Blessings

via Daily Prompt: Bestow

Today is the anniversary of my first date with someone.  It was decades ago but the memory as vivid as yesterday.  It was a hot day (40 degrees Celsius), unlike a cool 24 degrees today.  I was young and foolish.  I jumped on the back of his fast motorbike wearing just shorts, a tee shirt and sandals.  I had just had a pedicure and did not want my feet enclosed.  (Oh! the vanities of youth!)  We rode out of Perth to a small town less than 100 kms away.  We walked hand in hand and then stopped for scones and tea.  I spotted an antiques store and we lingered some more.  Soon the sun was waning, we decided it was time to get back to the city.  The area is teeming with kangaroos and we did not want to come across one at dusk.  Helmets on, we revved up and headed home.

As the sun slipped away lower into the horizon, the tree lined highway was dappled with sunlight.  He was doing the speed limit of 80 km/hour, when he failed to take a bend.  The bike slipped off the hard road into the soft gravel shoulder.  It bounced, twisted and danced in air.  I flew over his head like a stone from a catapult, skidding on bitumen like I was body surfing and then stopped with an almighty thud.  He held on to the bike for a fraction longer, before it bucked and threw him off, continuing for several hundred metres before a tree forced a stop.

He was also injured and could not reach me, but I could hear his urgent pleas, “Get off the road!”  Lying in the middle of a highway frequented by road trains that could not have stopped, his pleas became increasingly frantic.  My body moved in slow motion.  I lifted myself into a seated position and then bent over laughing at the slapstick comedy of it all.  I was obviously in shock.  Then I saw my right arm, or rather, what I could see.  The laughing stopped.

A nurse who lived on a farm nearby heard the crash and saw the smoke.  She raced across the paddock and approached the scene, all sombre, efficient and instructive.  She lay me down on the side of the road.  She fashioned support from the broken fairing and lay my shattered arm on it.  Being Anzac Day, a public holiday, the traffic, fortunately and unfortunately, was light.  Unable to leave me, the nurse waited for someone to come by.  A truckie finally did.  He was unable to call the local hospital.  This was the days before mobile phones.  He finally got someone in Sydney on the CB radio who phoned the hospital.  Being a holiday the staff were all on roster, enjoying a BBQ.  By the time the ambulance staff could be contacted, it was over two hours from the time of the accident.  By then the pain took over.  We headed into Perth with the ambulance wailing.  Still in shock, I complained bitterly about the nail polish being totally wiped off my nails on one foot that had dragged along the bitumen!

I spent months in hospital recovering from my numerous injuries and then another four surgeries and hours of therapy before my arm was functional.

Years later I married my date.  The father of my children.

Because of that day I have love and laughter in my life.  I have family.  I am mother.  I experience motherhood.  The best gift he could bestow.

As the years go by, I know one thing for sure.  I wouldn’t have missed that ride, for quids.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

“….this moment, is your life”

via Daily Prompt: Vague

It must have been about ten years ago when I first went to Port Hedland.  Not knowing what to expect I researched the area before the trip.  To my surprise there was more to see than just Port, salt mines, and iron ore laden freight transported by rail or sea.  What did surprise me was the vivid colours of the landscape.

There is no way the mining Pilbara region up north can be described in vague terms.  What you see, is what you get.

DSCN7195.jpgIt is hot.  It is red.  It is dusty.  The sky is blue.  It is magnificent.  DSCN7210.jpgThere is a solitary tree at Spoilbank, in South Hedland.  It is my favourite view from across the water.  This is harsh country exposed to cyclones.  I love the statement it makes.  DSCN7161.jpgThe muted shades of dusk.DSCN7163.jpgThe day ends beyond (tidal) Pretty Pool.  It casts an iridescent glow.DSCN7154.jpgThe bird life at Pretty Pool is discreet.  This heron was among the mangroves.  It was barely bigger than a crow.DSCN7152.jpgWith a stretch that was amazing!DSCN9593.jpgThe tide had left a calling card.  DSCN9563.jpgMy favourite place early morning is near a church.  The eagles like it too.DSCN9559.jpgThe magnificent cargo ships glide by, often without sound.DSCN7203.jpgI’ve visited Cemetery Beach before when the turtles were hatching.  (Yes, the beach is across the cemetery!).  This time I found sculptures on shore.  The real turtles in the sea were too quick to photograph.DSCN7201.jpgA beautiful egret.  An Eastern Reef egret, I think.DSCN7207.jpgThe rugged Pilbara shore.

I had lunch with my son yesterday.  I was telling him how hot it was in Port Hedland when I was there.  I got off the flight to temperature that was 17 degrees hotter than Perth.  I was sharing with him the sights and sounds of the Pilbara when he asked how come I am still enthusiastic about work after all these years of travel.  My answer was simple.  I practice the quote from The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam:  “Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life.”

It is the essence of being alive.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Feast or famine

via Daily Prompt: Partake

Life is a feast.  Yes, a cliche we have heard many a time.  What does it really mean?  For me, it is how one looks and experiences life.  It is how you partake in it that one can regard it as feast, or famine.

When necessary, some professionals will delve into people’s early childhood to search for ‘thinking’ seeds that were sown early.  The search guides their understanding and practice.  This makes sense.  Yes, it is how people perceive things that is always more interesting because it shapes who they become.  My early thinking was shaped by a strong work ethic by parents, nothing in life is handed on a silver platter.  I know I resented my strict upbringing.  It seemed so unfair when my parents had the means to indulge us.

As my book takes shape, my reflections of early childhood are changing.  The skeletons are not rattling, they are dancing to the beat of the keyboard.  I’ve come to realize my family history is populated with interesting people who saw the world, their way.  I know my life history is enriched by them being in it.

I’m not quite sure when my perceptions started to change.  Perhaps they were dormant for a while, perhaps, not, but I do recall myself as a child who viewed the world with wonder.  And, when the world I lived in had jagged edges, I created my own world of fairies, goblins and magical things in the garden, thanks to Enid Blyton.  It is not what I did that made the difference.  It was knowing when to make a difference.

Not much has changed from early childhood.  I continue to see life as a feast filled with opportunities and wonder.  Perhaps the next two photographs will illustrate this point.

Way up north in Kooljaman, Cape Leveque, about 200 kms north of Broome I woke to a  warm morning.  It is a beautiful place of untouched rugged beauty.  I walked around the grounds where I was staying, taking in all the sights, sounds and perfume of frangipani.  The bird life was prolific.

DSCN6306.jpgI stood under the canopy.  I knew I could choose to be either frustrated or excited at what I could hear but not see.

DSCN6360.jpgYou can imagine my excitement to catch this fleeting moment, high up in the tree!

What I experienced in that moment, was a sense of satiety.  I had feasted on a moment.  I was hungry for nothing else.  It made my day complete.

Yes, I choose to live life …. feasting.  The choice is simple when put into practice.

Where ever you are may you, too, be guided by choice.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Me?

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

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There is nothing more disconcerting that watching yourself in someone’s eyes and seeing what they perceive you to be.  The silent judgement is deafening.  The noise can extinguish life, as you breathe.  Not today, though.

I woke this morning with one thought.  Who I am today, is who I am.  In an instant, I was in the present.  Unshackled from the past,  I was free.  The moment felt delicious.  So I lingered and savoured it all day.

I realised there were so many things I could do today because I was me.  The thought gave me wings!  Oh! the freedom!

I switched off the phone.  Made a list.  Crossed off tasks completed.  I closed doors.  I opened windows.  I let in cool, fresh air.  I gathered up the last of the roses.  I took out garbage and set it kerbside.  I wrote.  I read.  I listened.

I reflected on those who have crossed my path in less than positive ways.  How lucky I am today to be me!  I did not have to dig deep to forgive them.  What I let go, I gained immeasurably. The thought, a gift to me.

I cleared shelves of unwanted objects.  I did the same with thoughts.  Then refilled the empty recesses with the joy, I had the freedom to be me today.

I realised my presence is transient like the tide.  My shadow will always be taller than me.  I know today what I lack in presence, I make up in substance.  I am strong and resilient.  I am me.

As my day ends I know the best gift I have received today, is the ability to accept the authentic me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Love, the unexpected

via Daily Prompt: Song

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Those who love photography will know the feeling of an unexpected image.  It generates a visceral response.  A reflex.  The stance is automatic.  Point and capture the moment.  It is rare for me to experience this without a camera.  But I did yesterday.

At the end of the day I felt contented.  I was home with soup simmering for hours in the kitchen.  As it needed a few more hours, I sat down to watch TV.  Flicking through channels of ‘reality TV’ with edited scripted spontaneity not cutting it for me, I was about to turn off and write reports when I stumbled upon it.  A documentary about an American couple.  So why did I sit, spellbound, for over an hour?  Let me share their story as succinctly as I can.

Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love in the 1950s.  They lived in rural Virginia.  He, all American blond boy, who spent weekends drag racing, as other boys of his era did.  She was slender, with long limbs, angular cheek bones reflecting her proud heritage, American Indian and African American.  They married, they claim not knowing inter-racial marriages were a crime in their State.  In an era where the reach of technology was short, being banned from their State effectively starved the young couple with three children, of support from family and friends.  Two young lawyers took up their cause, fired by the civil rights movement of the early 1960s.  They took it to the Supreme Court and won the case, decriminalising inter racial marriage, the waves of that tsunami, hit 16 other States.  I watched the documentary captivated by the story of all the players.  Each had their own agenda, but Richard Loving outlined it best when his lawyers asked him what to tell the Supreme Court.  He said simply, “Tell them I love my wife”.

I know the story of change.  The big players of the time.  Rosa Parks.  Martin Luther King Jr.  The Kennedys.  But, I didn’t know this simple, powerful story of love.

I learned this morning a movie was made about the couple in 2016.  I didn’t know this.  Of course, that’s not too surprising.  I rarely watch anything that comes out of Hollywood, nor will I be rushing to watch this on small screen, even if it was Oscar worthy.

The best images for me were by the photographer who captured beautiful, tender moments of couple and family that were interspersed throughout the documentary.  A man mowing a tatty lawn, doing puzzles with his children.  A lean mother cooking over a stove, her small pots, too small to feed a family of five.  A couple joined in tender kiss.  A burly man leaning his head on his wife’s slender, strong shoulders.  Her doe like gentleness belied the strength she would have needed to cope with this all.  Yes, the photographer caught those unexpected moments, that gave voice to a story.

The love story of Richard and Mildred, has found a place in my heart, like a song.  May it do in yours too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Heaven, helps us all

via Daily Prompt: Deplete

Winter had hit Esperance it seemed.  It was windy, cold and wet when I arrived. Having caught a throat bug on the flight, I headed straight to the supermarket and bought a sachet of chicken soup (ugh!).  Wet cement, would have been more palatable.  Why chicken soup?  For me, it is synonymous with nurturing.  Before I was married I rented a room in a large home that belonged to a Polish widow who spoiled me thoroughly!  A mere cough would galvanize her into action.  I learnt to make chicken soup from her.  Chicken frames, beef bones, root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips), celery including leaves, brown onions with skin, bay leaf and whole peppercorns, all placed in a large pot of cold water and then brought up to the boil.  Simmer, skimming the top, for several hours.  Strain, season, leave in the fridge, skim any residue fat, add freshly chopped carrots and celery, broken up angel hair pasta and bring to the boil again.  You’ve got a delicious, clear broth with vegetables and noodles.  The young adults call it “Mum’s witches brew”.  I swear by it.  It cures everything, for me.  I could hardly wait to get home and get the cauldron out.

The three days in Esperance were torturous.  I struggled into work for a few hours and then returned to bed, my energy deplete.  The boss, concerned at the way I looked, booked me in to see his doctor.  Country folks have big hearts!  Yes, I was too sick to work but not sick enough to crave being outside with my camera.  So it was torture and I was feeling stir crazy.  On the day of my return flight, I headed out to Woody Lake, new camera in hand.

DSCN6719.jpgI watched dawn break and fretted about the clouds.  The small plane would have to punch through these, the thought making me feel sicker than I had been.DSCN6738.jpgAs the sun broke through, I saw a line of birds above.DSCN6707.jpgOn one side were the Cape Barren Geese, large, ungainly birds on ground, but graceful in flight.DSCN6735.jpgDozens on ibis, untidy in formation, also headed somewhere else.  (I obviously need more practice with my new camera!).DSCN6739.jpgFar across the Lake, on my right, was a flotilla of pelicans, dozens of them.  On my left, a solitary white heron, posture perfect, even when alone.DSCN6745.jpgThinking that was my quota for the day, I started to drive out of the reserve slowly when I saw it, sitting all plumped up, large as a hen, a common bronze wing pigeon.DSCN6751.jpgPreening, pretty as a peacock, in an unguarded moment, challenging the notion of “common”.DSCN6682.jpgNear my car, a silver eye feeding.  Usually they swarm in small groups but this one was alone.DSCN6678.jpgEye to eye.  For a moment, it was heaven, right here on earth.

I’ve always found it difficult to explain my faith to my children.  I was raised to follow it, not question it.  I raised my children differently.  I have raised them to question authority.  So when they ask questions, I really don’t know the answers, other than having a faith base, works for me.

But I’ve been reflecting on the concept of heaven and hell.  What if I was taught incorrectly.  What if the message was, this was heaven.  If we recognize it as such, it can be.  Be it suburbia, city or outdoors.  I’ve found it just takes a moment of stillness, a moment of peace to achieve this.  A moment I found heals me, no matter what life throws my way.

My belief has shifted somewhat from my early childhood.  I now believe, if we practice this awareness, whether you are a believer or not, heaven helps us all.

In a world of unrest, this Sunday, my prayer is one of peace.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

A simple truth

via Daily Prompt: Glimmer

During a recent trip to the Goldfields, my schedule was the usual rush.  Overwhelmed by it all, at lunchtime I went straight to the hotel, lay down on the bed with sandwich in hand, and watched Dr Phil for half an hour before returning to the office.  Big mistake!  Did I feel rested?  Not a bit. All that angst on TV was not entertainment and did not nurture what needed to be nurtured that day.

I finished work at 4:30, returned to my room and was asleep by 8 pm, waking in the morning still tired.  This was not the kind of life I envisaged for myself.  On reflection, what was missing was my usual break in the arboretum.  The next day, I bought lunch before going into work so I could dash straight to the park.

Big breath!  I’m alone!DSCN6659.jpgWell, not quite!  The noisy wattle bird, now silent, was within reach.  Keeping my movements small, I put the sandwich down and picked up my camera.

DSCN6661.jpgEmboldened by the quiet, the bird started to feed.  They are a joy to watch.

 

DSCN7071.jpgThe wattle bird has ordinary plumage, and blends into the scrub with ease.  But I look for the distinctive vivid yellow belly, when I find them, nestled deep in foliage.

DSCN7099The wattle bird is fascinating to watch when it feeds, with the delicate red wattles dangling on either side of the head.  What is sacrifices in an unattractive metallic cackle call, it makes up in elegance.

DSCN7102.jpgWhen the wattle bird left to feed elsewhere, I found an acacia, the tiny flower, bright as a spotlight. It shone a light on a simple truth.

Collectively these moments add glimmer to my day, otherwise, work would be tedium.  And, that’s not what earning a living, is meant to be.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird