The stars in my galaxy …

thumb_IMG_0808_1024Although we did not eat our Christmas meal at my home this year, I still enjoyed trimming the tree.  Some traditions are worth maintaining I felt because this Christmas was one of surprises.

About a month before Christmas, Daughter introduced me to veganism, not for political reasons, but as a lifestyle choice.  We went to a few vegan restaurants and I found the food really tasty.  I thought I could never give up cheese but surprisingly I’m not missing it that much especially over the holiday period which should have been a challenge.  I’ve adapted to almond milk and don’t drink as much coffee as I usually do.  I’ve had negligible amounts of meat, seafood and cheese without the discomfort of wanting more but I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to sustain it when travelling, as closely as I am, when at home.thumb_IMG_0817_1024
Our Christmas celebrations at Son and DIL’s (daughter in law) home was amazing.  She has been a vegetarian since she was in her early teens.  That truffle mac cheese with herb topping was delicious!  Everything else was plant based.  She was a star this year.
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Daughter (aka my wild child) is going through an eco and vegan phase.  (She has also discovered KonMari!  Wonders never cease!).  She wrapped all our presents in remnant cloth pieces.  Another star is born!  DIL will use the material in costumes that she sews during the year.  Daughter also delighted in giving us a ghastly salt and pepper set that she picked up in Mexico, the same for each household, because she said between peals of laughter, “everyone should get at least one crap present at Christmas!”.  thumb_IMG_0826_1024.jpg
Daughter also tells me a Bloody Mary is one of those drinks that one can start the day with, and not be judged!  So I made a jug of this with fresh produce and started my day.

So this Christmas there were no food comas.  Just a feeling of satiation.  Of giving and receiving love and … a jug of Bloody Mary!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Star

The tradition of Christmas …

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Christmas will be different in my home this year.  My son and his wife, the newlyweds from earlier this year, are hosting the family Christmas meal.  It is strangely quiet in my home.  Usually I’m in the throes of a three day cooking fest but not this year.  We will have a family meal at my place in the first week of 2020 when my daughter’s partner is home from his FIFO (fly in fly out) offshore work.

Christmas in my home is all about family, about laughter, food and being together.  I usually give one of the young adults a joke or riddle book or a board game and against the background of loud laughter, I put the finishing touches to the meal.  This year I’m relaxing and will be relaxing at the couple’s home tomorrow.  I’m slowly giving up the reins for the young adults to carry on tradition.  There is a special joy in this transition as they emerge and become who they are meant to be.

After all the decades of living in a country where Christmas is celebrated in summer, I still yearn for a cold Christmas.  It is a fond memory from childhood in India.  We would each hold a candle skirted in cardboard paper, while attending Midnight Mass outdoors under freezing clear night skies.  The emphasis on gifts was minimal.  But, there was a huge focus on visiting family and friends between Christmas Eve and the Feast of Epiphany in January and that tradition continues to date in my life here in Australia.

This year the gift giving in my home is remarkable for reasons I’ll share with you.  I  hate shopping centres.  The crowds, the parking woes, the queues.  The trolleys filled with useless gifts generates a sense of despair in me.  I hate it all.  So from a very young age I would encourage my children to give me a list of what they wanted and I would choose something from it.  I would avoid browsing and I liked that.  As they grew older, their taste in gifts changed as one would expect and I had to accommodate their preferences.

My beautiful daughter, who embraces life with unfettered enthusiasm, has always asked for two tickets to the music festival which takes place in January.  This has been the only gift she has requested for about ten years now.  As much as I disliked her attending the festival where recreational drugs are rife, she would assure me she would be there for the music alone.  (Yes, I know!) I would give in, stay awake until she would text me she was home again.  Sigh!  This year she requested pots and pans.  Pots and pans! She and her partner moved into their own home earlier this year and nesting, it would seem.  He would love a voucher for the local hardware shop so he can get on to landscaping the backyard, she tells me.  I’m still reeling from the shock!

My son on the other hand loves video games and I dislike buying those too.  There’s so much more to do in life than a controller in hand, I say to him.  But it is part of their social life where a game night means visiting each other, ordering food in and playing games.  This year he and his wife wanted a dinner set.  He told me they have an assortment of plates and cups. “We would love a dinner set where everything matches, mum!”  This heartfelt request from a gamer!

So I’ve returned from a day’s shopping with pots and pans and a dinner set and a voucher for Bunnings.  It would seem that the young adults have become adults while I was sleeping.

This year has been different on many levels.  I can feel my world changing.  At times listing, at times balanced, at times blurry, but there’s an air of celebration in my world.  An undeniable feeling of anticipation and hope that the birth of the Christ Child symbolizes.

Whatever your belief or faith, may you experience celebration in your world, too.  May your heart and home be filled with the love and laughter of family and friends.  This is my wish for you.

Merry Christmas and peace!

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Tuesday – Candle

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day

DSCN2673.jpgIt’s Mother’s Day today and I’m making a late start after a quiet morning.  As a family we are taking a rain cheque and will celebrate the day at another time when everyone is at home.  The quiet time today has also given me the opportunity to think about what this day means to me.  Like all parents, over the years, I developed my own views on being a mother.

For me motherhood is a chosen way of life. At its core is conscious living. It is a constant testing of who you are as a person and the choices you make. It is active role modelling like no other.  It is a tree that gives shade. It is a flame that torches reality or a pin that bursts a bubble. It is a balm that soothes pain. It is a neon sign that says, “I’m here” and it is bigger and brightest during the darkest night, when the way is lost for mother and child. It is the loudest cheerleader that says, “I knew you would make it”. It is a shield that says, “I’m prepared to die for you”. It is a confessional where all is forgiven. It is the gateway to learning forgiveness that reads, “we all make mistakes, let’s start again”. It is a promise (or threat!), “I’m by your side, whether you like it or not, now and always.” It is a human embrace like no other.

Being a mother is the role I value and cherish most in my life and one that I wish to be remembered for.  Without my children’s father I would not be a mother today, so I am grateful to him for that.  And, I’m grateful to my children for giving me the experience of motherhood every single day.  It is a yearning from early childhood that has never diminished.

Happy Mother’s Day where ever you may be.  May your day be blessed with love and laughter.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Letter to my son

 

 

When you and C set the wedding date it was a special moment for the families.  Unfortunately, my inner mother-in-law zilla surfaced as well and my mantra “You’ve got to have this, you’ve got to have that … it’s a wedding after all!” became the norm for me.  You were patient and eventually had to curb my enthusiasm in a steady, quiet voice, “Mum, it’s our day, the best gift you could give is be happy for us on the day”.  You went on to add the wedding you and C had in mind, was one of fun and laughter and one that represented you as a couple best.  You had been to many weddings before and did not want a ‘cookie cutter’ event.  We reached a compromise on the food and drinks and you and C and your ‘bridal committee’ took over the rest.

You let me organise the rehearsal.  I was going to have a champagne brunch at home where I had carte blanc but I had to squeeze in one last work trip, so we decided to go to Crowne Plaza for a meal instead.  It was such a lovely lunch and I got to meet some of your friends I had not met before.  Everyone decided to have a small bet as we walked through the casino.  I got caught up in the moment.  I fed the machine $20 and it sang ding, ding, ding.  It was the joke of the day because you know I loathe gambling.  I was so embarrassed that I refused to go to the cashier and carried the coins in my bag.  Foolish me!  Fifty five one dollar coins is a heavy load and I ended up with a cramped arm that night!

I’m not sure why I was concerned about the wedding plans.  You and your friends were part of the anime and cosplay community since university days.  You had planned big conventions before including organising everything for visiting international stars.  After considering all the usual wedding venues, you and C wanted the reception at Perth Zoo.  The private lawn area is beautiful and under the boughs of tall trees with constant birdsong.  With all the green, you decided to surprise your bride with a floral backdrop.  It was just the right choice instead of all white flowers.  You declined the offer of a professional photographer because it was “a plugged wedding” and everyone was invited to take pictures and upload to a special social media hashtag.  There was a Bridal Bingo for the photographs uploaded.  There were selfies galore at the wedding and much laughter.  You chose to have an Instamatic corner and invited guests to take a polaroid picture and pin it on a board with a personal message.  I watched the fun your friends had with the polaroids pics.  I have looked at all the pictures and selfies online and read their remarks.  You and C knew best.  Judging from the comments, your guests are still raving about your wedding, how unique it was and what a fun time they had.thumb_IMG_4939_1024.jpg
The choice of celebrant was a bone of contention between us.  I saw the solemnity of the moment.  You and C resisted having a stranger step into the role.  You both wanted the moment to be inclusive and reflect who you are as a couple.  The celebrant was your friend and former roommate who knew both of you best.  Yes, he was hilarious and perfect for the tone of the wedding.  Your friends roared with laughter, clapped and cheered as you both took your first steps into a new journey.  It was what your friends expected.  You knew this better than me!thumb_IMG_4985_1024
Indoors the only white material at this wedding was the table linen and overhead canopy.  The only formality was the bridal table.  The rest of the evening was as you planned it.  It was perfect.  It reflected the fun child like spirit you both enjoy.thumb_IMG_5008_1024.jpg
This was one of the compromises you as a couple graciously allowed me.  The food was a mix of cocktail canapes and high tea, with a generous drink tab.   I’m still baffled how we all felt so satiated despite everything being miniature.  I am even more baffled how a very young crowd consumed less than 10% of the drinks tab and still had the best time!  Your friends are awesome!  I have never seen such a big crowd of twentysomethings enjoying themselves while taking selfies, dancing, videoing, and thoroughly enjoying being in the moment, cameras in hand.  It left your father feeling and looking bemused.thumb_IMG_4975_1024.jpg
When you stated it was everything fairy tale.  I envisioned something quite different! thumb_IMG_4976_1024.jpgThe stickers and giveaways were funny and made by your talented artist friend. thumb_IMG_4997_1024.jpgI was confused and could not envision what C had planned for the centre pieces.  Each table centre piece was a theme from childhood favourites – Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast etc.  It was such fun that the guests went table to table to check them out instead of staying seated.   All made by C herself, sourcing items from vintage shops.  They were better and more fun than the baby’s breath and peonies I had envisioned.
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As C lost her mother at a young age and was raised by “Granny”,  I thought we would go shopping for a dress without a budget and enjoy  ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ moments.  But no, C wanted to make her own dress and wanted something she could recycle.  Her dress was vintage lace that she unpicked entirely and created her own.  She wanted to be a princess for a day.  She did and it suited her personality.  No one would have expected her to wear anything else.  Her hair tendrils were in her late mother’s favourite colours. I cried when I saw her walking up the aisle to you.

I won the round with the cake!  “You can’t have a wedding without a cake!” I lamented and you two resisted saying no one eats cake these days.  In the end C made her own cake and refused a conventional one that would have cost me $$$.  I’m so glad you had one.  The crowd roared when you cut it.  thumb_IMG_4960_1024.jpg
C’s tears flowed freely in the arms of an internet friend from Sydney.  A surprise you kept secret.  This moment of joy, is yours too.thumb_IMG_5012_1024
So it is all over now.  Life begins for you and your wife.

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As I cut the apron strings there are a few things you ought to know.  I learned to be a better mother because of you.  Never wanting to be separated from me, was a challenge for us both.  Then came the fussy choices about food, another challenge for a mother who loved to cook.  I dug deeper and deeper and found a special joy in being a mother to you.  I found a reservoir of patience, understanding and love that I never knew was there and I access it to this day.  Raising you on my own should have been a bigger challenge but it hasn’t been.  You exemplify what is good about youth.  You are forward thinking, inclusive, community minded, mindful about resources and have a vision for a better world.  And above all, you value family.  Your dad, sister and I have been privileged to share life’s journey with you.  The lead up to your wedding and on the day itself, I realised, there are times when a parent needs to step back and let your children be who they are.  This realisation was a joy equalled to watching you take faltering steps in your first pair of shoes.

If your wedding is anything to go by, may your journey in life as C’s husband, be filled with laughter, love, fun and surprises.  Be happy.  Be together.  Be forgiving.  Be healthy.  And, may you both always be surrounded by the love and laughter of family and friends as you did on your wedding day.

Your loving mum

And, yes,

a dawn bird

 

 

A wedding in the family

It’s the morning after the reception.  The bridal party is ‘debriefing’ in the other room.  My home is filled with voices and laughter.  I’m sipping champagne as I write.

Do marriages extend families or divide them?  Having straddled two cultures for most of my life, I’m inclined to borrow the best from both cultures I’ve been exposed to.  I now have a daughter-in-law and it fills me with emotion.  I am committed to loving her, as if she is my own.  A special privilege and one I don’t take lightly.thumb_IMG_4967_1024.jpgIt was a joyous occasion.  The best thing I did was step out of the picture and let the night be what the young couple envisaged for themselves.  By all accounts, it was everything and more what friends expected of them.  There were no dramas as seen in ‘reality TV’.  Just a lot of laughter, at times chaos, and oh yes, the rings were left on the bench at home.  There was a quick reaction from others who offered theirs, and most guests thought it was part of the lighthearted fun!  It wasn’t!  The celebrant (a friend of the couple) covered the gaffe with aplomb!thumb_IMG_4938_1024There were tiny personal touches like the confetti made from cut out fallen leaves.DSCN9679.jpg
The bride looked stunning. thumb_IMG_4962_1024.jpgMuch like me, she believes fairy tales can come true, so the theme of her dress was princess.  She bought a vintage dress, handpicked it and created a dress she always dreamed of.  She floated down the grassed aisle like she walked on clouds.thumb_IMG_4980_1024.jpgAnd, yes, there was cake!  Also made by the bride.  DSCN9695.jpgMy daughter was part of the group made up of “best people”, not gender specific of best man and bridesmaid.  It was a special night that included their father and his current partner.  I’m sure he felt as proud of them, as I felt.  I was even more proud of my son for acknowledging his father’s partner because she has been a presence in their lives for over ten years.  For a brief moment, we were family again, the boundaries set years ago, made seamless by the joy of the occasion.

I believe my family has grown.  Today, I am richer because of it.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Happy birthday, Dr T

Today the father of my children celebrates a special birthday.  Our children and his partner had been planning a celebration for months.  The children went to Bunbury for a special surprise lunch on the weekend.  People from his old workplace and other friends were there too, including his oldest son and his two children.  It was the first time our son met his half brother, their sister instrumental in this memorable moment.  This is something I dreamed about, for the three siblings, to generate a sense of family.

My son also wanted to do something special.  He told his father to memoralise the event, he thought the two of them should build a piece of furniture, so he had something he could cherish.  His father came to Perth earlier this week, they built a game table from scratch.  It is the second piece of furniture they have made together.  Over lunch yesterday I listened to our son talk about the memory of the experience.  His father is due for major surgery early next year.  Our son, it would appear, has taken over the role of main support person.  It made all the past hurt insignificant.

I walked away from a marriage with nothing but holding the hands of little children.  Even on days of struggle, I always believed I had the better deal.  My only caveat was that their father stay in their life.  To his credit, he honoured this while I worked hard for them to know, they were loved by both parents.

Our son is 27.  He does not remember the days when his father lived at home with us.  The marriage broke down when he was under three.

It is easy to rant and rave post divorce about who gets what and why.  I recall the divorce settlement where lawyers spoke for us.  Incensed by their arguments, which I felt disrespected all that was before the breakdown, I walked out.  I made my own choice and declined a more equitable financial settlement.  Despite being a student with limited money and even less time, my thinking was guided by maternal instinct.  I trusted we would survive temporary financial hardship, but long term, the gains of peace, were immeasurable.

So on this day of celebration of his life.  I am thankful to my ex husband for the gift of motherhood.  The gift has been an ongoing experience of learning how to forgive and how to articulate being safe and loved in family.  I believe we both achieved this as parents of little children, now young adults.

To those who struggle with distress, I’d recommend a peaceful resolution.  I’ve found, when we let go of pain, love takes up so much more room in the heart.

So Happy Birthday Dr T.  May you live the coming years in peace, comfort and happiness in the knowledge, your children love and respect you.

DSCN9200Despite our big feet we proved, we can still walk on water.

Acknowledging this, is my gift to you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

An aunt, by any other name …

I’ve been waiting to share my memory of this aunt.  The time never seemed right.  But tonight seems an opportune time, as she was a teacher by profession and today being Teacher’s Day.

She was my mother’s oldest sister who came after two sons in a sibship of ten.  She was beautiful in youth, chiselled features, a twinkle in her eye, long dark hair draped over one shoulder.  She remained that way as she aged.

My aunt had a profound sense of responsibility for her siblings and cared for them like they were her children.  They, in turn, respected her authority.  She was an indulged daughter who was known by her nickname, Baby, by her parents, and later siblings that followed.  As the nieces and nephews came along, she asked us to call her ‘Baby Darling’.  Her reasoning was simple.  She never married and did not have anyone to call her darling.  We accepted this.

Her name tripped off our tongue with easy, “Baby Darling this …”, “Baby Darling that …”.  The memory of this makes the child in me smile.  She had a closet in her bedroom that she kept locked.  It was a treasure trove.  It was always overstocked with perfumes and chocolates, and we crowded around her for the treats she shared generously.  Despite all the beautiful bottles of perfume, I recall she had a strong preference for Tiger Balm for pain.  Imagined or real.

Unlike my mother, who was always immaculately groomed, my aunt spent her day in PJs and slippers.  Her reasoning, was simple.  She was home.  It was her castle where she was queen.  She could do what she liked.  If my mother objected and pleaded with her to dress for visitors, she would say, if they were offended, they could come back when she was dressed … which was never … and then follow this statement with a peal of laughter!  We loved her eccentricity.

She was fiercely protective of her siblings and the extended family.  She was the protector of all secrets.  As teenagers we confided in her with absolute trust.  Our secrets were safe in the vault of her heart.  She giggled like a young girl at our stories of teen love, then she would share little snippets of her love life.

There was a sadness in her life.  It made her eyes sparkle.  Oh! the sweet pain of forbidden, unattainable love, far from being a burden, made her glow from the inside. Tennyson’s words, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”, far from loss, was a triumph that glided her path.

As she walked with us step by step from childhood to teen years and beyond, little did she know, the children at her knee had learnt the best lesson about life.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

The godfather

Before I logged off for the night, I scrolled through my recent photographs, partly because it is raining hard in short bursts and I wanted some memories of warmth.

The photographs I looked at have a special place in my heart.  The landscape is as close as the landscape of childhood.

This is Cockatoo Creek.  It lies below the highway between Broome and Derby.  Bridges in this region often allow one way traffic only.  Cars have to stop to let oncoming vehicles pass.  This is especially daunting when halfway across the bridge, one sees a road train approach!

The Kimberley region had record rainfall last monsoon, so there was plenty of water and billabongs to see.  I have never seen this creek so flooded as I did this trip.  It was brimming with bird life and wildlife, too.

DSCN8892.jpgThis is cattle country in the Kimberley region.  Huge landscape, bigger cattle stations and dangerous roads where cattle roam freely.  At 110 km/hour speed limit, they are a hazard for the novice driver.DSCN9458.jpgA friendly “take care” from the car hire people is usually a good natured warning, “watch out for cattle”.DSCN9462.jpgI particularly love the Brahman cattle.  This picture speaks of home to me.DSCN9466.jpgJuxtaposed with the bird life of the Kimberley, cormorants, glossy ibis and the gorgeous brolga, there’s a certain incongruity here.  I always feel like I’m straddling two cultures.  Ask me which one I love more and I’d never be able to give you an answer.DSCN8894The brolga is one of my favourite birds.  They are large and elegant in movement and flight.  To see them dance is unforgettable.  Oh! the elegance of each stride!DSCN8906.jpgThis time there was even a freshie (freshwater crocodile) or two.  The excitement this caused!  We nearly stepped backwards on to the highway, much to the annoyance of passing traffic who tooted at us impatiently.

Where does my love for all this come from?  It had to be from my godfather, my mother’s older brother.  He was one of five sons.  I’ve written about my mother’s family previously so I won’t repeat the family history again but I will share more about my godfather.  He was our hero in more ways than one.

My godfather never worked in a paid job as far as I’m aware!  He managed to live life on his terms supported by a legacy.  The only job he had in his youth was being called by the government to shoot and kill marauding tigers and panthers that terrorised villagers.  At Christmas my mother’s extended family would meet in the sprawling ancestral home.  At night we, the multitude of cousins, would sleep dormitory style in the great lounge room that we called The Hall.  He would turn off the lights and start telling us stories of his youth.  The murmur of aunts and uncles in the adjacent room added to the tension of trying to hear him.  He would start by speaking softly, as he stalked that tiger or panther until he had it in his sights.  We would wait to hear the sound effects of his loaded gun as he took aim. He would shush us, oh so softly.  We dared not breathe.  Then BANG!  We screamed in unison and sheer terror.  We drowned out the protests and reprimands of the other adults, while he laughed heartily with us as we pleaded, “tell us another story, pleeeeze!”

My godfather married very late in life.  In his 60s I think.  When younger he had a mad crush on a nun.  I can’t remember her name but can see her face so clearly.  She was Anglo Indian.  Her modest habit covered her blond hair but heightened the blue of her eyes.  She ran a local clinic.  My godfather, of course, found himself suffering from every ailment known and unknown to mankind!  But, she was committed to her vocation.  He never had a prayer.

Family memories are precious.  Like all good things, they are meant to be shared.  So I thought I’d share my yarn with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

A tender memory

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I woke this morning feeling dehydrated and before my coffee, reached for the carton of coconut water.  It flooded me with memories.

It is impossible for me to see a beach or palm and not think of my childhood holidays in Bombay (now Mumbai).  Every summer we would look forward to the 19 hour train trip from the heart of India to the coast.  My parents had siblings living there.  We looked forward to being with aunts and uncles and cousins.  I had one favourite aunt who remains vivid in memory.  Still vibrant, she died young in her early 60s.

She was my mother’s younger sister.  The two were very close in a sibship of ten.  My mother often regaled us with her memories of childhood with great affection.  It was always my aunt leading the charge.  Like the time, as a pre-teen, she rolled up straw in a newspaper and attempted to smoke the giant cigarette she made.  Coughing and spluttering, she insisted my mother do the same.  She was the life of any party, the first to sing and dance without inhibition.  She was an athlete, an Olympian.  Her hair was thick and glossy, dark as a raven’s wing in flight.  She brushed it off her face with impatience in one hand and, in the days before it was acceptable in that society for a woman to smoke, a cigarette in the other.  She looked at propriety in the face, threw her head back and laughed at it.  I was mesmerised by her presence.  The world is a quieter place, by her absence.

I remember so much about her but it is the smaller details I remember more vividly.  She was a walking contradiction.  An elegant tomboy is the best description I can come up with.  Her home was styled so beautifully.  I think I developed a love for sculptures from her.  Her sense of fashion was amazing.  She wore bright colours with dare.  Silk saris in turquoise, hot pinks, emerald greens, draped effortlessly.  Despite being a mother of four, she was slender as a reed.

She lived on the first floor of a large, period house right on the beach.  In the monsoon season, the high tide reached the back door, bringing with it coconuts that fell from the palms in the backyard.

This morning I recalled the memory of tucking into the soft, sweet and gelatinous flesh of tender coconuts, still green on the outside.  There is nothing similar to describe it in taste and texture.  One experiences it.

Although she passed away many years ago, her loss is so intense, we rarely speak of it.  When we do, we smile through tears because she is forever young.  Forever irreverent.  Forever fun.  Forever loved.  Forever missed.

Now that’s one memorable legacy to leave behind.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Memories

At the end, all we have is memories.  We don’t re-create them.  We make new ones.  And, sometimes, from the old.  Like left-over food, the creation can be memorable.  I’m settled in my chair, about to enjoy a feast.

thumb_IMG_1403_1024.jpgThe snowdrops in my garden first appear in August.  The anniversary of my father’s passing.  Far from saddening me, the flower, like memories of him, delights the heart.

Today is the birth anniversary of my father.  He and my mother shared a birthday in the month of June.  Their birthdays made our home into a house of celebration.  It was an open house where people came uninvited, dropping in for a meal and drink.  My parents, the ever gracious hosts, would treat each person with unconditional warmth.

My parents were business people.  They managed their world of finances and friendships, with uncompromising integrity.  I feel blessed to have been raised in their world.

IMG_2035.jpgMy father was my David Attenborough.  He showed me the wonders of the world in words and books.  Through his eyes I see softness in ranges and know Nature’s hand can shape and smooth the most difficult terrain.

thumb_IMG_1406_1024Jostled in the air, I have learnt to focus on the sun ray bursting through a storm.

thumb_IMG_2343_1024.jpgI know no fear travelling in desolate outback.  I’ve come to learn, there is beauty in the barren.  There is peace in void.

thumb_IMG_2730_1024.jpgMy steps are measured and mindful because I know there’s more to experience in the journey between A to Z.

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Did my father teach me to think differently at his knee?  I’m not sure but the training certainly came early, much like our beloved pooch who at 12 months will get a toy and pose, Instagram ready!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Better late, than never

via Daily Prompt: Explore

In my twenties I saved madly and went overseas twice a year.  I had few commitments and my budget allowed for this.  I would scan travel brochures, picking out which countries I would visit first.  I travelled most of the places on my list but I have only just started to explore the world we live in.

Early morning in Exmouth I stopped the car kerbside.  To my left was an emu, visible intermittently while she pecked at the scrub, and frustratingly, just out of camera sight.  To my right was the small local cemetery within earshot of the sea.  In this town, a cemetery lives up to what it is perceived to be by those who still breathe.  Finality.  It was still and lonely.

DSCN9774.jpgThere would have been a time in my life when I have would turned tail and run, confronted.  Not this morning.  I felt I had the best company.  The yellow throated miner bird sat still and silent.  Reflective, like me.

DSCN9708.jpgMy galleries and museums are now different.  I look.  Touch.  Feel.  Sniff.  And taste the salt on my lips, and occasionally, cheeks.  Yes, the galleries and museums are more interactive.  I immerse myself.  I don’t want to miss a moment of the experience.

DSCN9682.jpgThese were embedded in rock.  Immovable despite the power of the sea.

DSCN9663.jpgThe tell tale signs of seagull that raided the turtle’s nest along the shore.  What is food to one, is death to another.  The cycle of life.

This Easter was a extra special one for me.  With their partners away, it was just the three of us, my children and me.  (And two eager dogs who wanted to sniff everything within range!).  We chose to sit in the formal dining room.  Their father and I bought the dining suite early in our marriage.  I’m loathe to discard it.  The timber glows.  The shine, is memories.

I listened to my children talk.  They share their lives with each other so easily.  They have conversations.  I have not heard them fight or disagree since their early childhood.  My son has a dry wit.  We are careful not to eat or drink when he’s telling a story, fearful someone will choke.  My daughter’s laughter is like a peal of bells.  She is his ideal audience.

When I travel I explore the world around me.  When I’m home, I explore family relationships with the same searching eye.  What I find is just as pleasing to the senses as a walk along the seashore.  At home the tangibility of the glue that keeps the family together, cannot be photographed.  But I know it will be shared in narratives of, this is how we lived.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my children

via Daily Prompt: Identical

DSCN0526.jpgMy children have taught me, they may have been raised with identical values, but they are individuals.  Each with their own strengths and struggles.  My role is to be aware of this and be the level playing field for them.  I cannot attribute this thinking to my professional training.  Nor can I give credit to how I was raised by my parents.  I have become this kind of parent because I take time every day to visit that inner space, the sanctuary, where I am me.DSCN2508.jpgI’ve found when dazzled by anything en masseDSCN8164.jpgIt is worth the time to stop and look closer.  DSCN7930.jpgThat scrub with white prongs in the distance, has its own delight.DSCN8239.jpgI found these ‘roses’ …DSCN8231.jpgbloom in the harshest environment.DSCN8320.jpgAlthough I avoid orange drinks, sometimes it is worth to stop and gulp.DSCN8277An enamel orchid will continue to shine, under the overhang.DSC_0904.jpgAt dawn the ‘bin chicken’ is equally beautiful with sea as backdropDSCN9797.jpgas it is stepping out of a pond at sunset.DSC_0662.jpgStone hearts may be invisible in people, until you rub them up the wrong way.  The visible ones, left by Nature, are always beautiful because of their vulnerability.  (I photographed this exactly as I found it).

My mindfulness exercises have helped me parent children into young adults who value their individuality.  My daughter has always been a creative person, with a passion for dance and the arts.  The passion was there in infancy.  She danced with her eyes before she could walk.  She has changed and evolved over the years and in her teens, refused to squeeze into the space I thought was best for her.  She has returned.  She is now happy nesting, in the space she created for herself.  We are both happier after me having learned, sometimes the art she appreciates is on her body, and not hanging in a gallery.  My son claims he has inherited all that is good in both his parents.  (Who could ask for more!).  He has grown into a young man with focus on family and the most vulnerable in the community.  So who cares if the only ponytail at the table, belongs to him.  I now accept a tattoo is considered art.  Questioning authority is healthy.  Discussion is not advice.  And, if advice is sought, my children, the young adults, have the right to choose whether they follow it, or not.  Identical core values may be what we share in common, but what is different, is what makes us family.

What I’ve learned, and continue to learn about parenting comes from Nature.  Once the foundation is laid down and core values practiced, it is easier to see the individual shine in the most unexpected ways.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

The Safe

via Daily Prompt: Fact

 

My mother was one of ten children.  Five brothers and five sisters.  Her father had extensive mining and  property interests.  His wife, my grandmother, was 30 years his junior.  He was tall and handsome.  She had high cheekbones and looked haughty.  They made a beautiful couple.  I know this because their sepia photograph is often examined while their love story, a family legend, is narrated with loving pride.  I never knew them.  They died long before I was born.  But my grandmother lives on in my daughter’s smile.

My grandfather indulged his wife.  She had a resident jeweller who lived in one of the houses on their sprawling property.  We, the cousins, all have a collection of my grandmother’s handmade gold jewellery.  Rumour had it, that was just a small portion of her vast collection.

The legacy my grandfather left behind is not one I am proud of.  I am a self-made woman so the concept of people fighting over inheritance baffles me to this day.  But, that’s my earliest memory of extended family of uncles.  The silence at the dinner table between brothers, the teams of lawyers, who left their children and grandchildren, my grandfather’s inheritance, it would seem.

We always met at my mother’s ancestral home for Christmas.  The arguments carried on from the year before.  We, the cousins, either ignored it and created our own memories, or despaired at the futility of it all.

My mother’s oldest sister never married.  She assumed the responsibility of caring for her siblings, after my grandmother died too young.  She was keeper of all the secrets.  Or at least, that’s what she allowed us to believe, while she smiled away enigmatically.

In one of the bedrooms was a steel safe.  It stood about five foot high and three foot wide.  It had a combination lock, the configuration, unknown.  My aunt protected it fiercely and refused to let anyone blow up The Safe, alluding to the cash and jewellery inside.  So unlike some family relationships, The Safe stood rock solid.  And, like family negotiations, it was unmovable.

I remember we were encouraged to conjure up theories of what The Safe held.  We would place our hands on the cold metal, trying to pick up a vibe.  For me, it had to be jewellery!  My grandmother loved gold and jewels.  I’ve inherited her love for pearls, rubies and diamonds.  Emeralds don’t do anything for me at all.  The ‘jewellery gene’ must have extinguished itself.  My children couldn’t care less!

Back to The Safe …

When my aunt passed away, with no one to protect it, there was a swoop on The Safe.  A ‘specialist’ was brought in to cut through the heavy metal.  Vandalism!  My heart aches in memory.  It was the only solid thing in the ancestral home.

That there was treasure held in the cavernous tomb, was an undisputed family truth.  Once blasted open, it turned out to be an “alternative fact”.

The Safe, was empty.

a dawn bird

Almost autumn ..

IMG_1837.jpg

It’s the first day of autumn tomorrow in the Southern Hemisphere.  The days are getting shorter.  I wake to dark.  The early light is softer.  The shadows longer, before they take shape.  Yes, autumn is Nature’s zen time.  A time to let things fall away.

I’m home for a few days enjoying the simple things that life offers before I leave home again.

I’ve had time for a leisurely stroll through markets enjoying the mindfulness of the taste, feel and smell of fresh produce.  Summer lingered in the scent of peaches.  The green herbs still have their zest.  I’ve had time to query when did we change our habits to have a wall of different milks to choose?  Do we really need the mega bulk stores that promote savings if you buy more.  Really?!  I’ve found the only savings I make, is when I don’t buy anything at all.

I’ve had time to take a break and enjoy lunch with my son.  Listening to him talk about his university studies with enthusiasm, a parent could not ask for more.  I’m looking forward to a high tea with his fiancee and my daughter.  Amid girlish giggles, we have been practising holding out our pinky finger, delicately.

I’m enjoying a few days of simple living.  Taking time to talk to neighbours about this and that and nothing at all.  The veggie man in the supermarket, did not avoid me.  I had given him a piece of my mind a while back when I wanted some garlic and found they were labelled “Produce of Mexico” and “Produce of Peru”.  I queried why on earth, when we have market gardeners just down the road.  He proudly showed me the local produce section, yes, it’s tucked away in a corner and more expensive.  The law of supply and demand.

I’ve had time to enjoy roasting tomatoes in garlic and basil, to store in olive oil for a pasta meal, or for a quick hot soup.  I love the vibrancy of the colour and taste.  With crusty bread, it is one of my favourite meals.

When I lived in Canada, autumn was my favourite time of year.  I loved the changing of colours that we rarely find here.

Autumn in Western Australia has a chill to it.  Perhaps, we feel it more acutely because it’s the sudden shift in temperature from the intense summer, to a few degrees cooler.  I’ve come to embrace this.  I know as winter approaches, there will be pots of spicy goulash or beautiful stew to bring the family together.

Perhaps it is an artefact of aging that one comes to appreciate the simple things later in life.  The only regret I have, is not knowing how to appreciate an uncomplicated life, in my youth.

Until autumn

As always

a dawn bird