One cannot help but watch in alarm the politics of the day around the world as the perceived security of ‘democracy’, is split wide open. The world, it would seem, is becoming more divisive by the hour.
Splitting exposes the core. One can either perceive it as being rotten or within it we can find the seeds for change.
I find it interesting the politics of some nations is focused on a few bombastic individuals whereas the politics of change in another is ‘people power’ driven by youth. The latter gives me hope.
May peace and hope reign in your part of the world today. Be the seeds for, and, of change.
Winter has arrived in my garden. There is a carpet of sodden leaves under the mulberry tree that stir imperceptibly with each gust of winter fury. Rugged up, from indoors, I watched them struggle to move and wondered whether that happens to people too.
I was never someone who didn’t move. I have always been productive but there was a time of losses when my mind was too focused on lesser priorities, like career, which I erroneously thought was for the survival of my family, and me. On reflection, my mind stirred but did not move. I did not survive because of career. I survived because I found new meaning for my existence. Back then … I was meant to be, where I was meant to be. Today I am where I am meant to be. Each time I travel, I am where I am meant to be. Acceptance of this was key, and then the universe opened doors for me.
I move now. I see things I didn’t notice before. My hearing is acute for small sounds. I heard a bird call yesterday while working and went outdoors to investigate. I couldn’t see the bird but I heard it. I now live life with curiosity.
End of financial year is an incredibly stressful time. There is extra work on offer. Invoices have to be submitted by deadline and can only be done once the reports are in, so I’m tied to the computer for long periods of time. My home is in disarray. I have damp clothes drying indoors. I hate this! (But, I refuse to use a dryer). There’s dirty dishes in the sink. My bed is unmade. Where ever I look there is something to be done. I felt overwhelmed. With limited time before I drive out today, I took the best option available to me. I looked outside.
This morning, coffee in hand, I looked at the leaves around the crepe myrtle tree. It bloomed well this year, when I saw the last of the leaves.
I had to go out with camera. On the bleakest of days, the leaves are the colours of sunset.
On a tree full of flowers in spring, I did not notice the foliage. Today I saw they were the last of autumn, with winter following close behind, so I knew I would never see them again. Their time had come.
I had to share a moment with the leaves before the winds blew them away. They will be gone by the time I return home from my trip. When they do, it will be a reminder, all life is lived in seasons. Sometimes, overwhelmingly abundant. At other times, there is starkness. It is in that space of stillness, of inertia, where hope finds a home and leads to ‘movement’. Nature tells us, no matter how bleak a winter, spring, a time of renewal and abundance, will follow.
May you find that space of hope today. This is my gift to you.
Today I stepped into a rabbit hole
falling head first with a silent scream
I landed in a world of chaos
and waded through a pool of hate
as I searched for meaning
in the mire of arrogant righteousness
in the darkest recess of a garden
where nothing else grew
I found a pink rosebud
so I offer this symbol of hope
in solidarity, from me to you.
Dedicated to our neighbours in New Zealand who have lost loved ones and their innocence. May you live in peace and safety again.
I’ve always believed faith is a gift you give yourself but hope is a gift others give you. And, there have been times I was more generous with my gift to self, than accepting a gift from others. Since then I’ve learned, having faith alone can be a closed door and just the opposite of what faith represents.
Hope has a sneaky way of entering one’s life. A gift received unexpectedly, without you knowing it is a gift. Soon you find, it is something you cannot live without. It came to me gift wrapped in brown paper. Innocuous. I opened it up. I’m glad I did. It seemed a good place to start and I found it in the wonderful philosophy of Marie Kondo, the queen of declutter who promotes ‘keep what brings you joy’. I took the declutter philosophy and adapted it to a lifestyle choice. It transformed the way I live. I now travel light. I live with joy.
My garden is a place of joy. Sometimes it is barren, sometimes not, but in all its states, it is like a friend. Always there. Non-judgemental. Forgiving. Offering surprises when I need them most.
Being time poor I’ve had the same gardener for over 16 years. He’s inextricably linked to my garden. He’s elderly and comes by just for a few $ of pub money. He enjoys pottering around comfortable in the space he creates. Like an adorned tree, his face lights up at Christmas when I give him a bottle of his favourite whiskey, and I look forward to his heartfelt thank you that accentuates his unmistakable Mancunian accent. An avid fan of English football, he likes to share his enthusiasm when his team plays. I give him more than a few minutes of my time because I know talking about his footy team, brings him joy. I might add, I know nothing about sport but manage to wing it with him!
There are some flowers I love. Pansies and violas are some of them. I love how they look hand painted and when they bloom I’m always nearby. Instead of being disappointed when they are past their prime, I look forward to their season again.
It’s raining this morning and cool, too cool. A tee shirt seems inadequate. I have to remind myself we are in the middle of summer. But the contrast between winter and summer spurned me to write and immerse myself into a moment that integrates past and present.
I recalled this morning a moment that stays vivid in memory. I had returned from one trip to a garden that was nearly barren. There were no favourite flowers to be found. I didn’t want the company of the vivid geraniums. Emotionally spent from a challenging trip, I wanted something more delicate to bounce off how I felt. From the corner of my eye I saw a pansy growing between rocks. If there was ever a message of hope, this was it. It brought together what I knew to be true in life. Along with faith, one has to have imperishable hope in one’s emotional tool kit.
A raindrop fell today it found the driest place to land and filtered down the earth past pebbles, stones and sand The raindrop searched for a single seed in the dirt, dormant and dry invisible, unseen except to The Gardener's eye The seed did not know the purpose it lay passive in parched land unquestioning why placed there by The Gardener's steady hand. The Gardener knew when the rain came the season would be right the raindrop would seek the seed the one He buried in the night The raindrop relentless in search found the seed, the dormant one it reached in reconciliation and the seed, reached for the sun.
Some people experience feelings of depression in winter. My experience is different. I don’t experience depression but I do feel a bit pensive towards the end of the year.
This year is no different. A few hours ago I needed something to lift my spirit. The picture above did this. It was taken at Gantheaume Point in Broome some years ago. It is one of my favourite pictures. I felt good looking at the photograph but it wasn’t enough. I went looking for books and found one by Robert Fulghum, one of my favourite authors, on the book shelf. Gosh! when did I last go into my front study? Being home for a few days makes me feel like I’m walking through a haunted house.
I’d like to share one of Robert Fulghum’s quotes with you.
“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.”
It is joyous and always brings a smile on my face. My wish for you today is that it offers you the same experience.
It is Friday night. A winter’s night. Rain is lashing outside with the intermittent hiss and spray of hail. I’m rugged up but still cold, so I had a novel thought. I’ll conjure up spring.
My colleague from the north sent me an email today. “Bring your camera”, she said, “the flowers are out”. I can’t wait to see them! I know what a feast for the eyes wildflowers can be here in spring. I had a glimpse of this last week when I was north, so I’ll share them with you while it rains.These tiny everlastings were flowers within flowers. Thousands of these roadside.I thought they were exquisite.This was a tiny flower. The sand gives some perspective to the size.Then there were succulents.Were these past their prime? Still beautiful, I thought.And carpets of these succulents, too, along the sand hills, ocean side.The wattle has a distinctive perfume. Like, honey.Vivid colours in harsh country.There were thousands of these along the coast too.This was one of my favourites. There were carpets of these, yes, acres of flowers, but this one caught my eye. It seemed to support a whole colony.
When driving these flowers look like splashes and spills of colours in an otherwise beige landscape. I’ve found it pays to stop and look closer. I’m glad I did, because with the din of a wild winter outside, I’m able to share with you my spring.
I tried to leave home before the storm hit. The weather bureau predicted it was severe and one of two such storms in a given year. The message was simple. “Batten down!” For once, the prediction was correct. The rain, a deluge, forced me off the road and forced me to seek shelter at a petrol station off the highway, as did the 100 km/hour high winds. I got to Bunbury just before it got too dark.
This sunset at Back Beach in Bunbury, did, however, salvage the day for me. It was cold. It was wild. It was magnificent.The storm passed over night. The next day I went to Big Swamp after work. There seemed to be more swamp hens than I’ve ever seen before. I love them! Usually shy, this one was bold and sounded a raucous warning of my presence.The path to the water is decked with winter colours.The purple pea flower was prolific winding over shrubs and trees.I’m not sure what this plant is called but it is unusual. Flowers grow on stalks that are on both sides of the leaf.
I returned home with the knowledge, it is spring next month. Until then, one can only hope, rain means more wildflowers this year. My work will be taking me to them. I can’t wait!
This boab tree stands solitary at Town Beach in Broome, in the far north of Western Australia. It is a place I love to visit. I enjoy it better, on my own. It is possibly the only place in Western Australia where I can totally zone out and forget everything else. My mind and body needs this, from time to time, so I visit here as often as I can.
I love coming to Town Beach for the sunrise over Roebuck Bay. As it is usually hot and humid in Broome, it is always a battle to keep the lens clear as one is instantly blinded by humidity clouding it.
Other people come here too but stand facing the Bay, waiting for the rays to burst through. Once the drama is over, they turn their backs and walk away.
The boab tree grows slowly. Some are ancient, hundreds of years old. There is a certain something about it that is irresistible. Some people are drawn to them, including me.
I have a colleague who never walks away from a boab tree without touching it silently. The interaction looks so respectful, almost sacred, I tend to avert my eyes, to give her privacy.
This tree is young. The girth is slender. A youthful tree. Perhaps, full of hope rather than wisdom. I often think it needs a warning sign displayed for all to see. “Touch it! And, your life will change!”
“She refused to say goodbye, It had a finality. A brutality. It was a point of reference. It had the power to define what was before it and all that came after. So she found a way to say goodbye, framed within a eulogy to friendship. After all, memories are meant to keep one warm, make one smile and soften the ragged edges. Or do they?
Suddenly, the uncertainty caught her off guard. She shivered. Facing the monstrous truth, her face crumbled.
She was child again.”
The above is an excerpt I wrote during an impromptu exercise. It had special relevance to a moment in my life. (I now realise, when put into perspective, yes, a moment of one’s life).
Since that point of reference, the sentiments in the excerpt reflect my feelings at sunset each day. It’s an ambivalent moment for me.
Like a child with a toy, I’m always reluctant to let go, even though I know dawn will start the cycle again.