On facing crisis – a reflection

It is ironic, my last trip (most likely) for the year was to Geraldton where on the outskirts, in the hamlet of Greenough, is the graceful and iconic Leaning Tree.  I never fail to stop and take a picture of the tree each time I drive past.  It is also ironic that I found a picture that was taken on a gloomy day.  It should have dampened my spirit, when the world has changed so drastically.  Behind each statistic is a person, a family, a community and the reach of this health and economic crisis, is sobering.11043286_951275048218091_1381120800650411949_o
The Leaning Tree, Greenough, Western Australia
Like those who work with people face to face, be it in hospitality or hospital etc, our work lives have changed, at least for the foreseeable future.  The news from one agency, midway through my trip, was to cease operations as we know it.  On the last day of my work in a new agency, we were advised there would be no work until further notice.

After the initial shock of severe financial restrictions, I did what is promoted as a step to maintaining good well being.  In times of crisis return to normalcy as soon as one can.  I sat in the quiet of my hotel room and made a list of priorities.  I usually make a list at night of tasks that I need to tackle the following day but this list was different.  I found I needed to take charge.

The first thing I did was to email the bank and accountant to advise them I would not have my usual income this year.  The bank representative did her homework before returning my call.  She reassured me all was well on that front and they made some allowances that will be helpful should I need it.  It was the biggest relief and allowed me to think more clearly about other matters.

I returned to Perth to empty shops.  The mad panic seems to have subsided or perhaps people are staying home, which is a good thing.  It felt like I was over-shopping and I had to remind myself I usually shop for a day but now I was shopping for a fortnight.

Like the Leaning Tree growth continues when one is bent, but not broken.  I’ve found some positives in going back to basics. It’s all about perspective.  thumb_IMG_1572_1024
Hotel room art, Geraldton, Western Australia
Being grounded in reality is one thing, but we can paint and re-paint the picture in broader and brighter strokes.  Adults can come up with something more abstract and even when broken and distorted, the picture emerges and one finds meaning in it.thumb_IMG_1352_1024The Rainbow Tree, children’s artwork, school in the Midwest, Western Australia
Children, on the other hand, take from what is familiar and make it their own.  I experienced a deep sense of joy when I stood in front of this artwork.  All those discarded buttons from old clothing, the vision of a rainbow instead of a bent, old tree.  The earth coming up to greet it.  To me this is a portrait of a celebration.  Oh! the eyes and heart of a child!

So I share three pictures with you today of gloomy reality, abstract thinking and of creativity.  I know which one I love best!  So I’m channeling my inner child.

I’m going back to where comfort is.  I read in posts, most of us are doing this too.

I’m enjoying cooking.  I’m stewing fruit.  I’m making sauces and pastes.  My home smells like a home.

My home is being spring cleaned.  All those chores that never find a higher priority are being attended to.  I am culling and discarding what I don’t use or need.

There is incense burning and with it, brings a presence.  Together, we are one. 

My faith has never been stronger as I face an unpredictable financial future.

Take care of yourself and each other.  Think of others.  Offer a kind word to the elderly who seem so worried and alone.  Your smile or gesture may make a world of difference to them.  Be the difference.

Anxiety negatively impacts the immune system.  Keep calm.  Calmness can be contagious too.

Look and read the ‘news headlines’ within.  That’s where you’ll find a stronger and resilient you.

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RPD – Saturday – Looking Within

I believe in angels


Between the ages of infancy and pre-teen years my son had severe asthma attacks.  He was a toddler when he had one particular bad attack and was blue when we found him.  I could hear his breathing on the baby monitor but did not pick up the distress.  Fortunately Dr T did and went to investigate.  We had to rush him to the hospital.  I thought we would lose him in my arms.  I soon watched out for warning signs and he was on preventer medication but still managed to have bad attacks.

Once on my own, it was difficult.  The attacks always seem to come about 2-3 am.  Having to wake an older child and in panic mode to get to the hospital was the stuff of nightmares.

Just before dawn one morning, it was the usual run.  My daughter was around nine, my son about four years younger and both too heavy with sleep for me to carry on my own.  Somehow I got to the hospital but within the short ride, my daughter was in that disrupted space of sleep and wake and combative when we tried to get out of the car.  I struggled with both of them and across the car park I heard a man’s voice approach me.  He asked if he could help.  I told him my son was having an asthma attack and I could not get my daughter indoors.  He offered to help.  Suddenly I felt the sense of urgency disappear.  An intense feeling that all was well, enveloped me.  He scooped her up in his arms and we walked into the brightly lit corridor of the Emergency Department.  When we got to Triage, he put her down, and I turned around to thank the good samaritan.  He was nowhere.  For him to disappear down the corridor he would have had to sprint faster than Bolt.

To this day I remember that act of kindness and wonder who he was and when I do, that feeling, all is well, returns.

May an angel cross your path today.

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Friday: Emergency

Against all odds …

thumb_IMG_5528_1024.jpgIt’s the start of the new financial year.  Contracts are signed.  It’s business as usual.  In the last week or so I’ve been to Exmouth, driven twice to Coorow and Carnamah in the Wheatbelt and now headed to Esperance.  I’m feeling the aftermath of it all travelling between balmy days and freezing cold nights in various regions.  It has also been a big six months with my son’s wedding, Dr T’s major surgery and his recovery that did not go as planned.  Supporting my family through all this has been an unspoken stress and I had time last night to reflect on this.

They say faith defies logic. My path in life defies logic. It came about when I surrendered and accepted a Greater Plan for my life. The simple prayer “all is well” has brought me immense peace. I have the freedom to work as I please. Love without expectations. Accept with respect what is meant to be, will be. I am where I need to be in my life. And, where I need to be, in the life of others.

I was restless last night and in pain.  Mended bones have long memories.  I’m off today again and things to do before I leave.  I distracted myself last night by making a list of priorities.  I know I can’t get everything completed, but I can meet some deadlines.  Today I found a poem that I came across about five years ago.  I love the child like simplicity expressed in it.  Right now I feel what a poem says and thought I’d share it.

God’s Flight (by Heather Flood)
On the ground sits a bird
that’s too afraid to fly
Beautiful wings could make it soar
but the pain of past failure is it’s lonesome cry.
God has said unto this bird,
“Trust and have faith in me,
for I will carry you in your flight
The miracle of life is waiting for you to see.”
The bird said to God, “But I can’t fly.
I am weak. I will fall and feel pain
It’s happened before when I tried to fly
I’m afraid of being hurt again.”
His voice soft and reassuring, God said to the bird,
I created you, and I will protect you
Your lonesome cry I have heard
Have faith in me. That’s all you need to do.
So, stand up, bird, and spread your wings
The wings I lovingly created to let you fly
If you fail I’ll pick you up
and lift you back into the sky.
With trembling legs and unsure wings
the bird finally looked to the sky
It took a deep breath, and took the chance.
The bird began to fly.
“Thank you, God, for believing in me,
Thank you for giving me wings.
Thank you for your protecting hands.
Your glory I will now sing.”
God smiled unto the bird
in its majestic flight
“Little bird, I’ll always be with you,
and will protect you with all my might.
You may stumble. You may fall.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t care.
I will watch over you, in case you need help,
and then I’ll be right there.”
The little bird, once so scared,
learned to soar to new heights.
The occasional fall no longer scared the bird,
choosing to have faith in God’s flight.

Today, against the stiffest of winds, I fly. My wish for you today, is that you do too.

As always

a dawn bird

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



I am with you

Each night,
in the quiet
I anxiously watch
the minutes tick by
I know the hours will meld
into a new day
like they did yesterday
Outside the wind creeps
along the eaves
Imagination plays
while I try to sleep
I toss and turn
listen and wait
make sense of sounds
shadows and shapes
I say a short prayer
I take a deep breath
No longer afraid
In the stillness of my being
I find a shared space
where I am safe
so I reiterate
I am safe.
I am safe
I am safe, with Thee.

a dawn bird

Full circle

The last month has been a roller coaster ride personally and professionally.  Perhaps it is the end of a busy year so I’m feeling more vulnerable and tetchy.

Bullying behaviour happens in all walks of life.  The time has come to call this behaviour for what it is.  My instinct is always to walk away from a bully.  They don’t deserve my time nor need to be in my space.  But this time, when pushed by a colleague, I pushed back.  Uncharacteristic of me and I found, a bully does what bullies do best, they retreat when called out.

Then it was the neighbour who had been trying to contact me regarding the damaged common fence.  I was expecting a showdown.

I walked around Foxes Lair one morning and said, ‘Lord, there’s too much on my plate” and after a couple of hours bush walking, although nothing had changed, I returned home feeling spiritually rested.

I caught up with my neighbours.  It was the first time I had met them since moving into my home about four years ago.  They were perfectly reasonably people!  Then I had a phone call from my line manager.  I was expecting, at best, a reprimand for being outspoken to someone in a higher position than me.  But no, he had called to ask me if I could help someone who was in dire need.  During our conversation I brought up, what I perceived to be bullying behaviour, with him and much to my surprise, he agreed with me and invited me to discuss these matters with him sooner rather than later.

Over the years I’ve learnt pilots use the phrase “we are expecting some weather” for turbulence.  My instinct is natural, I tighten my seatbelt.  So leaving Perth in perfect weather and expecting 30 degrees when I landed in Kalgoorlie, the pilot’s forewarning surprised me.  We landed after an uneventful flight.  The girl at the hire car counter grinned and said, “how was the flight” and was amazed when I told her it was smooth.  She told me a terrific storm had just passed Kalgoorlie and she was sure the flight would have experienced it.

A few minutes later I headed to the hotel, the massive open cut gold mine for my horizon, the backdrop a waterfall of lightening cascading.  Rain fell like pebbles.  It was still warm at dusk.  I had heard about the lightening storms in the Goldfields but have never experienced one before.  It was spectacular.  We had landed between storms.

My two days in Kalgoorlie are always busy.  I did not have time to visit my favourite park.  As I left the clinic I realised I hadn’t taken any photographs.  I looked up instinctively.  thumb_IMG_3842_1024.jpgGum blossoms.

The flight home was buffeted.  I closed my eyes and rewound the previous few days in my mind.  I recalled the moment I woke startled around 3 am when a clap of thunder ricocheted around the town, snuggled deeper in bed and realised, there’s something wondrous about watching a storm from the safety of one’s bed.  I held on to that imagery until we landed safely in Perth.

I was raised to believe in a higher power that is loving and benevolent.  It is not everyone’s way of thinking and I respect that.  Equally, I’ve come to respect, what prayer means to me.

When busy I’ve found I have a tendency to slide away from the familiar and when I do, I feel rudderless.  I am mindful of this.

This month I recalled something I had read some years ago that was a useful spiritual compass for me.  I’ve paraphrased here.

When you don’t feel the presence of God in your life, ask yourself, who moved away? 

This reflection always returns me to where I started from.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird




Storms make us stronger

via Daily Prompt: Archaic

The concept of prayer and faith is a difficult one to describe to anyone who does not share the same thinking.  I know I have tried and failed miserably because faith and prayer is inextricably linked to who I am as a person.  It comes to me without thinking.  It is my go to place.  I have never needed this more than in the last 48 hours.

I was headed out of Perth on a day when a massive storm was predicted.  I was headed east and know the road well.  I had previously driven the highway during a storm and for a stretch of 60-80 kms watched the tall gum trees that flanked the highway, dance above my car.  I was watchful and tense.  The winds this time were stronger at 125 km/hour.  The rain expected to be torrential.  It was still when I was ready to leave the metro area.  The air heavy, stifling, waiting to implode.  I went back into my home and grabbed some summer clothes, thinking it would be hotter than I thought.  I was wrong!  At night the air in this open land was cold and biting.

Once I left the city behind I did not anticipate the journey ahead.  The paddocks were bare, ready for seeding.  The beige pastures dry.  The beige now in the air.  Visibility was negligible.  The folks in the region told me it was the worst dust storm in their memory.DSCN7122.jpgI turned off my air con and coughed my way through the next 160 km.  When I arrived I could barely speak, my mouth and teeth gritty with dust. The next day I headed further north east.  I had another two hours of driving.DSCN7151.jpgI could see the dark clouds build up on the horizon.  I tried to beat the rain.  It arrived before I could step it up.  The rain was like a powerful waterfall.  The wipers could not keep up.  The road started to flood in places and my car bounced off sheets of water.  I could not see a suitable place to stop and park.  I was doing between 50-70 km/hour in a 110 km/hr zone.  The stress of someone coming up behind me and not seeing me in time was ever present.  The only thing I could do was hold my nerve and pray, “keep me safe”. DSCN7147I got to a tiny hamlet called Latham when the sun broke through and it felt like I was on another planet.  The birds came out tweeting.  The wedge tailed eagle.  Pink Galahs.  Tiny honeyeaters.  And, I even saw a Maleefowl saunter back into the bush. The difference in the weather was unbelievable.

I was running late and could not stop to take any pictures.  This area is renowned for wildflowers.  I know I’ll be back in spring.DSCN7152.jpgAnother day of criss crossing towns and then I was finally on my journey home.  This time I indulged in a little rubber necking.  There was no one else on the road for one stretch of 51 kms, so I stopped and took this picture.  One of the most meditative drives I’ve had in a while.

I could see the storm clouds building again.  Having experienced the worst the previous day, these ominous clouds could not damper my spirit.  There was an innate confidence.  I would be safe.

It may be old fashioned to think this way, but prayer works for me.  It’s my hard wiring.  It makes all things possible in my life, or perhaps, I believe it does.  And, as long as I don’t impose it on others, I see no harm in it.  Nor does it harm me.  (I’ll have to remember this tomorrow when I fly out in predicted bad weather!)

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



I do now, …

via Daily Prompt: Fabric

We use the phrase loosely, “the fabric of life” but what does it mean?  Is it just a covering, a veneer, or is it something of substance, that gives meaning?

The fabric of my life, as I know it now, is interwoven intricately with family, flora and fauna.  I could not ask for more.

Let me explain what I mean …

DSCN6086.jpgI’ve lived for over 25 years in my neighbourhood and had never stopped to watch a white heron in flight.  I do now.DSCN6243.jpgI never realised, the beige of the Wheatbelt is beautiful at dawn.  I do now.DSCN6574.jpgWho knew a front garden filled with roses, is a welcome like no other.  I do now.DSCN6810.jpgSunlight warms the whitest iceberg.  I do now.DSCN8106.jpgIn a forest, the trees are not green, it is the leaves that make it vivid.  I do now.DSCN8132.jpgPreviously my hiking boots stomped on leaves and stones, ignoring the fallen one, tortoise shelled by age and sun.  My steps are now lighter.  I do now.DSCN8475.jpgMy curiosity was blunted.  I never stopped to wonder why.  I do now.DSCN9900.jpgI didn’t know, the Black Swan raises cygnets, as white as snow.  I do now.DSCN9021.jpgAnd, when I’m not home, snowdrops bloom at the front door.  I do now.DSCN6775.jpgI didn’t know life was meant to be lived, eye to eye.  I do now.

As I reach summit, my steps are now steady and mindful.

I choose to live differently.

The fabric is tactile.

I enjoy the wrinkles when they appear.  They are there for pause.

A crease is a crease, not a crevasse.

Yes, it’s all about perspective.

The colours are sometimes muted, at other times, vivid, perhaps even iridescent, but monochrome will also do.

That fabric is sometimes tangled with endless responsibility.

But I know when I hold on tight at one end, it will unravel,

because my Creator, holds the other end.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird








via Daily Prompt: Messy

I returned home from a quick trip yesterday.  I enjoyed the slight bite in the air while I was in the South West.  I tolerate it less in the city where it always seems to be sharper, maybe, because it is the city.  DSCN9779.jpgI parked my car in the driveway and found the pink roses looked fatigued too.  DSCN9799.jpgStrewn with rose petals, my front garden looked like a wedding had taken place.DSCN2754.jpgWhile climbing roses on the arbor, reluctant to let summer go, clung on. There are ‘pockets’ of garden around my property.  A legacy of the previous owner, a florist.  It is a delight!  Something seems to be blooming somewhere, making it always a garden.  Being home so infrequently and for short visits, I enjoy looking around to see what lies in wait.  I’m never disappointed.thumb_IMG_2793_1024.jpgNo muted shades for this little one in the side garden.  Reflecting the vividness of sunset.thumb_IMG_2796_1024.jpgAnd, there were others, still beautiful, before they fade away.thumb_IMG_2797_1024.jpgThe geraniums always bloom.  thumb_IMG_2798_1024.jpgThey are a welcome splash of colour in winter.thumb_IMG_2800_1024.jpgThis shrub is covered in spokes of purple blooms.


The garden, it seems, is in transition.  After autumn, comes winter, then spring.

There are no messy endings in Nature.  A lesson learned, so I’ll wait, for spring.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





A leaf fell from the tree,

it floated from the top

And landed at my feet

It was shaped like my heart

Its veins were gold, like memories

That sparkle in the morning light

And through the glint, I glimpsed

A promise of tomorrow

That follows the darkest night.

The leaf lay there, like a moment in time

And, although vivid

It was no longer green and new

I smiled as I leaned down for it

Like me, it was supple, not crushed

And like me, it danced

in the crosswinds that blew.

As I said goodbye to summer

A gentle breeze lifted the leaf

Off my hand and into the sky

And in that silent space

It drifted free

Just like me

Under a watchful, blue eye.

a dawn bird

Daily Prompt: Congregate

via Daily Prompt: Congregate

I recall the word congregate from early childhood and it is forever associated with the church.

DSCN9130.jpgOver the years, my faith has grown stronger but my church no longer has walls.

The word, congregate, means to come together.  A show of unity.  Seagulls do this well.  I often see a white carpet in the car park near the beach in Esperance.

DSCN4076.jpgBut, I seek the one that stands apart.  The one that sets the stage for me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





via Daily Prompt: Constant

For those who do not believe, this post may be difficult for them to understand or appreciate what faith means to someone who does. I don’t judge them.  I hope the feeling is reciprocated.

I have not raised my children to be church going.  I decided to live my faith instead, so they experience it.

Faith is a constant motif in my life.  It is my compass.  My guiding hand.  My comfort.  It brings me joy.

I believe whatever has happened and continues to happen in my life, is a mere piece of a complex mosaic.  It may look distorted to some, and at times, to me.  I don’t know what the Artist’s vision is, but I delight in each fragment that will complete the whole.

DSCN7145There are times my wings are tattered and I can barely hold on.  These are not challenging times.  They are just reminders, at times like this, faith renews my wings.

DSCN8202.jpgAnd it does.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird