mud flats I saw a shape I didn’t recognise and zoomed in to find a black crowned night heron.  DSCN8728.jpg
Low on his haunches, it stalked the puddles.DSCN8759.jpg
Then he went to the open waters and sat still at the edge.  The river mullets skidded over water, just out of reach.  He watched intently.DSCN8762.jpg
He watched and waited then gave up and returned to where he started.DSCN8722.jpg
He ignored the tiny crabs of which there were thousands.DSCN8705.jpg
And then in an instant his neck extended almost longer than the length of his body.  He caught a mud skipper and swallowed it whole.

The patience of this bird was remarkable.  I nearly clapped and shouted “bravo”!

My camera is charging and I’m packing for another trip tomorrow.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


When a day transforms …

Returning home later than I would have liked due to a delayed flight, I was tired when I got to bed.  Unusually tired.  I dared myself to reflect knowing when I am most vulnerable, I am brutally honest with myself.  It’s times like this I question the choices I’ve made in my personal life.  If left unchecked my thoughts take me to places I should not visit.  Having completed one too many trips this year, I had to face the truth.  I’m no spring chicken.  That was harsher reality I would liked to have faced and nothing to do with vanity.  It meant something had to change when I love all aspects of my working life, which, although strenuous, I have adopted the mind set, this is my calling.

I go to places where others don’t or can’t go but in a system of universal health care, I believe that equality is demonstrated in practice.  If people cannot come to me for whatever reason, and I’m able to go to them, I do.  Does it leave me at times, especially at night, exhausted?  For sure.  But when I wake, my spirit is rested, my body uncoils and I spring into action because I believe what I do is honoring the commitment I made years ago.

I’ve just returned from the Midwest.  We were busy with a full schedule.  I like my work there as I team up with someone I enjoy working with.  We often say how lucky we are to be doing the work we do and importantly, enjoy what we do.  Working with someone like this makes the load easier.

Catching the last plane out, I had more time on my hands so I planned to complete the endless pending reports but before I sat down to do this, I decided to go out and take some pictures.  I’m glad I did.DSCN8861
I see symbolism in the trees in Geraldton.  The trees in this region continue to grow despite experiencing a stiff breeze all the time.  And, when growth stops, the trees lean but never break, they are poised in silent dance with a challenging partner.  Aren’t we all?
DSCN8846I watched seagulls for a while and their beautiful glass eyes and their sleek profile and wondered if I am the only person who sees the beauty in them?
The sea shimmered in the afternoon sun at St Georges Beach.  A young woman stepped out of the water, and as her car was parked next to mine, she started to talk to me.  She was from the other side of Australia and mentioned having grown up near a beach, she always seeks the water at least once a day.  She thought I was a tourist and I told her I was working that day but took time off to breathe.  “What’s there to see if you’re not in the water?” she asked me with youthful curiosity.  A water nymph!  A mermaid on land!  She towelled her hair vigorously, her question almost a dare that was softened with laughter.  I see seagulls, shimmering sea and leaning trees, I told her.  My face must have changed expression when I said this.  She looked around her and said, “oh yeah!” slowly like she had just noticed the landscape.  She told me she could see what I could see and that she could see photography was my ‘water’.  She also laughed and said, she would never look at a seagull the same way again after I had highlighted the beauty I see in them!  The encounter was just what I needed.  My prayer each time I set foot outdoors is to show me something beautiful that I can share with others.  Yesterday afternoon, my prayers were answered again.

This morning the home was silent and cool.  I made a list of things to do.  I’m not sure how it’s possible, but the list seemed longer than yesterday.  I went to the kitchen to get  coffee to rev up my day when I saw a gift given to me about two years ago had transformed.thumb_IMG_4640_1024.jpgThe hoya plant is beautiful.  I had one years ago that was a prolific bloomer and given to me as a cutting by an elderly lady who later passed on.  I treasured it but my elderly gardener did not know the sentiment and inadvertently destroyed it.  For some reason I never bought one again to replace it even though I love the blooms.  Then two years ago another lady gave me a cutting quite spontaneously from her garden.  Protected from my gardener, it has been sitting at the kitchen window, a bare stem with two leaves.  The hoya flowers bloom all year and are not seasonal.

This morning, on a cool autumn day, the gift bloomed and brought spring indoors.  I feel youthful, once more.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

The take-off …

It was a few years later
she was taking an early morning flight she could not avoid
when he walked up to her
and picked up the thread again
He was now divorced
the marriage had ended long before he met her
“But you already knew that”, he grinned
“we just never talked”, he felt the need to explain
She remained silent, listening,
she was good at this, too
seated she looked up at him
time had not diminished how she felt
everything about him was still familiar
the casual droop of shoulders
with a backpack slung low
the Pilbara sun had tanned his arms in winter
the high viz clothing accentuating this
He picked up her bag
jerked his head toward the airport cafe
“Let’s get some coffee”, he invited
“with any luck, the flight’s delayed”
he didn’t have to say any more
they both knew, it was on again.

a dawn bird


I had been warned of the stealth
but I was unaware
the footfall would be silent
with an indelible footprint
that it would take up space
I had long forgotten was there
it would blaze a trail
brighter than a shooting star
and land within with the softest glow
that dazzled me
and when it left
it would empty that space
and take my light, too
who would have known
I, who am strong,
I, who was warned
I, who felt I had nothing to give, but did
I am not a victim,
far from it
what was taken, came from the best place
I now know I had a hidden treasure trove
that was invisible to me
when that thief, called love
crossed my path.

a dawn bird


Carnarvon, Coral Coast

I flew to Carnarvon on Sunday.  With a cyclone further north I was not looking forward to the trip in a small plane but surprisingly, it was a pleasant flight.  We disembarked into a hot day and even hotter the next day (40 degrees celsius).

I do what I always do in Carnarvon.  Check in, buy fruit and water before the only supermarket closes for the day, and then head out to Pelican Point.  I love the sand and sea there.  It helps restore me to where I want to be.DSCN8611.jpgThe sand drift creates amazing dunes.  I’ve posted a pic in the previous post.  I sit for a few minutes enjoying the sea sculpt the land around me and then from the safety of my car (from all that sand), I love zooming in.  I know on busy days we love a beach walk, but did you know you walk on a bejewelled carpet?DSCN8617.jpgThe kite surfers loves this beach for the strong winds.  I just love it for what it is.  A shimmering sea.DSCN8619.jpgAs the day wound down I saw a grandmother fishing.  It flooded me with emotion.  She sat on a chair while wetting a line, the grandchildren were curious and ran around but checked in every few minutes.  A circle of security unfolding before me and such a wonderful memory for the grandchildren, of time spent with her.  I never knew my grandmothers, so I experienced this moment with a sense of joy and sadness.DSCN8622.jpgThe sunset across the water, where you’ll find Pelican Point, is always stunning.DSCN8630.jpgAnd, in the morning, the water is like glass.DSCN8668.jpgI love the mangroves as the waters recede.  I know the waterbirds love it too.  I don’t know how but I managed to see the tiny shoveller and got some beautiful pics.  For now, I’ll just share one with you.DSCN8646.jpgThe waterbird seemed more interested feeding on mud skippers than the crabs of which there were thousands.DSCN8739.jpgHad the crabs not been moving, I would not have seen them either.  In some places they looked like a carpet being lifted as they crawled across undulating mud flats.

I returned home yesterday to the usual flurry of home tasks.  I woke at 5 am this morning.  The home was dark and silent as I walked among familiar shadows.  The traffic on the freeway was still faintly audible, despite the distance from home.  The birds were not yet awake.  I drank a cup of coffee and planned the morning, the usual plan for home, laundry, tidy up, pay bills etc.  It’s a different gear shift.

I’m off again today, this time to the Midwest, and to experiences I love there too.  I hope to bring back some of those, to share with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



The Love Letter


I wrote a love letter in the sand
one I could never send
I started at the top of the page
and wrote until I reached the end
My letter was simple
it had no beginning
it had no end
It was continuous,
unadorned with grammar or punctuation
before I could turn the page
a gust of wind carried the letter beyond my reach
and scattered some of the words across the beach,
and the rest in the air
In the sandy haze
I found the letter,
gathered the words I wanted to say
and in the silence of the night
I continue to write
my love letter, to you
that I started earlier today.

a dawn bird

Runway Love (Sequel to Serendipity)

thumb_IMG_3054_1024.jpgIt wasn’t long before they met again
On the bridge that spanned to nowhere
Talking, side by side, as always
until the sun slipped into a new day elsewhere

But this dusk was different,
he cut through the banality of small talk with silence
She stayed with him for a while
Sensing his dilemma, she gave him the space he needed
“We don’t need to take this any further”, she said

His response was not unexpected
Yet it startled her
There was a sincerity in his words,
That spoke to the yearning between two,
As old as time itself
“We can’t be together,
I also know, you know this too”
The words were rehearsed
but were jettisoned out like new

They were both silent in the wake that followed
Until he spoke again
“I dream of your skin when I sleep”,
he paused to let the words sink in
“and when awake”
His eyes softened when he smiled
“Well, it had to be said”

As he turned her around to face him
She submitted to the yield
He bared the hidden skin,
Unlike her face and limbs, it was pale
and like the moon,
luminous in the darkest hour
At the contour of her shoulder
in the space between bone and breast
He inhaled the earth of her

Savouring every breath,
he lingered longer
satiating the gnawing skin hunger they felt
from the moment they met,

or maybe longer.

a dawn bird







The flight was delayed
the airport packed
the only empty seat was beside me
He lowered his tall frame
he leaned close and smiled
soon we chat like familiar strangers
We had seen each other before
but never talked, it seemed the thing to do
“Married, divorced?”, he asks casually
I tell him, and was surprised to hear my voice say,
“Happily”, he tells me,
with a laugh that follows easily, too easily,
“married, that is”, he adds and grins
“Nice!”, I tell him and flinch at my insincerity
he is sensitive, my disappointment, his cue
the silence that followed was long
or maybe my memory fails me,
it could have been brief
there’s a lot I’ve forgotten
this I do remember
as the flight took off
the plane lights went dim
we settled in, with a lot on our minds
or perhaps it was just one thing
when we disembark
he asked, “where are you staying?”
I tell him.

a dawn bird

In my cathedral


I stood in rain and asked,
“why me?”
when the key would not unlock the door
I turned my back to retrace my steps
when I saw the calligraphy
in the tracery, of my cathedral
that framed the stained window
it was delicate, the hand worked it steady
the art withstood the fiercest storms
it was deliberate, you could see
the lines spoke so
it was there before my eyes
had I not been locked out,
I would not have seen it,
Alone, I took it in, selfishly
I read the message
and before the end
the child in me smiled
her soft voice rose above the storm
as she asked the question
with wonder,
and without entitlement,
“why not?”

a dawn bird

The Rain Watcher

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Far from home,
the air was warm
the clouds ominous
from within, I looked out
as rivulets poured
into a stream of consciousness
I ignored the thunder
the flash of light
I ignored shelter, mindfully
I sniffed the petrichor
wafting from the ground
it anchored me
at one with earth
I watched the rain
I’m not sure for how long
it may have been a minute
or an hour,
when the rain faded silently into memory
and that flash of light, now a beam
shone brightly
on the book of life
titled Carpe diem

a dawn bird


What are friends for

My twentysomething son is into the third year of his occupational therapy degree.  He recently completed a Mental Health first aid course at uni.  He was struck how important it is for people to know there’s someone there and particularly interested in making a difference in the area of men’s health.  Now that he has Kovu (the chocolate lab) he walks every day.  He lives close to university, so he walks there too.  He also works out at the gym.  I’m impressed.  The only exercise he ever did before was walk from computer to fridge and back.  His greeting is still, “what’s to eat?” as soon as he walks in the door.  I’m okay with that.

Like his father, he doesn’t drink at all, but his friends do.  He noticed between drinking, gaming and a sedentary IT work life, his friends were gaining weight.  Without commenting about their lifestyle, he started up a walking group for a few of his mates.  Much to his surprise they enjoyed the first walk with Kovu leading the way.  The group grew larger.  Other young men on the fringes of the group wanted to join in.  The young men now go to various walking trails and parks around the metro area.  He and his friends are looking trimmer.  Importantly, he tells me, they talk about all kinds of things when they are walking.  They stop and take photographs.  They stop and examine nature.   All this from a screen device fixated generation.  To say I’m dumbfounded is an understatement.

When my son was younger I would wear one of those step counters and try to complete my 10,000 steps a day.  He was spending too much time playing video games so I would pay him $1 for every kilometre he walked with me.  The kid nearly killed me!  He wanted me to exercise all the time.  I ended up putting a cap on the weekly earnings!

I was recently at a workshop where the presenter, an American academic, talked about the pros and cons of anti-depressants and the current thinking about the role of walking and exercise in the treatment of depression.  I’ll exercise caution about my thoughts on this but there is a side to me that shouts, “Yay! at last” this literature has found a place in the mainstream.

I don’t like company when I walk.  I prefer silence.  I often close my eyes and ‘walk’ through the south west big timber forests for just a few minutes.  It makes me tingle.  It may not be physical exercise but it is exercise for the mind.  We need that too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Dealing with a curved ball

I know for a fact, this week could have been better planned and I also know, the curved ball was unavoidable.

I left Perth for the Goldfields on Sunday and returned late on Tuesday night.  I had a session of supervision on Wednesday in Perth which, due to our mutual schedules, I could not rebook.  The two days in Kalgoorlie were a blur.  Folks always turn up for their appointment so it was non-stop.  I saw a lot of folks for their first appointment and that takes more out of me.  Had I been sent my schedule ahead of time, I could have made an effort to include self-care into my day.  I don’t think I even managed lunch on the first day but on the second, made a salad and took it to my favourite spot, under the trees.  I only had a few minutes and not long enough to take out my camera.  Somehow my body and spirit craved just being there, needing to find my groove, in the grove.  I watched the wattle birds, the honey eaters, the magpies and magpie larks and reminded myself that I was returning the next day.  There would be time later in the week for photography.

In the evening I settled down to relax only to find the TV reception had been knocked out after a storm.  Momentarily annoyed I thought best get on to the long list of partially finished reports.  I found the silver lining, I tried to convince myself.  I returned home late on Tuesday night and went to bed with a list of tasks I would do first thing in the morning.  Feeling I had accomplished a lot in the two days, the reports were ready for emailing.

On Wednesday morning I found my internet was not working.  Four hours later on the phone with the telco and getting increasingly frustrated apparently I need a new modem that will come in a few days or perhaps there’s a problem with the hub.  Being told this didn’t help me when I needed the system to work, the most,  (I did mention this in another post, I can be impatient!).  I returned to Kalgoorlie on Wednesday evening and worked late into the night, catching up on what I planned to do earlier in the day.  Do I feel a sense of satisfaction?  Not a bit!

I’m working solo today.  A colleague will join me tomorrow and we’ll have two solid days of work.  I’m looking forward to that.  I always enjoy her company and we share the same work ethic.  I’ll also have time today to go to the places I love to visit.  This town has a lot of birds!  While working past midnight I heard them chirping in the trees outside my hotel room.  I’m sure they must have been an annoyance to some, for me, they brought on a smile.

The difference between working for others and oneself is starkly different.  I am led by other people’s priorities in one agency,, when I work for myself, I can dictate them.  I can be busier in the latter, but interestingly, feel less stressed, the common denominator being this … self-care.

When I was a government employee one never, ever saw self-care as a necessary part of work life balance.  It was regarded as an indulgence.  I was introduced to the concept of self-care when I worked in a program that required us to be on-call 24/7 for a week a month.  We participated a fun group activity one afternoon a month.  It wasn’t enough.  We lost staff regularly, so often we were on roster for longer periods.  I can recall being on-call 24/7 for six weeks without respite.  I just gritted my teeth and got on with it.  I didn’t realise this but years later my young adults, who were at high school then, told me every time they hear the same ring tone that I had for the roster calls, it riles them.  I feel a sense of disquiet missing the impact of my work, on them.

We have come a long way in how we work.  As a contractor I am expected to state how I manage fatigue.  It is also a professional requirement.  Self-care now fits in seamlessly in my work life balance.

I’m in a cool hotel room right now and know, for autumn, it will hot outdoors today.  I also know it will hot enough for the gum flowers on those boughs I saw to burst into bloom.  Life is much like that.

I’ve just realised how long the post is!  I guess I needed to vent!  If you’ve read the post to the end, hope you find a take home message that resonates with you.

Be kind to yourself and each other.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird