Changing Seasons: End of summer 2020

It’s the last day of February, being a leap year, summer has lasted a day longer.  Today the sun is already out and it is warm.  My washing is done and on the line.  I needed this.  Yesterday at this hour the sky was filled with resounding thunder and lightening flashed vertical in blinding stripes.  The Australian summer used to be days at the beach, Sunday afternoons at the pub, watching 60 Minutes at night.  But now we seem to be keeping an eye on the weather reports more often these days.  The days have been wildly different and with some feeling like the wrath of winter.

February also meant I returned to work in all the regions I visit frequently.  This may be my last year I travel to some sites and I feel a sense of sadness about it.  But new openings are on offer, so I’m excited for 2021 and open to all that brings into my life.

Frequent travel comes at a cost, mostly relationships suffer and inevitably come to an end.  It is a lingering sadness.  It has been difficult for me to give up this lifestyle for anybody.  I love what I do and I love doing it.  I was born to do outreach work and it is a good fit for me.  The joy of knowing one has made a difference is addictive and not easy to explain to others.  This is my pathway in life and I embrace it, alone or perhaps one day, with someone with a similar understanding of it.DSCN9985
Between Williams and Narrogin, Wheatbelt region, Western Australia
I’ve been to Narrogin twice this year but bypassed my favourite reserve Foxes Lair either due to heat or high winds.  With tall gum trees and one way road, I didn’t want to be trapped there, so I spent my time looking at the paddocks that will filled with sheep and wide horizons.DSCN9923
Geographe Bay, Busselton, Western Australia
I started my year in the South West.  This is one of my favourite places for an early walk or sunset spot.  I’m visiting again next month and looking forward to my time there.DSCN7306
River gums, Carnarvon, Western Australia
This year I discovered an enchanted forest of river gums along the Gascoyne River in Carnarvon and standing alongside it, felt like an embrace.DSCN7268
Gascoyne River at Rocky Pool, Western Australia
Then there was my trip to a cattle station outside Carnarvon.  Such a fabulous trip on previously untravelled roads.  These colours of the Midwest outback quicken my pulse.  If one painted it, the art would look garish, but Nature does it so well.DSCN7196
Sand dunes, Pelican Point, Carnarvon, Western Australia
I always love photographing the sand dunes at Pelican Point where the wind writes lines like every author aspires to.DSCN7200
A wake up call!  Sand dunes, Carnarvon, Western Australia
I usually stay in the car at Pelican Point.  It is usually very windy and the sand is blinding.  This time I walked around and thought I saw driftwood.  I was wrong!DSCN7045
Australian avocet, Woody Lake, Esperance, Western Australia
In Esperance I saw my first Australian avocet, it was the only avocet among dozens of other birds and different species.  I was fascinated by the curved, delicate beak that it swept from side to side in shallow water to feed.DSCN7059
The end!

My diary for March is full.  No doubt, there will be a lot of opportunities for more time outdoors as well.  That’s how I’ve come to accept the gruelling schedule, work equates photography.  And, I’m happy with that!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to The Changing Seasons

Six Word Saturday: Siesta with seagulls, sand and sea

St Georges Beach, Bluff Point, Geraldton, Western Australia

This is my favourite lunch time spot in Geraldton and such a striking contrast to the red dust of the Midwest outback I experienced earlier in the trip.

It made me realise, there’s so much to see and appreciate, if we see familiar views with new eyes.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Six Word Saturday


Autumn Song

This is my first contribution to Fandango’s Friday Flashback.  I like the idea of going back and reflecting on what one has written.

Being a leap year this year, tomorrow is the last day of summer.

It will be autumn on the 1st of March in the Southern Hemisphere.  Last year I wrote this poem in anticipation of it.

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 Fandango’s Friday Flashback – February 28


Flower of the Day

My return home was fraught.  While waiting for a storm cell to pass in Perth, the plane sat on the tarmac longer than the flight.  I didn’t get home until after 9 pm.  I did not eat on the plane as I longed for a hot meal but could not heat my frozen meal when I got home.  The electricity had shorted.  I had no perishables in the fridge.  I went to bed hungry.

At midnight I heard an almighty crash with glass smashing.  I was on my feet in a flash.  I had left the side gate unlocked for workmen while I was away and immediately felt vulnerable.  In the silence that followed I heard water pouring, I stepped into the corridor and straight onto glass in my bare feet.  With my phone having only a little charge left, I dared not use it to light up the corridor.  When my eyes adjusted I stepped around debris to find my laundry was flooded from ceiling damage and the overheard light fixture gone.  So I did what humans do.  I sat on the sofa and cried with frustration.

Once the distress subsided, I caught a few hours sleep and first thing in the morning called the insurance folks.  To my amazement, they responded immediately and gave me approval to have the damaged fixed and send in the invoices without having to do the usual three quotes.  My handyman responded immediately too and lined up roofers and an electrician and came around later in the day to check on everything else.  Mid morning I went into my back garden and nearly cried again.  One of the two big trees has fallen over, a tree the rainbow lorikeets love to visit and a tree that gives me the first hint of spring with beautiful white flowers.  It is also a privacy screen from my neighbour over the fence.  I’m glad I won’t be home when A brings out the chain saw and removes it.

I’ve been extra busy this month with a lot of travel and writing.  I was looking forward to five days at home before another busy month looms in March.  The plan was to get the house ready for the painter and decluttering.  Instead I spent yesterday replacing appliances that were water logged in the laundry and kitchen.  The day was not done when I circled a shopping centre car park looking for a bay closer to the door for convenience in inclement weather.  I finally found one and turned in, nudging the car next to me!  I went to Security and the Concierge to report it.  They were so kind and the lady stroked my arm as she sensed I was upset.  Her touch was the random act of kindness I needed on the day.

I returned home to a decimated garden and as I walked to the front door, a pale pink bud caught my eye.  Even though I often have roses in my garden, this time, I stopped to take a picture.  There was something special in this rose that spoke to me, all is well.thumb_IMG_1237_1024
It was my flower of the day.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



In response to Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge

What do you see?

The Granites, Mt Magnet, Western Australia

Just nine kms out of Mt Magnet in the Midwest outback is The Granites; a place of cultural significance to the Badimia people where Aboriginal rock art is 9,000 years old (  The cited tourism website has more information about this place.

I absolutely loved visiting here.  While my travelling companion slept, I went by myself early morning before sunrise to experience this vast landscape.  It was silent and inviting.  The previous dusk we could not decide whether we were seeing a turtle or a frog!  We agreed in the end, turtle!

The rock formation is massive but, interestingly, gentle in pose.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Thursday – Pareidolia



Journey with me to the outback

Do you recall Newton’s Cradle, those tiny steel spheres that pinged each time they made contact and gathered momentum?  I like using that as an analogy when working with a particular colleague.

As a team, my colleague and I work to this energy, and this post is a recount of our latest journey into the outback …

Buckle up, it is a long post with pictures and my first attempt at posting a video.

The plane to Carnarvon is a small 34 seater and luggage allowance is strictly adhered to.  I needed to take more equipment on this trip, so I was preoccupied with packing as having my luggage off loaded was not an option.  With all the packing and unpacking, I forgot to complete my online check in and to my dismay at the airport, found I was seated over the wing.  The worst possible seat when I’m flying over the beautiful seascape of Shark Bay!  Onboard the crew was someone I’ve known for some years; I toyed with the idea of asking her if I could change my seat then decided against it.  Some seats were empty and no doubt weight distribution was factored in where folks were allocated.  I settled in and slept for an hour of the two hour flight.

On a previous trip to Carnarvon everywhere I went, the locals would say it was too bad I couldn’t stay another day because the river was due to arrive.  I did not really understand what they meant and assumed it was a euphemism for rain, this being an agricultural town, the State’s ‘salad bowl’.  This trip I was in Carnarvon for the event the town anticipates so much, despite having no recent rain.

As we approached Carnarvon I glimpsed a trickle of water in the otherwise dry bed of the mighty Gascoyne River.  It shimmered like burnished copper. But, nothing could have prepared me for the force of it.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1900The talk of the day among locals was how high the river had risen every time they checked their phone either in the office or cafe.  A colleague suggested driving out to Nine Mile Bridge where there was a small lookout over the River, so I went with someone familiar with the area at the end of the day.  Their excitement was contagious, but we looked on in awe for different reasons. DSCN7293My excitement was embedded in the fact this water was the rains that came from a cyclone further north.  Muddy red, it carried the heart of the Pilbara mining region, a link that generated a visceral response.  With the Gascoyne River being the longest river in Western Australia (nearly 900 kms or 500 plus miles) from Ranges to the sea, it is a spectacular sight to see in motion, the power of it made me step back and away from it.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a3dDSCN7290The night before we drove out to a cattle station I could not sleep with excitement, and like an unsettled infant, woke every two hours.  The instructions we were given were literally the proverbial ‘mud map’.  There was no phone coverage either for the last part of our journey.  My colleague brought her esky and we filled it with sandwiches, fruit and lots of water.  We wore casual clothing and sturdy shoes.  We grinned at the road ahead and left town early morning all set for an adventure on roads neither of us had travelled before.  Just as well we took food, the station was expecting floods and everything was placed on higher ground.  UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a20The road we turned off from the major highway was signposted.  The ink ran dry from there on.  We saw some petrol tins on wooden stakes, no doubt, meaningful to someone but for us it left more questions than answers.  Every few kms we hoped we were on the right track, and track it was, unsealed and deeply corrugated as rain had come through the area but not yet reached Carnarvon.  The last 20 kms was an especially bone-crunching drive as we bounced in the cabin, our voices becoming high pitched or subdued, every time a jolt took us by surprise. UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a3aThe family was expecting us and told us if we did not show up at the homestead within the designated time frame they would come out to look for us.  I wasn’t sure if I felt reassured by this!  We were, in Australian vernacular, beyond the black stump.  We did see some cattle along the way.  It is mustering season so we were somewhat reassured, although we could not see anyone or hear any mustering choppers, there were people around some where in this vast landscape.  No landmarks to guide us but the straight track, we reasoned, it had to lead to the cattle station and it did.  Eventually.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a2aThe homestead was a lovely period building, brick, fibro and tin but being a private home, I did not take photographs.  The high ceilings kept the temperature cool indoors and the rooms were dark.  We could not see what we were doing so we sat on the verandah under a tin roof for several hours.  It was hot and beads of perspiration slid down the length of my spine.  I could not help noticing there were several shovels scattered around the verandah.  With no garden in sight, the owner confirmed, they were kept handy and within reach, for killing snakes!  If nothing else convinced us, this did.  We were in the outback.

Concentrating on work for hours made us hungry as we headed back to Carnarvon.  We were told there was a picnic spot en route, closer to town, and we decided to have our lunch there.  Beautiful it was, but in the heat and no shade, we sat in the 4WD on the banks of Rocky Pool and watched the Gascoyne River flow.  We ate our lunch in silence, and took it all in.  I feel lucky to travel to these parts with a colleague who appreciates this in silence, like I do.


DSCN7265DSCN7260It is difficult to put into words what the outback feels like.  It is harsh and unforgiving country.  Yet it is brimming with life of what one can see and it feels like one can experience the unseen.  There is a spiritual ambience to it.  It floats among twisted trees, swirling waters and skims sandy banks, with a softness that is tangible.  This is ancient country.  It envelopes one if you let it.  It is not a landscape one sees.  It is a landscape, a country, one experiences.  It is now part of me as I am of it.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a41Later that evening, back in Carnarvon, we walked to the local pub so we could have a drink or two with our meal to celebrate our adventure.  Sunset looked promising.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a45We walked back to the hotel along the Fascine after dark, where the sunset a couple of hours earlier had been beautiful.  I slept fitfully from exhaustion and excitement.

I’ve had an amazing trip despite the discomfort of heat and persistent flies and we worked non-stop.  I’m even more convinced now than ever before, I’m no city worker.  An office space does not cut it for me anymore.  Give me dust especially the red dust of the north, the stuff that is powder fine and gets into everything.  Wearing white is never an option in these parts.  Wildly patterned clothing hides a multitude of sins.  I know this because I sat on the sofa in the dark and on a plate of cold watermelon!

I woke each morning while I was away convinced I made the right choice years ago to forge my own path.  It is definitely a road less travelled, and now, I’ve left my footprint on it.

This is by no means the last trip.  Yes Newton’s Cradle comes to mind, again.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to FOWC with Fandango – Momentum

Through the lens …

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1910Hibiscus, Carnarvon, Western Australia

I’m in beautiful, balmy Carnarvon at the moment, north of the State.  I found this hibiscus blooming outside my front door this afternoon.  Gorgeous!  The colours reminded me of the vivid horizon one sees in the Pilbara mining region.  It made my heart skip a beat with nostalgia.

Today was one of those days where everything I touched turned to dust.  The day rounded off with a know-it-all who annoyed me no end.  The emails I sent bounced and those I didn’t want to hear from, arrived in my mailbox.  The quote for maintenance to the roof is as high as my home.  I really didn’t need to hear that today.  I nearly forgot I had to log in for a webinar training and stumbled my way through the technology.  All day I longed to go back to my hotel room, pull the covers over my head and stay there until tomorrow.  I got to the hotel in one piece.  I parked the mother of a 4WD hire car, got it straightened after a couple of attempts, collected my belongings and sighed, I was ‘home’ for the day, when I saw this beauty.  Everything else just fell away.  I went up to it with my phone and in a stiff breeze managed to get a somewhat fuzzy picture.

This is what photography has brought into my life.  Where ever I am, my front door is where I point my camera.  It is the gateway to feeling good again.  It is my soft place to land after a challenging day.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Thursday – Looking out of my front door

What is wealth?

Coastline, Broome, Western Australia

My mother advocated generosity.  She believed, generosity of spirit as a personal value was one’s wealth and not one’s bank balance or earning power.  It has been a good moral compass for me and never more when …

It was some years ago.  I met him by sheer chance.  Waiting for a taxi in stifling heat, a young couple cut in before me and nicked my cab.  I waited for the next one and that’s how I met him.  He was initially surly but warmed to conversation.  Travel never tires me, I’m a chatty passenger in a taxi!  I didn’t have a hire car and he offered to show me around town that evening and we set a fee.  Talk flowed easily.  His humour was dry (I do have a soft spot for men who make me laugh).  We were in regular contact from then on.  I take a lot of taxis every month and in the city, I know folks come from different backgrounds.  In this town, it was his manner that made me think he was not local and driving a taxi was not his regular work.  I was right.

Over the next couple of years I got to know him better.  My first impressions were correct to a point.  We enjoyed good food.  We enjoyed the beach.  He introduced me to fine red wine.  He lived in one of the most beautiful places in Western Australia, so naturally, it was easy for me to visit several times a year and we were in daily contact.  As he let his guard down he ’emerged’, the default setting we are all comfortable to be at when we know someone well enough.  Initially I ignored the alarm bells until the obvious became obvious.

A successful businessman once, he was bitter.  His divorce costing him a fortune.  He could not let that go, despite the fact he continued to live well.  He viewed life and people with a jaded eye.  Those who were not in his socio-economic bracket were scorned, and those who were successful generated a jealous response that was uncomfortable to be around.  That dry humour often flipped to sarcasm with ease.  He sliced open people, including his children, with a razor tongue.  I once said to him, he should thank his ex-wife every day ,,, because of their divorce, he was living in a beautiful place and he may not have left the city, otherwise.  He stared at me in absolute disbelief.  “Thank her?”  I knew then we would never have a common ground.  Our philosophies and values were too different.

I always believe people cross our paths for a reason.  We may not appreciate the intent at the time, but hindsight brings wonderful clarity.

I met him at a time in my life when my career had taken off.  The years of hard work and crumbling under the burden of single motherhood were paying dividends.  He was by no means living in poverty, but, because his current lifestyle was less ostentatious than what it was in the city, it made him miserable.  In the city, folks knew him.  He enjoyed  being a prominent member of a prestigious club.  He was an ‘old boy’ of an expensive school.  In his town, he did not have the same status.  He was just a discontented privileged male.

One evening we went to the beach to enjoy the sunset with his city friends; from memory, wine folks from Margaret River.  Champagne and expensive red wine flowed.  Although I was on an open beach, I felt trapped.

I had just come back from working in an indigenous community, the conditions there harsh, hot and humbling.  A place where families are community and community is family.  The elders were so welcoming.  I stood for  hours in heat with ants crawling up my legs and camp puppies with itchy bodies everywhere.  I had never felt more privileged to do the work I do.

I knew then I had met him and walked away at the right time in my life.  He taught me, yes, it is true, money cannot buy happiness especially when you think someone has more than you.  The truth is, someone always will.

As a child I learned generosity of spirit is something that flows and does not accumulate or stagnate.  You can’t stockpile it or make the balance grow.  I know this because my elderly, illiterate but oh so wise nanny used to say, “you cannot repay kindness, you pass it on”.  That is the essence of generosity of spirit.  That to me, is true wealth.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Daily Word Prompt – Affluent

Now you see it … now you don’t …

I tried to leave home earlier than my scheduled departure to the Wheatbelt.  The roadworks are a nuisance, as are the monster harvesters that slow traffic.  I dislike driving in this region at dusk, so I drove with a sense of urgency.  As I headed East, just past Muchea I noticed a big swathe of pine trees have been levelled and the new highway that will join Brand Highway is taking shape.  It saddened me.  The trees are disappearing before my eyes.  I can do nothing about it except avert my gaze.DSCN7182
Candy Bush Reserve, Moora, Western Australia
When not at home I seek the company of trees if inland, as much of the Wheatbelt is.  The trees here have a delicate elegance to them.  Tall, slender limbs and the brown bark is smooth and glows in the sun.  This is the main road I take from out of Moora, a good 20+ kms before I get to the main highway.  I often park in the shade and eat a hurried lunch before heading back to the clinic.  This is farmland country.  The paddocks were summer beige and speckled with hundreds of sheep.  There were clouds of white cockatoos everywhere.  There is something very calming about this journey.DSCN7180
It won’t be long before these trees will be earmarked for destruction, to widen the road, no doubt.  In these regions, due to the roadworks everywhere, I seem to have road workers for company, rather than miners.  These folks work hard in heat.  At dusk, they are on their front porch of the chalets, downing a few cold ones and talking about their day.  Much like me, these folks are away from home and family.  They create their own community.  I’ve learnt to do the same.thumb_IMG_1004_1024
Sunrise, Moora, Western Australia
Like me, they wake early, coffee in hand, some with cigarette in the other and watch the sunrise.  It’s an easy feeling, waking among strangers and feeling completely at ease. Or perhaps, it is a feeling that comes from being among trees.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Monday – Evanescent

Homage to the sea

West Beach, Esperance, Western Australia.

I find the sea inexplicably seductive.  I love the feel of the frothy curl of waves around my ankles.  The treasures I find when the tide leaves.  The gentle rhythm of ocean time.  If there is such a thing, I was born with the beachcomber gene.  I always find something of interest.  Although I seek these moments of solitude on my own, I never feel alone when I’m walking along the shore.

I’ve come to understand, companionship, is the gift of the sea.

Young seagull, Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Pic and a Word Challenge – Shoreline #220

What is luxury?

After the holidays February has been a busy month of visiting all work sites as people return to their regular schedules, including me.  I have three more visits before the end of the month including a couple of long drives.  I’m not fazed at all.  So far, I’ve kept close to my new preferred way of working and it has been effective.DSCN7125
In Esperance I headed to Woody Lake after I landed.  It was silent.  Not a single bird around, not even the ever present Willy Wagtail but across the water there was a cacophony of bird calls.  I could see dozens of birds along the shore of Lake Windabout.  Ducks, pelicans, black swans and some ducks I’ve not seen before.  My pictures are too grainy due to distance but this one gives some idea how crowded the shore was.  I longed for them to be nearer to me.

The night before I left Esperance I stayed up late, set my alarm for 5 am (sunrise was expected at 5:27 am) and had a restless sleep.  I was impatient to get some down time with camera before my flight home.DSCN7091
Before I entered the reserve I turned the music and air con off, turned my windows down, took my sunnies off.  For a few seconds I experienced the moment as deeply as I could.  I then inched my way in.  In the silence I held my breath as the gravel under the wheels exploded like fireworks.  I was hoping to see some kangaroos as I know they are around early morning.  I wasn’t disappointed!  They tolerated my presence and I inched in closer each time they turned away and started to feed.  Until Big Daddy hopped closer to his family, and when he loped into the scrub, they followed him.  That joey has grown!

I drove down to the lake to a photography feast.  DSCN7150
Dozens of ibis had come across the water overnight.
Birds, especially seagulls and stilts, were photobombing others.  I didn’t know whether I should feel frustrated or laugh.DSCN7062
The humble sandpiper, beige and standing proud was solitary.  It faced me for a few seconds, turned and walked into the water.DSCN7122
It held my attention.  I sensed I was to see something more.DSCN7121
I was right.  I have never seen it lift and stretch wings before.  A message, perhaps, we all can.
Soon it was time to head to the airport with a final message from a seagull.  Take time to chill.

I spent a couple of hours at the lake.  There was no one else there but me.  It was alright with me.  I couldn’t help but feel pampered by nature.  This, is what luxury feels to me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day – Pampered

Photo a Week Challenge – Sleeping While you were sleeping …

Between Williams and Narrogin, Wheatbelt Region, Western Australia

Last night in the darkness
unable to sleep
I counted sheep
while you were sleeping
your heartbeat, mine
oh! that familiar rhythm
lulled my body
until next time

a dawn bird

In response to Photo a Week Challenge – Sleeping

Details! Details!

It was the days before mobile phones had good coverage.  Conversations often dropped off and the listener caught skimpy details as one struggled to stay on topic ….

I phoned my then husband, Dr T, late one afternoon.  With little ones in childcare I had time to cook a special meal for the family and was looking forward to everyone being home.

The conversation drifted to other areas and between laughter and whispers, it became more risque.  He decided to come home early.  I promised him it would be worthwhile.

The conversation went on a bit in more explicit detail, sparing nothing and then I added, “… and then you can pick up the kids from childcare after”.

There was silence.  It seemed to last forever.  He broke it say, “what kids?”

“OUR kids”, I said, laughing.  He, the prankster, on numerous occasions.

“No, seriously, what kids”, he enquired slowly, his voice sombre.

My silence was longer.  I hesitantly said, “Is this X?”

“No, it’s John”, he said, repeating his phone number.  I had misdialled the number by one.

We started laughing.  He told me he was really looking forward to going home but what a letdown!

I’ve never forgotten that conversation.  I wonder if he has!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Monday – Skimpy