Forever autumn

DSCN9211We are mid-way into autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.  There’s a chill in the air in the evenings and early mornings.  There’s a need to seek warmth in another or in memories.  It made me reflect on my life journey, this time, my professional journey.

I have worked with people of all ages.  There is a certain joy that comes from working with little children and promoting joy in parenting and development.  I have worked with troubled teens with behaviours at the pointy end of the pointy end.  Challenging as it was being on 24 hour roster, I worked with the program for six years.  I now work mostly with children and families and as a consultant to my teams.  But, the yearning to work with older adults is always there.

I once worked in a hospital setting where the patients were mostly elderly.  It was confronting work.  There by the grace of God, go I, crossed my mind frequently.  I would see people who worked hard all their life and then struck down with debilitating illness and regret they did not seize the day before this.  The job came about in the most extraordinary circumstances and it was my first foray into a medical setting.  I firmly believe that job changed my perspective on life.  The job was a gift I needed at that time.  Once exposed to the reality of other people’s regret, I did not want to waste a moment of my life anymore.

In Bunbury I woke early and would head to Big Swamp.  I fell in love with the wetlands.  I could no longer go to work without spending just a few minutes here.  I’d head to beaches and bush land every single day.  I started to view the world and my circumstances in a different way.  I started to view myself as a grounded optimist.  All because I found the best healing in nature and where I do my reflections.

Everything just fell away when I would walk silently in the bush or by shore.  The question I would ask myself is, if I knew it was the last five minutes of my life, what would I do?  I found I would have no regrets.  I have loved and have been loved.  I have children that I yearned for since early childhood who are young adults I am so proud of.  I have been able to provide for my family.  Who could ask for more?

So this morning I work up happy.  The chill in the air reminded me, autumn is a time of change, a time for slowing down, a time when nature reminds us that while youth is crisp and forward thinking, age has its advantages, too.  The ‘wrinkles’ of the yesterdays are a comfortable, soft place to land.  The vibrancy of ‘the now’ has the power to make one’s eyes glisten and also glow.  There is freedom in making tomorrow whatever we want it to be, as one steps out lightly on ‘happy feet’.

For me, in this month of birthday, there is also comfort in the knowledge, although a time of profound change, from now on, as I settle deeper into my nut brown skin, I know, I am in a wonderful place, I am in the space of forever autumn.  A space of change.  A space of growth.  A space of acceptance.  And, there’s no other space I’d rather be.

May you, too, find your happy space today and arrive on happy feet.

Until next time

As always

In response to RDP Monday: Foray

Taking a break …


To some the Cape Barren Geese are unattractive.  I find them fascinating.  They are a large bird and with a tab on the top of the beak, stuck on like a bandaid.  Whenever I’m driving into Esperance from the airport I swing by the Golf Course where the geese like to hang out.  This trip there was a young pair, sitting pretty on the grass.  They could not see me seated in my car but no doubt could hear the beep from my camera.  The male finally got up and made eye contact.  He then started pecking furiously at the grass in an aggressive way, until I drove further away.  Interesting behaviour!

I love dusk in Esperance.  I sit or walk along the shores of the Bay and invariably the geese fly overhead, headed to their night roost.  In the air they are incredibly graceful.  They take off and land like big airliners.  They are iconic birds in the Esperance area.  Of the 70+ trips I’ve made to the small town, I’ve seen them only a few times.

The whales should be migrating along these waters soon but they have eluded me over the years.  They often come into the Bay or the surrounding beaches and I’ve always missed them somehow.  One afternoon I was going on a home visit in West Beach and saw an group of people looking curiously at the ocean.  It was the only time I didn’t have a camera in the car.  I was running late for my appointment so I didn’t stop.  It was a white pointer only 100 meters off the beach where I love to photograph surfers!  I was sorry I didn’t stop.

Tonight I looked at my schedule for the next two months.  I’m booked out solid.  Some sites have asked me to extend my visit for the next two months.  That means four consecutive nights in Esperance!  I’m looking forward to that.

My schedule forced me to start looking at holiday plans.  With the wedding, my plans have to be more modest.  I’ve got 2-3 trips to Bunbury and Busselton next month.  It will be a taster for a week or so either in Balingup, Nannup, Cowaramup or Margaret River.  I love visiting the south west in winter.  The thought of a fire, a glass of red, good cheese and a book, or long walks rugged up against the cold, is bliss.  It’s may not be Instagram worthy, but it’s a perfect break for me.

Time to turn in, hug the pillow and dream!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Do what you love …


I love finding tracks in the bush.  Although, not ones like this in Kooljaman, far north of Perth!  I had walked past this area just minutes before and found the track on my way back.  It was one I didn’t follow to see where it went.

It is quite possible I have an irrational fear of snakes.  From toddler years I was taught not to put my hands and feet in places where I could not see what was there.  That wariness remains with me.

I’ve overcome my fear of walking in the bush.  And, I feel safer because I dress like a member of the SWAT team.  Needless to say, with my love for photography and being in the bush, the benefits far outweigh my fashion sense!

There’s a certain urgency that comes with age.  The yearning to experience all there is and best expressed in the dialogue between Charlie Brown and Snoopy:

Charlie Brown once again to Snoopy, “We only live once, Snoopy”.  He responded, “Wrong!  We only die once.  We live every day”.

May you experience life today, as intended.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – SUNDAY-SNAKE



The magic carpet ride …


As a child I created a Magic Kingdom where a family of fairies and elves lived.  I visited them often under the guava tree.  They were exquisite.  There was a mother who looked at her unruly children with non-judgemental and kind eyes.  She tended to her family’s needs with humour and endless patience.  The benevolent father, always reached out to the young, staggering under the weight of love.  There were fairy children with curls that glistened in the sunlight.  An elf who threw his head back in laughter as he tripped on large green shoes, his tiny hand catching a red cap as it slipped off a head of perfect curls.  A baby slept while others looked on with wonder at the perfection.  The family slept on a mattress made of wild berries in vivid red, blue and pink, colours I had never seen before in nature but had read about.  In unpredictable weather, trees delivered blankets to keep the family warm.

Their magic carpet was gold and took the family for a wild ride when they hopped aboard.  They always beckoned me to join them.  Their plane, was parked nearby.  It had wings of lace.  It had the strength to carry me too.  I know this because, with child-like faith, I took the flight.  It gave me a different view of what lay below.  The presence of the fairy family was transient but they returned time and time again.  This time to the garden where I now live.

It’s Easter morning.  I have been in the presence of the waterbirds, rainbow lorikeets, magpie larks, willy wagtails and honeyeaters.  I have disembarked from that magic carpet ride.

I have moved away from a world of religion to a different world where I practice my faith.  I have gained more from this shift than all the years of church going.  It has come about by observing.  The child in me still believes in the magic of the day.

For those who celebrate, may your Easter be one of renewal, and may you find joy in the mystery of faith.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



It’s time …


The business is now closed and the new management appear to be doing well as a cafe, just before you hit Bunbury.  I can’t seem to bring myself to visit because the previous shop was one I loved to visit.  It was almost like a big shed with home made produce, local fruit and vegetables and a great place to stop and chat to the staff, usually, older women, they always had a story to share.  I loved buying a particular brand of spicy tomato sauce here that was made by some local woman.  A few years ago when I stopped, to my dismay I found it was their last week.  I was devastated.  With two new service stations before this stop, the business was suffering.  The elderly owner had passed away and his wife was trying to keep the business going.  I wondered what would happen to those older women who always had time to chat.

The business included an emu farm and they were selling the last of the emu eggs.  I bought six and they sit on a side cabinet until Easter morning, then they are the centre piece on my dining table.  They remind me of the shop and it’s a lovely, warm memory.  I loved doing the Easter egg thing with my kids when they were younger but now they are health conscious young adults and don’t eat a lot of processed foods.  So it’s only emu eggs now.

Eggs represent new life.  New beginnings.  A symbol of celebration.  See an egg shell in the bush and it makes one curious.  (Also wary!  Snakes!).

This year Easter brings new meaning.  I am renewed and on a new journey.  I have been caring for my well being.  I feel good!  I feel I have something to offer someone else, other than in my professional life.  The shell has broken.  I’m ready to emerge.  Faltering, for sure, but on my feet and taking steps in the right direction.  Isn’t that eggscellent!  (Sorry, couldn’t resist!).

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

  1. In response to RDP – Saturday:  egg

A memory worth keeping …

I recently lost three maternal extended family members within a period of months.  The only surviving member of my mother’s family lives in Canada  She went to the USA in the early 1960s and after she graduated, moved to Canada.  I lived with her for a few years when I was in my teens and still keep in touch.

The passing that impacted me the most was an uncle by marriage.  He was the husband of a favourite aunt who I’ve written about in another post.  He was our rock in a large, loud, loving but somewhat dysfunctional family system that warred over a handsome legacy left by my grandfather.  My uncle died recently.  Right to the end, he was still cooking for family and visitors, still painting and still genteel in his grooming.  I miss him.  Last year I wrote him a letter for his birthday.  His preteen grandson read it to him while Uncle C was ironing his own shirt, in his nineties.  That’s the kind of man he was.

“I was four years old and a flower girl at Aunty N’s wedding. My dress was of pastel organza, my shoes were mary janes with flowers cut out in the leather across the foot. On my head a crown of tiny rose buds. My head in those days was encased in natural curls, which delighted adults. I remember how I felt more than what I wore. How I felt is a memory you generated and I have kept.

At the reception you were quietly busy with the setting up of the wedding cake. When it was time for the bridal couple to cut it, the lights were turned low and the guests hushed by anticipation. The cake, covered with iced pink roses and fronds of fresh fern lit up from hidden fairy lights. At eye level, to the four year old flower girl, it was a magic mountain. Your creativity is my earliest recollection of experiencing sheer joy.

Over the years, it is your presence that I remember most from afar. You were always well groomed, even when emerging from your bedroom in PJs. Your hair combed and slicked back. You always looked fresh, like you just shaved. Your clothes never had a wrinkle. Only those who have visited hot and humid Mumbai will appreciate how difficult this is! You spoke quietly and when it was necessary. Your pace always even, I have never seen you rushed. You were and still are, the epitome of good taste.  You were an executive in your professional life. Your skills in leadership were innate. You commanded and continue to command respect from others, by your quiet presence.

Your home, the old apartment, I remember like my own home, was a product of your sensibilities.

The loss of Aunty O has not diminished with time for those who loved her. The loss of your wife is, I’m sure, unquantifiable. You are dignified, even in the face of loss. She left you with love in your life, as your children and grandchildren walk beside you today. You are a role model to us in so many ways on how life goes on.

When we talk on the phone, we play a quick game of ‘hello, how are you’. I am never able to really talk to you because I feel so emotional. Today, I wanted you to know, the void left behind by Dad has been habitable, because of your presence in my life. I love you dearly.”

This memory has surfaced today because I remember the chaos of family weddings in India. When my sister got married we had 50+ ‘house’ guests who were put up at a nearby hotel with my parents picking up the tab.  They came over for their meals every day for over a week.  It was a frenetic time of love, laughter and fun with aunts, uncles and cousins.  The chef who cooked during that time had an interesting contract.  He brought an army of helpers, set a daily price that included a bottle of rum which he proceeded to drink as he cooked.

With my son’s wedding on the horizon, our experience is so different.  We are working to lists and keeping it simple.  So very unlike experiences reminiscent of early childhood.  Somehow I feel Uncle C would approve of our simple plans.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Word of the Day Challenge:  reminiscent


Busy as …


Bees are synonymous with being busy.  Yet, we don’t complain because we see the value of what they do in nature.  It is a growing concern they seem to be declining and the impact of this is far reaching.  I don’t know much about bees at all but I do know there are thousands of species.  Bees are interesting creatures.  They can be solitary or live in complex communities.  They are collaborative workers, they know their business and go about it in a focused way.  The solitary bee does not make honey.  They are valued for being pollinators.  They create their own nest and feed their brood.  They are fearsome in the defense of their brood as well.  Hmmm something resonates here!

A friend once wrote me a poem about bees and gave it to me when we parted, saying every time they saw a bee, they would think of me.  I hope they continue to think of me.

The label ‘single mother’ is not a derogatory term in the bee world!  I know it to be so in my world.  When my son was in kindergarten his elderly teacher sent a note home and asked me to come in for an interview.  This was a time soon after my marriage ended and I was working and studying.  She showed me his artwork, and told me she had asked the children to paint the sky.  Every child painted blue.  My son had painted vivid pink, orange and black.  I was puzzled and asked her what was wrong with the art.  She felt at ease to reprimand me and said if I was less busy, he would know the sky is blue.  Incensed by her lack of understanding and her temerity to say this to a parent, I responded, that if she looked at the sky she would know it wasn’t always blue and, looking around at other children’s artwork, it would appear my son knew more than his peers did.

My son’s art came from a place of experience.  I would study between the hours of 4-7am.  When he woke he would sit at my feet and play with blocks and trains while I took a break and reflected with coffee in a room that faced the Eastern sky.  One morning it was absolutely gorgeous.  I drew his attention and pointed silently to the sky.  His brown eyes wide open and mouth agape he whispered in wonder, “Who did that?”  A priceless moment for a mother.  If only the classroom teacher had experienced this with a child!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Ragtag Daily Prompt:  Busy

The solitary surfer


“In still moments by the sea life seems large-drawn and simple.  It is there we can see into ourselves.” Rolf Edberg (author).

Even though I’m a non-swimmer, I’m drawn to the sea whenever I’m working in a coastal town.

In Esperance I leave town over the bridge and in less than two minutes, I’m facing the spectacular panorama of West Beach.  The journey transports me to where I want to be.

The surfers here are mostly young teens.  I love how they wait patiently for the right set while seated on their boards, chatting in a group.  Then one will see potential and take off to catch up with it.  Others may continue talking or watch him ride in, perhaps disappointed they did not see the same potential.

On reflection this morning, it is possible I have lived my life with an eye of a surfer.  I have seen potential in waves, and when riding a tube, kept my balance.  I knew the right wave would ferry me to shore and I found it.

Today, my wish is that you find yourself where you want to be.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge:  Ferry

Before the drop

thumb_IMG_0785_1024.jpgI had a friend in Broome and would visit there regularly.  He introduced me to red wine.  He loved good red wine.  And, good food, too.  Actually, he loved the good life.  I soon discovered this drop is all I loved and enjoy it on special occasions.  thumb_IMG_2997_1024.jpg
My roses love a good drop too.  It has been raining for the last two days.  Unfortunately, my elderly gardener sent me a text when I was away asking me should he clear up the garden.  I said yes and did not qualify this. With less than three weeks to the wedding, he has trimmed all the roses.  There’s not a flower in sight!  It made my heart drop into my stomach.  How’s that for a visceral response!DSCN7147
During solitary bush walks, you may not hear a pin drop but you will a gumnut.  A sure sign one is not alone.DSCN8098
I love my garden when it is untidy with leaves that drop from the mulberry tree.  There’s something endearing about it, like a child with tousled hair.  You just want to run your fingers through it.DSCN9249
To have the full moon as back drop is a love story in itself.  I love the way it rises silently and takes one by surprise, and much like a first kiss, leaves one glowing.DSCN9157
I thoroughly enjoyed a rodeo up in Derby last year.  This is my favourite picture from the hundreds I took.  The young bull bucked, there was a moment of oneness between rider and animal, before the drop.  I had the best time that afternoon.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP: Tuesday – Drop




So shall you reap …

There was a time in my life when I was impatient for the weekend.  Weekends were a time for cooking and baking.  I always enjoyed taking food or baked goods in to work for morning tea or meetings, but with frequent travel, this is no longer possible.  I know one day, I will again.

My retirement dream is to live somewhere in the South West of this State and bake cakes and supply them to the local cafe.  That is my Lotto dream!  (Oh! and a live in masseur as well!).458365_406422052703396_1493320481_o.jpgI made this special cake for my future daughter in law.  She had just started dating my son and we surprised her with a dinner for her 21st.  It was a chocolate cake layered with a hazelnut meringue, chocolate ganache and raspberries.  An original!467614_384877168191218_740109333_o.jpg
My daughter went through a phase where she loved cupcakes.  So I made this cupcake tower for her birthday.  Passionfruit/lime, chocolate, lemon curd, orange poppyseed.  They all went down a treat!468340_384877528191182_407982071_o.jpg
A colleague at work was turning 29.  We had a little boy’s themed morning tea for him.  He wanted me to bake a Thomas the Tank Engine cake.  Way too complex for me, so I created this little sweetheart instead.

As a child the themes of caring for children, cooking and playing doctor to my 17 dolls were strong.  It seems I did not have to wait too long.  The journey from childhood to adulthood was short, as is the journey back again.

Nothing much has changed in the interim.  I love being a mother.  I love cooking/baking for others.  And, I love what I do for a living.

The seeds were all sown when young.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP:  Wait

Nature, like love

Sunrise, Esperance Bay, Western Australia

Nature has no walls
no roof, no fence line, nor gate
no grout, holding together
the colours that accentuate
Nature paints boldly
and never in black and white
Nature fills in spaces, taking risks
like love
in pink and blue
and sometimes grey, for contrast

a dawn bird

In response to Pic and a Word Challenge:  Risk #183