I blame my mother!

My mother believed in the goodness of people.  She worked hard to instill this in her children.  One of her favourite paraphrases was to remind us even Anne Frank, “that poor girl”, had purported to say there was “a kernel of goodness” in everyone.  If we had a gripe about one of our peers, my mother would insist we interact with them to see if the wrong could be put right.  Years later I read Michelle Obama urged people, “when they go low, we go higher”.  Worlds and generations apart, these women, expressed a sentiment which is identical.

I grew up to be an adult who believed in this.  To some extent, I still do.  Although I confess, the dissonance I feel has diminished this somewhat.

In the past few weeks I’ve learned one can walk into an embassy and disappear.  The thought of this fills me with revulsion and horror.  The aftermath, even more so.

I watched in disbelief as a woman’s powerful testimony of her violation can be ridiculed and mocked in exchange for derisive laughter and applause.

I’ve read professionals who have voiced their concerns about refugees and asylum seekers, have had their services, vital services, discontinued.

The mental health, social development and attachment trajectory of children ‘in custody’, is not a priority for those in power.

World leaders may be rich, but they can be bought cheaply.

DSCN8670.jpgIn my teens and on my own I had assumed everyone I meet “has a kernel of goodness”.  I found out not so.  I resented my mother’s views on life and people.  I thought she had lied to us.

It has taken years to learn how to be discerning, but the default of seeing good first, lets me down more often than not.

This morning I looked at a photograph of a  paperbark tree, one of many that overhang the walkway at Big Swamp.  I always walk through that area quickly.  Although beautiful, it is eerie and like an nightmare from a children’s story book.  I did a double take today.  That was no monster.  It is bark splitting open at the seam, beautifully.  It is this revelation that makes it a paperbark tree.

Similarly, there is a certain beauty in the revelation and realisation, my mother was a fabulist.  She taught us about morality.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird







What a difference a week makes

Before I left for a trip, I walked around my garden, coffee in hand.  The ornamental almond was just starting to bud.  I looked at the tree fondly.  The flowers have been late to arrive this year.DSCN8418.jpgI stopped a moment and took a picture.DSCN8416.jpgAnd then anotherDSCN8417.jpgAnd one more …  I felt like a new mother, inspecting every nub, like counting toes on newborn feet.

I thought by the time I returned from my trip today, the tree would be frosted as it does every year.  I was so wrong.

When I was away a storm came through the area.  It destroyed my fence.  The giant Tahitian lemon tree, the mulberry tree and the ornamental almond tree bore the brunt of fierce winds.  The honeysuckle vine is shredded.  I came home to wreckage.  In a week my landscaping plans have been brought forward by a year.  To say I am saddened to lose what has been familiar for the last three years, is an understatement.  The garden, planted by others, grew on me.  What is sadder to watch is the birds.  They fly around confused, nothing is where it used to be.

Perhaps the buds photographed before I left were a premonition.  New life awaits.  I can do nothing else, but embrace this thought.  I will create a new eden.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



The Kite Surfer

A Shared Space

It was late dusk when I saw him.  He was young, tall, lean, and strong.  He epitomised seaside youth.  I had no option but turn my car around.  This I wanted to see.  His determination.

DSCN8266 The sun was fading fast.  The wind strong.  My eyesight weak.  But like him, I set up, waiting for success.

DSCN8268He leaned right back, now almost lying down.  He had done this before.  The gouges in the sand, his history.

DSCN8269The wind lifted him.  Airborne!


But only for a nanosecond.  He came down with a thump.  His legs flailing before impact.


The wind was not in his favour.  But, he did it all over again, and again, and again.

I had stopped to see his determination.  I left with more.  I experienced it.

The serendipity between strangers is something I cherish.  Lessons taught by strangers.  Unintentionally.  In quiet spaces between sun, sand and sea.


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Spring in the South-West

Although they grow profusely everywhere you look, there are two regions in Western Australian synonymous with wildflowers at springtime, the South West and the Midwest.

This time in the South West I went looking for flowers in new places.  New for me.  They were always there.  DSCN8239.jpgI stopped by Minninup Pool, just outside Collie.  DSCN8133.jpgHow many shades of yellow can one find?  DSCN8278.jpgI had heard the underside of the blue enamel orchid is beautiful.  It is.DSCN8298.jpgIn nature, when differences come together, it creates nothing but spectacular beauty.  DSCN8314.jpgA wild orchid.DSCN8328.jpgA bottlebrush waiting to bloom.DSCN8396I found hundreds of these white and pink lily like flowers in Margaret River.DSCN8399.jpgThe flowers were growing on stalks a few feet high.DSCN8402.jpgAnd these poms of white found a place in wooded areas too.

I’m off again in a few hours, this time to the Midwest.  I’m hoping I’m not too late for the flowers there.

Will be back with more to share with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Yesterday, today and tomorrow

She comes to the door of the B&B, her smile is 100 watt dazzle.  Slumped over the walking frame, she looks a couple of generations older, but I’m sure she’s not.  Her home is period.  She tells me it was cut and transported piece by piece from Kalgoorlie where it was a boarding house.  It is endlessly large with high ceilings.  She has beautiful taste.  She bought the home for a pittance and renovated it faithful to the period.  Everything in the home was bought for next to nothing.  Huge jarrah posts discarded by a farmer for $8 a piece, she tells me, laughter making her eyes shine.  We both know the posts would cost hundreds of dollars in the city.  Stained glass windows discarded by someone else exchanged or bartered, one is always lucky to find them, we know this too.  She has polished, painted and brushed it all back to life from another century.  She has grand plans for so much more and not allowed pain or limited mobility to dampen her enthusiasm.

My bedroom is blue and white.  The bed, one of the most comfortable I’ve had in a long time.  I was too exhausted to eat, so I lay down in the white warmth and slept fitfully only to wake early evening to water running.  I follow the sound outdoors.DSCN8486.jpgHer garden is a delight.  I stop to take a picture here and there.DSCN8539.jpgThe ornamental almond tree was frosted white.DSCN8543.jpgThe ornamental peach tree bloomed elsewhere.DSCN8528.jpgThere were bulbs bejewelled with bees.DSCN8545.jpgI found this in one corner, my camera sees what she hasn’t in a long time.  “How on earth did that bloom there?”, she asks me, and we both laugh at her surprise. DSCN8496.jpgI loved the white flowers in another corner and asked her what they were.  She tells me, they are English May, a cutting from her grandmother’s garden.  It’s something she cherishes.  Not hard to see why.DSCN8510.jpgShe is seated on a plastic chair, crutches to the side, water hose in hand dousing dirt in front of her with about 15 silver eye keeping her company.  They dig into the damp soil for tasty morsels.  She giggles like a little girl at their antics.

I step away into the background, camera in hand and reflect.

If this is old age ….

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Colour, my world

I’m no gardener, but I’m forever thinking about my garden.  I now live in a house where I have planned different types of gardens in small isolated pockets.  My vision is yet to come to fruition, but thinking about this, is a happy place to be.

When I was married my husband and I were constantly at odds with how the garden should look.  Forward thinking for the time, he was insistent on a garden with native trees and shrubs as they are plants that require little maintenance and water.  I, on the other hand, wanted an English garden with lavender, roses, geraniums, hydrangeas, and cottage plants.  He indulged my love for this to a point.  When my marriage ended I had a hedge of 14 white iceberg roses that bloomed incessantly with thousands of flowers.  Far from being a reminder of him, they served to remind me he had worked hard outdoors so I could enjoy the view.  It was a memory worth keeping so I continued to keep it alive with more flowers.  The only time I can remember gardening, is when I decided to turn the upper level into a white garden and that space had only white flowers of all kinds.  I wish I had taken pictures.  It was beautiful.  I looked forward to my alone times in the white garden.  I shed all my other roles when I was here except one, student.  On reflection, it was a space where I gave my body breath each day and where I created a new life.

I moved from that space, in more ways than one and found a world of colour.  I was fortunate to find this in a lifestyle that meets all my needs.  Each day I work towards that life, one that strengthens the core of me.  I make sure I stop each day for a few minutes.  I now see colour and detail.  DSCN8425.jpgYellow everlasting flowers growing roadside in the Wheatbelt.DSCN8431.jpgor growing side by side with blue leschenaultia in dry, gravel soil.DSCN8432.jpgThe beautiful velvety native purple flowers on grey foliage that look extremely ordinary from a distance.  But close up?  You be the judge.DSCN8438.jpgThese interesting flowers are tiny and waxy.  I’ve seen creamy lemon ones in the Goldfields.  They glisten in the sun like dew.  Up close, they are delicate and finely veined, like aged hands.  I’ve seen hundreds and thousands of these, but this time, I saw one in bloom.  Exquisite.DSCN8455.jpgThen there are the tiny everlastings that glow like embers, along the ground.DSCN8464.jpgThe beautiful spears of grevillea that grow wild everywhere.DSCN8469.jpgOr these mops of orange.DSCN8476.jpgand blue.DSCN8478.jpgThe delicate intricacy of the cone flower.DSCN8483.jpgAnd tiny, tiny, butter yellow blooms.DSCN8454.jpgI still find white flowers joyful.


They remind me how far I’ve come.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

The pursuit

My presence at Big Swamp in Bunbury is usually announced to the wildlife by the screeching warnings of the swamp hens.  This visit I did not see or hear any.

I was enjoying the quiet when I heard the distinctive noise made by the musk duck.  To me it sounds like a coin dropping in water from a height.  Kerplonk!  The ‘whistle’ is intermittent as the duck moves over the water but on this occasion, it had a frequency I had not heard before, so I walked faster towards the water.

I’ve found the musk duck ignores my presence whether I’m standing by the water’s edge or on the boardwalk.  It goes about its business.  As it did this time.DSCN8120At first the mother duck swam serenely past him with ducklings in tow.DSCN8116.jpgHe watched them glide by and drew attention, the sound a mere burble that made ripples around him, saying “I’m here”.DSCN8117.jpgShe ignored him.  Then his body language changed as he exposed more and more of his chin lobe and moved faster, with a speed that took me by surprise.DSCN8118.jpgHe followed the female duck drawing closer, becoming increasingly relentless in his pursuit.DSCN8119.jpgI thought the ducklings looked afraid as they moved towards their mother.  She stopped and studied the moment.DSCN8121.jpgThen she intervened, putting herself between the male and her ducklings.  She engaged in a dance with him this way as they glided past me, in a back and forth.DSCN8122.jpgHe chased her repeatedly, the ripples around him becoming wider.DSCN8123.jpgShe ignored him.  He arched his body into a bow, chin lobe prominent and brush tail stiffened in a final still moment.DSCN8124.jpgThen he exploded.  The water erupted around him.  In one desperate moment, he put on his best show.  She did what ducks do best.  With ducklings in tow, she paddled on, unimpressed.

I nearly clapped bravo.  But, I couldn’t tell you for whom, because I don’t really know.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird