Who’s space is this?


She is no bigger than three inches tall and I fell in love with the figurine as soon as I saw it.  She reminded me of my daughter when she was a toddler, always curious, always full of wonder, complete with Pebbles hairstyle.  I just had to buy it.  I found it the other day while decluttering.  I dusted it, reaching tiny spaces with a cotton bud, looked at it and wondered, can I reframe my thoughts of feeling trapped into a feeling of curiosity?

It did start that way but five days in, the idea started to get old, even though I am in my own space.  Trapped because I am only eight days into my self imposed isolation.  I wanted to experience what 14 days of isolation would feel like so I could understand how others feel.  It’s not a nice feeling but reframing constantly, this is an exercise of safety for self and others, brings some comfort and enhances resilience.

In the mornings I feel like I am an animal in the zoo.  The lorikeets watch me through the windows.  The Willy Wagtail goes through a couple of hours of agitation, chit chitting along the windows, and patio, peering at me and buzzing the glass.  I suspect a nest is being built in the mulberry tree.  I experienced the same territorial behaviour two years ago when the bird constantly buzzed me when I went out with laundry.  How tiny they are but at the moment, they are freer than me.  I feel a shift in power and tip toe around my home, making my movements small and slow in submission.

Space is meaningful to me in so many ways.  The space in one’s ‘head’ is specially interesting to me.  Sometimes we create our own zoo of thoughts.  We trap them.  We examine them like they were exotic.  Sometimes we yearn to domesticate them.  Or like the Willy Wagtail, we become territorial about them.  Some we set free and watch them soar, a feeling of relief, a feeling of letting go, like they were ours to set free.  They never were.  They set us free.

I’ve had an idea in my head and would love someone to paint or draw it for me, preferably with charcoal on white paper.  The concept is a simple one.  An open field.  A some visible fence posts.  A single, delicate, barbed wire hanging between the posts.  The art would be called Freedom.  When I think of this concept, I’ve often wondered, which side of the barbed wire do you have to be to experience freedom?

These days, I too am standing on my toes, filled with curiosity thinking about this.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Zoo

Moora, Western Australia

My contracts have been renewed for another year.  End of year is always a time of tension and then relief.  Work does not buy me material things.  It buys me professional freedom to do the kind of work I feel committed to doing, so the relief is always palpable.

One of my last country trips was to Moora, a small town in the North Eastern Wheatbelt, some 160 km (100 miles) from my home.  It has a population of just under 2000 people.  I am yet to see more than twenty people in town in peak hour mid day.  Being farming country, most of the population live away from town.  It is not uncommon for folks to come into town for their appointment having travelled nearly 200 kms.  Children can do a round trip of 100 kms twice a day when travelling in a school bus.  These are hardy, community minded folks.

Check in for my accommodation at the local caravan park is done at the local petrol station!  In such an unassuming town the surprise for me is one of the local cafes and the pub, The Drovers’ Inn.

DSCN9800-2.jpgAt the end of the main street that has no more than ten shops I think, is the pub (on the right).


DSCN9799The Drovers’ Inn, circa 1909, is something out of a movie set.  I learnt the hard way.  To buy a drink, avoid the bar when it is shearing season!  The Bottle Shop entrance on the right with the discreet blue sign is a better bet!  The meals here are amazing.

Around the corner from the Bottle Shop is the entrance to the dining room.  It is opulent indoors and the first time I entered this place I was taken aback.  Now that I am a regular visitor here for meals I aim to get more photographs of the building next year.

The counter is made from wood and curved and belted with this brass decoration that goes all around it.

I just love it!

Across the railway track is the local cafe with a French name and serves French food with Edith Piaf’s wonderful voice infusing the atmosphere.

The cafe has been doing well.  It’s so good to see this in a small town.  It has moved to bigger premises.  This is only part of the extended shop.  There were too many people around and I didn’t want to invade their privacy but I’ll get more pictures next time.  I just love the chandeliers!

The drive to Moora is something I enjoy.  Being in the heart of the Wheatbelt and big road train country, there are huge chicanes that brings out my inner rally driver when I’m not stuck behind slow moving farming equipment.   With my playlist on loud, this is a trip I’ve come to love.  I’m so thrilled it will continue for another year.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Freedom

Brought to you by the letter F

My daughter has always been a creative, adventurous, curious soul.  She would bop to music holding on to the sofa before she could walk.  Always wanting to be busy, I would put the TV late afternoon to hear the welcome words “…. and brought to you by the letter ….”.  We would both enjoy half an hour of quiet time.  This became a pattern and once the baby arrived, in case I forgot the program was to start (in the days before programs were on loop), I would put the TV on a few minutes earlier.  One day to my utter dismay I heard her yell out in frustration, “scumbag!”.  “Where on earth did you learn that!” my immediate response and reprimand.  She wasn’t able to tell me.  Days went by and I found myself catching a few minutes on the sofa myself.  She snuggled near me and we waited for Sesame Street.  But before her program, we caught the tail end of a political program with our then Prime Minister in full flight during question time.  A volley of “scumbag” flew across the parliamentary debate.

Around the age of four at dinner time, as was our routine, I asked her about her day.  She happily disclosed she had a great day but day care staff told her, she wasn’t allowed to say “*#ck” any more.  Her father and I put down cutlery and stared at her in horror, saying in unison, “What do you mean anymore?”  Followed by where did you learn the word, how long have you been saying this!  “My friends” and “always” was her casual response.

I have no objections to swearing.  Put me in Perth traffic, and I can turn the air blue.  It is an emotional expression.  It is how words are used, and by whom, and when that concerns me.  I’ll share what I mean.

Australia is known for its ancient art rock paintings.  One of these places is the Burrup Peninsular, north of Perth.DSCN8679.jpgAbout 30 km out of Karratha in mining country, the Burrup Peninsular is a pretty special place, especially at sunset.  It is also a place of controversy with the gas exploration near by.DSCN8670.jpgI’ve been here a few times but mostly seek sunset near the water.  One evening we decided to take a walk instead.  With light was fading and with no torch, although my travelling companion was more adventurous, I was not keen to walk back to the car in the dark.  So it was a short stay among the fearsome hot rocks.DSCN8677.jpgThe art here is thousands of years old, some newer (1800s).  I felt a deep sense of reverence in this ancient place.  This place did not have the prominence of prime time TV slots.  It did not vie for attention with the glorious sunset.  Yet, it captivated my attention and my spirit.  It quietened me and put me in a meditative space.  It was a library of life, how it was lived, by the hunters and gatherers.  It emitted a message.  The understanding of it, was mine to keep in the moment, interpret later, and pass on.  So I am.

If we are open to learning, and most of us are, shouldn’t that alert us to the influences around us?  I know I wasn’t before becoming a parent.  My child raised my awareness.

There is no other time in my lifetime have I felt a such a deep sense of disquiet, as I feel now.  We live in a world of ‘social influencers’ where life is lived through instagram moments.  This is an age where even one’s spoken words can be turned around to imply the listeners got it wrong!  We have arrived at a point where we live in a world of global gaslighting.

The reach of technology is long.  Yesterday I received an unsolicited SMS from a political candidate with rhetoric modelled on the ‘success’ of another businessman who became a ‘leader’.  To say this unsettled or infuriated me, is an understatement.

The written word and art are some of the oldest forms of communication.  We preserve it.  We honour it.  It tells us where we came from.  It influences the future.  It is fragile as life itself.  It is freedom.

And with freedom, comes responsibility.  This is the message I leave for my children.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird







Finding meaning

via Daily Prompt: Complication

“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.” – Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull


Some see seagulls.  I look for them.  And, when I find them, and that’s not hard to do wherever I am, I flick through the pages of the book ‘Jonathan Livingstone Seagull’.  The quote above has never been more meaningful as it is today.

Decades ago, soon after my separation and while at university, I struck up the most unlikely friendship with a fellow classmate.  I was a mother from the suburbs, struggling to project an air of stability for my very young children, when my world had fallen apart.  He would have been a good 15 years younger than me, long blond hair (because he could not afford to cut it) and straight from the pages of the 1960s hippie era when he talked about love and freedom of choice.  He had an air about him.  He cared deeply for things that matter.  When around him, I took deep breaths.

One afternoon we met in the cafeteria.  We bought a meagre lunch and shared it between the two of us.  Still hurting I disclosed to him how overwhelming life was and how I wished I found someone who could fill the void.  I had learned to trust him when I bounced off him.  So I waited while he chewed silently and nodded his head thoughtfully while looking into the distance.  He then held my gaze while responding, “And, when you do, run like hell in the opposite direction!”  I was so confused!  He then went on to explain.  The universe had given me an opportunity to enrich my life.  The void was filled with opportunities.  I had never been whole before but it was attainable and when I achieved it, if anyone entered my life their presence would enhance it.  If and when they left, there would be no void.  I would still be whole.  Once I grasped what he meant, I found what I had, was infinitely more than what I did not.

It is dark as I write.  The kookaburras are suppressing a chortle in their throats somewhere nearby.  I love this moment when I’m home.  I am whole.

I leave in a few hours to pick up a new work commitment in the north.  I’m so looking forward to the opportunity.  Some may regard this as another complication to work-life balance.  Not me.

I’ve learnt to embrace the unknown. It epitomizes where I have always wanted to be.  I am who I want to be.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird




Red Finches

via Daily Prompt: Sympathize

Over the years I’ve managed to develop my own work-life balance.  I’ve reached a stage of contentment in what I do and how I live.  My children say, they have never heard me complain about working.  I don’t believe I’ve ever complained to anyone else.  Why would I?  Every work trip is an adventure.  Yet, some people feel the need to “sympathize” with me.

You see, my camera has opened a new world where I always find joy in the old and new.  If it’s raining, I look for rainbows.  When it is overcast with storm clouds, I know sunrise/sunset is going to be magnificent.  In rain, I find diamonds.  It’s a new twist to the old saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Some memorable moments are more vivid than others, like those spent with red finches in Kununurra, in the far north of Western Australia.  These are my observations.

Red finches seem to be listening to music all the time.  They hop and skip and bop their way on the ground.  In the air, they dive dance.

DSCN9995.jpgThey are almost always in a flock or at least a pair or two.  I’ve watched them for hours and have never observed conflict.  They seem to know, there is plenty of food for all.

DSCN9616.jpgThey go about their life, without a backward glance at raptors.  They live mindfully, in the here and now.

DSCN9702They are curious about the new.

DSCN9699.jpgStop long enough to look at the world around them.

DSCN9701.jpgThey are relaxed, and focused, when they observe.

DSCN9817.jpgAnd, yes, these energetic, beautiful little birds do take time to rest.

Red finches are joyful creatures.  Their values are uncomplicated.  Food.  Freedom.  Community.

Flanked by the major highway and the banks of the beautiful Lily Creek Lagoon, these red finches live an idyllic life, as it was intended.

I do, too.

Until next time

As always,

a dawn bird