The serendipity of discovery

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Discovery

I love that moment of suspension, where one waits for bloom, the revelation, the epiphany, call it what you may, that comes from peering closer into the unknown, hoping for discovery. It is these moments that I find most enlightening and helps my life journey and sometimes they surface during reflection and at other times, during a busy day.

Last year I spent a fair bit of time on ‘organisational porn’. Watched videos on decluttering and minimalism, learned the difference and set my daily tasks. But as my work slows down, the focus now is on budgeting, something I haven’t done in years. Living alone, one can be indulgent and wasteful and this is a habit I’m focusing on this year.

My frequent travel has made me a creature of habit. Some habits don’t cost me anything, for example, requesting the same hotel room each visit. But I pay a steep price in other areas. For example, I hate changing hair dressers and prefer to go to my usual salon. I can relax for a couple of hours but it is a costly exercise every three weeks. Since my mobility and strength has also been compromised, depending on my health on any given day, I’m unable to trim my nails. The fact I hate long nails because they prevent me being functional means this is another added expense every three weeks. So all up … hairdresser, manicure and pedicure … costs me $XXX per month. I never stopped to think about this until late last year when I started my financial ‘tune up’ for the coming year. It gave me reason to pause and reconsider am I paying too high a price for the comfort of the familiar?

Still reluctant to change my expensive habits, yesterday I was forced to look elsewhere to get my nails done as the regular person I see was on holidays and my long nails were slowing my typing. None of the beauty salons could fit me in, so I started phoning folks who run their business from home. I went to a home based beauty salon in the neighbouring suburb where the lady was so warm and welcoming we talked for nearly two hours like old friends. I left with a beautiful pedicure and manicure and paid just $65 (instead of $XXX at a salon). She told me to return every three weeks and she would trim my fingernails and paint them with clear varnish for $10! She has a few other clients with rheumatoid arthritis and they have the same problem as me.

Another area of waste for me in food. I often buy salad items and then throw them out. My salad garden has reduced that expense and interestingly, the two small garden planters produce so many cucumbers and tomatoes, there’s enough to give away to neighbours.

In the last two years I’ve discovered more about myself in a relationship than I ever did before. Each disagreement has led to me saying, “thank you, I didn’t know that about myself!”. My appreciation is genuine. Living alone, one can be too independent (at least that’s how I see myself!) but now realise I come across as “demanding”. Am I set in my ways? I hear a resounding yes each time I ask the question! How has this relationship lasted nearly two years! He works so remote and phone coverage is always an issue and yet our affection for each other has grown stronger. I’m reluctant to unpack this. Maybe there are some things best left undiscovered.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

The State I live in …

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – State

Red Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii)

The Red and Green Kangaroo Paw is the floral emblem for the State of Western Australia. They are gorgeous when found growing in abundance in the wild. I remember some years ago finding a paddock of them in a national park a few kms outside Esperance. I stopped the car and took it all in, a feast for the eyes.

The flower symbolises uniqueness and individuality. Never more true than in these times. In the last two years our Premier has enforced hard border policies, and when things were more relaxed, strict entry conditions. He has borne the brunt of many from all walks of life. And yes, there are memes out there of Western Australia, our State, on one side, and The Entire World on the other! But Mark McGowan, Premier has a great sense of humour. The video of him removing his face mask to the theme song of 2001 A Space Odyssey (when wearing masks was no longer mandatory), went viral. He has had the support of some West Australians and he has endured the wrath of others.

There is talk the borders will open early February. Will this generate a state of collective relief or anxiety? There are some sectors in society that are keen for this and then there are others, who are apprehensive. What is evident is that people have started panic buying, yes the old scenario, of a dash for toilet paper, food essentials and when someone mentioned “stock up on analgesics”, the shelves were soon bare. Restricted buying in supermarkets has extended to fresh meat as well (a new restriction). The reality that a lot of our goods come from the Eastern coast has never hit home harder.

What I have loved over the last two years is that … People make eye contact more readily, and from behind the mask, their smile reaches their eyes. There is a genuine connection when this happens.

Be safe and keep smiling.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Leave the ordinary behind …

In response to Fandango’s Provocative Questions #152

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” Rabindranath Tagore

In my teens and twenties I worked as a secretary, mostly in research settings, later finding myself working as an assistant to the Executive Dean at the local university. A few months into my job, the professor I worked for insisted I enrol in an undergraduate degree. I was accepted into university the day I found out I was pregnant with my second child. The next few years were a blur with a busy job, young family and a marriage that was soon falling apart at the seams. Studying gave me the anchor and focus I needed during some very challenging years. I went on to do a doctorate in my field and like all new graduates hoped to get a tenured government job in mental health.

That was my plan. The universe had a better one.

I went out on my first practicum, paired with a physiotherapist, to a family who had a young toddler with special needs. He was profoundly disabled and not expected to see his fifth birthday. He was a ‘surprise baby’ for a family that had older teens. They basked in the light this child brought into their home and hearts. I left their home, with some of light in me.

Working in the area of special needs was never in my career plan. I knew little about it and to be honest, the university curriculum skimmed barely a unit in this complex area. I went on to work in mental health and other areas including rehabilitation for those with spinal cord injury where sadly most of the patients were once active people who faced a new reality. My much yearned for job came about finally but due to a restructure I found myself working with minimal staff to support people with complex mental health issues (schizophrenia, psychosis etc). It was a stressful job.

Around this time I was on a brief holiday in Broome, stood on the hotel balcony with a camera, my first camera incidentally, and took over 300 photographs of the sunrise over Roebuck Bay. As the sun rose, I recall thinking, “leave the ordinary behind”. When I got back to Perth I found I had taken this photograph. It remains an inspiration for me. A moment caught, not a moment too soon or too late, much like a golden opportunity.

I never walked away from special needs. I continued to have a small private practice in the area from the time I completed my degree. I returned to Perth and went into full time private practice.

My work takes me to the whole length and breath of Western Australia. I have travelled to remote outback to communities and experienced Australia not many get to experience. This lifestyle is addictive. I yearn for those wide open spaces, the red dust, the starry canopy at night, the acres of wildflowers that bloom in spring. The utter breath taking moments watching a wedge tail eagle, big as an airliner, fly alongside my car on an empty highway, watching a lone dingo hunt for breakfast among spinifex, collecting shells on remote beaches where just a single set of footprints crowds the sand.

My city colleagues are always curious about my love for what I do in rural and remote areas. They are office bound clinicians. The complexities and uncertainty of travel is not for them. For me, I thrive on the excitement of the unknown.

The reason I love what I do is quite simple. I provide an outreach diagnostic and therapeutic service, mostly to families of children with special needs. The joy this brings is like no other. The Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore’s quote resonates deep within me.

And that’s my story …

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

The Block

In response to RDP – Tuesday – Delay

I take a moment
to delay the witching hour
when anticipation flows in streams
I wade, wait and wait
but thoughts fall on barren ground
sterile, neglected and sour
in furrowed brows I dig deeper
until the earth within me yields
I lay down my shovel
on soil soften by rain
scoop a handful
inhale the petrichor
feel the trickle
and let the words fall where they may.

a dawn bird

In the mind’s eye …

In response to Your Daily Word Prompt – Morass

Gascoyne River bed, Carnarvon, Western Australia

Inner reflection, for some, is a space of luxury and for others, a waste of time. For me, it is as essential as breath.

My most joyful moments in any given day are early mornings when I wait, coffee in hand, for the world around me to wake. It is a time where all falls away and even the muddy footprints left behind, lead me somewhere.

There is no time in the day to do this thinking. It would be akin to asking me to walk through this muddy river bed. I would balk at the squelching sounds of my feet as I dragged them through sticky mud. But from afar, that heightened space of early morning, when I view my day, my life, from above, the world below glistens. I can see what I have found.

May today bring you a sense of peace that all is well.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Landscape of life …

In response to Daily Prompt – Wednesday – Anticipate

Gascoyne region, Western Australia

In that moment when time stood still
I travelled the landscape of life
arriving at youth
where courage and dreams were intertwined
I stayed for a while
in that sanctuary
where life flowed seamlessly
in the child-woman in me
I walked across the water
reflective as glass effortlessly,
as if, on solid ground
I caught my breath
at the junction of the unexpected,
when truth, like lightening,
blazed light all around
the ride into womanhood
was filled with anticipation
for dreams, yet unfulfilled
and in that moment of stillness
my vision less bedazzled,
in a backward glance,
filled with trepidation, found,
the balance was in my favour
I had more than I had lost
youth may have been short and sweet
but to my delight,
flanked by dares
the road ahead is longer.

a dawn bird

I’m trying to get back to where I used to be and today seemed like a good day to start.

My wish for you is that you find the starting point, the beginning of anything, is exactly where you are.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Forest Sprite

In response to RDP -Tuesday – Moss

No roots,
growing free
tenacious, and strong
towering tree above
held firm,
by a velvet glove.

a dawn bird

I’ve always been attracted to moss when I’m out and about with my camera but I knew little about it until this word prompt. The prompt made me curious. What exactly is moss? I had to admit to myself all I knew was that I love the look of it, and nothing more.

It’s interesting to me there are so many things I take for granted or just feel are unimportant to know. Why clutter my mind is my excuse. I reminded myself while writing this post, how do we determine what is important or not, if we know nothing about it?

I learned today that moss signal there is water underneath (I sort of knew this, well, vaguely). It absorbs rain and nurtures the earth with nutrients. Moss has no roots and yet there is growth. Now in that little snippet of knowledge, was a message for me.

I know people who are like this. They are resilient like moss. They bloom, be it forest floor, or landscaped garden. They are delicate, a soft place to land, yet hold the earth steady, in their hand. Something for me to emulate.

This is my first post for 2022. I enter the year with an open heart and curious mind. My wish for you is that you experience kindness, strength, joy and gratitude.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird