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

About kindness …


No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.  Aesop

My work schedule has been so disrupted in the last six weeks with other personal appointments.  When I did work, I threw myself into it to keep my mind busy.  I haven’t been taking care of my inner self and kept pushing harder.  It has come at a cost and I realised this today.  I have been short tempered and alternating between dismissive and demanding of my loved ones.  Not a good feeling!

I carried this knowledge with me all morning and my steps grew wearier by the moment.  I had to go to the shopping centre and quite spontaneously thought I’d buy some clothes while I was there.  I didn’t really need them.  Yes, the old retail therapy instant feel-good option.  But I do believe people’s paths cross for a reason and none more so than today.

When I paid at the counter, the lady asked me the usual question, “Are you with the X club”.  Another sales pitch coming on I thought with irritation, she looked up my name on the computer and then looked at me with surprise.  She asked me about my line of work.  I was guarded in my response.  Then she told me, I had done some work with her little boy and that she and her family remembered me over the years.  That was 13 years ago.  He’s a young adult now and studying towards a profession.  She told me she can still remember me because I worked with “kindness” and was “gentle” with him.  I was really touched by what she recalled and her memory was vivid.

Driving home I realised I was emotionally fatigued and what I was missing was compassion and kindness to self.  So I went out and bought some flowers.  Beautiful, vibrant, purple iris.  The flowers lifted my spirit and they are a luxury because I’m rarely home.  They will probably wilt before I return but it felt good to have them on the table.

I guess when there are no other options available to us, a little self-compassion and kindness goes a long way.  If it generates good memories for others, why can’t we remember to do this for ourselves?

Enjoy your weekend and may a random act of kindness come your way.  And, if it doesn’t you always have the option to be kind to yourself.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Options

When one helps another ….

DSCN9526.jpgOne of my favourite proverbs is “When one helps another, both are stronger”.  I believe it is a German proverb.  The picture above illustrates this.  I’m told these birds bead together, wing to wing, to appear larger to raptors.  If birds help each other, have humans lost the art and science of helping?  I don’t believe so.  The following story gives me hope.

I work in what is broadly called ‘the helping profession’ but there are strict parameters to what I do and how.  Increasingly, I’ve come to the realisation, anyone who is in the business of providing a service to another, is in the helping profession.  One does not need years of study and a degree to do this.  Working in rural and at times remote places, I no longer am anxious about getting ill.  I have had three episodes of illness in all the years I’ve travelled and in each instance, people have shown nothing but kindness.  Today let me share something with you …

A few months ago I disembarked from a horrendous flight.  It was winter, the winds were strong and the plane small.  I could not choose my seat and was near the engine.  I sat curled up, recoiling from the noise and the storm for two hours.  As I came down the stairs, I felt a breathtaking pain in my arm.  I dismissed it and when the luggage arrived in the shed (yes, it was that kind of airport!), I bent down to pick up my case and found I had no strength in my arm.  The pain, too, was still there.  I knew it was not a heart attack.  I knew it was not a stroke either.  I stayed calm and went looking for a pharmacy for good ole Deep Heat and paracetamol.

Too unwell to eat, I went to bed early and woke around 1 am.  Deep Heat had not taken the edge off the pain.  The pain, now making me ill.  I called the emergency health line, the nurse triaged me and then directed my call to a doctor.  We talked at length and he was satisfied, I didn’t need an ambulance but he suggested I see a doctor the next day.  To see a GP these days in the city, one has to predict illness about four days in advance.  I also know an appointment in rural areas where services are limited, can be weeks.  I didn’t like my chances.

Morning came, I found a doctor not two minutes from my hotel.  I rang their number at 7:30 am just checking to see if they were operational.  To my surprise they open the clinic early morning.  The clinic reception staff listened to distress and advised me she would fit me in immediately.  The next challenge was getting dressed.  Impossible!  To my utter surprise I had a swelling over my shoulder and collar bone.  That explains it, I thought, I’ve broken my collar bone.  I threw a shawl over my top and headed for the doctor.  Easier said than done!

The doctor’s rooms were impossible to find.  Often in rural areas, people describe an address because replacing street signs seems redundant.  People know where everyone lives and everything is.  After half an hour of driving in extreme distress, I finally realised when the receptionist said “in front of the shops”, she meant adjacent.  This is only after she volunteered to stand outside and wave me down the main street.  I got out of my car, and walked towards her.  She saw my distress and gently put her arms around me and guided me in.  She ushered me into a room and away from a waiting room filled with patients.  As I tried to compose myself we chatted briefly and I disclosed I was visiting for work.  She sat holding my hand and said firmly, “You have no one in town.  I’m not leaving you alone”.  She and I knew, she didn’t have to do this, but she did.

The sequelae to this event was a non-event.  X-rays, hospital visit etc came up nil.  I later found out I had an extraordinarily severe muscle cramp, probably from being tense flying in a storm!

That event is nearly forgotten.  I have flown many times since then, and recently found myself back in the town again.  I bought some flowers and a box of chocolates and requested to see the lady who helped me.  She was seated in the back of the office.  I didn’t think she would recognise or remember me, but she did.  I gave her what I had brought with me and she protested, “no, no, I was just doing my job”.  I told her, “Maybe, but you did your job with kindness”.

As I head out yet again with just an overnight stay at home, I’m packing this story with me.  The woman’s words of kindness, a reminder, we are never alone.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


A gentle dove, came my way


I walked around the garden this morning and found I was wrong the other day.  The little nest I had found previously did not belong to a honeyeater, it belongs to the pair of spotted doves that live in my backyard.  They are now a family of three!

They reminded me of a gentle dove that came my way recently …


On one of my  trips, I disembarked from the plane and realised I was unable to pick up my light camera bag.  A sharp pain and loss of power in my arm took me by surprise.  As the hours progressed I was incapacitated.  With my neck and shoulder grotesque with swelling and pain every time I moved, I was convinced I had broken my collar bone.  I sat up all night and waited for day break to see the doctor.  If I thought I had been through a nightmare, I was wrong, the worst of it awaited me in the morning as I hadn’t anticipated the challenge of dressing.

I slipped off the bed gently then proceeded to dress, muscle memory taking over my movements.  I had to stop immediately.  Befuddled by pain I had to develop another strategy and, mindfully, engage in a new set of motor planning sequences.  It took me the best part of an hour to do what I usually do in 30 secs flat.  I was dressed!  I was elated!  Fortunately, the X-ray came back clear.  I had hurt myself, but how and when, remained a mystery.  I had time to rest and recovered well.

I was in a small town where people didn’t know me.  More importantly, I didn’t know any of the medical services and was lost in town trying to find them.  I felt alone in my hour of need.  Yet, where ever I turned for help, a stranger came to my aid.  When I got to the doctor’s surgery I was in tears of frustration and pain.  The receptionist took me to a room for privacy, gave me a drink of water, held my hand and said she would stay with me until a nurse arrived.  She didn’t have to do this.  This came from her gentle heart.

Today, reflecting on the kindness of strangers fills my heart and home with light.  I believe, in a time of need, it is the gentle touch of human hands that makes a difference.  Perhaps this comes from my upbringing.  I was raised to believe, one cannot repay kindness.  One passes it on.  I strongly believe, what the receptionist gave me, is something she had experienced herself, at some stage of her life.

May you have an opportunity today, to comfort another.

Until next time

a dawn bird



Kindness of strangers

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

I was headed to a town close to Lake Thetis, some 200 km north of Perth.  I had researched it and was keen to visit.  It is famous for the living marine stromatolites, considered to be ‘living fossils’, some thousands of years old.  It is off the beaten track and the first time I visited, I stayed in the car park and was not game enough to walk around on my own in isolation.  The next day curiosity got the better of me.  I ventured out and started to walk down the path.  A few hundred metres down and edge of the Lake is a viewing deck and I was enjoying the moment alone when I saw four men walking towards me.  I had no way to avoid them.  It is one path way in and out.  As they approached in high viz clothing I realised they were probably interested in what was out there, like me.  But I was still uneasy, with the isolation of the place making me jumpy.  Like me they stood around taking pictures.  I waited for them to move on.  I watched them until they disappeared towards the car park before walking to my car.  When I got there I realised they were sitting in their van.  The first thought I had was “They should have left by now.  Why are they waiting!”

I had to walk past their van to my car.  It’s funny how a white van can conjur up the worst case scenario.  I felt a frisson of anxiety creep in.  A tiny rivulet of perspiration trickled down my back.  I hoped I looked like I walked with confidence, and got into my car.  The men then backed out their van but not before giving me a smile and wave.  In that moment I realised they may have been concerned for me, and waited until I returned to the safety of my car.

I’ve returned many times to Lake Thetis.  I love the place.  The special ecology makes it almost sacred.  I’ve enjoyed many a quiet moment here.  DSCN7024.jpgI love the sound of my hollow footsteps as I walk down the ‘gang plank’ to the viewing area.DSCN0004.jpgThe stromatolites look like giant cow pats.  I come here for the bird life too.DSCN9988.jpgOn one trip the white faced heron was my muse.DSCN7068.jpgSuch elegance!DSCN7071.jpgAnd simple lines!DSCN9997And in the distance, the large cormorant seemed almost fluffy, in comparison.

It has been a few years since that incident.  The kindness of those strangers I remember well.  After all my travel experiences, I know traveling alone is generally pretty safe.

I’m not risk taking as such but the thrill of photographing something new can sometimes lead me astray!  So I continue to rely on the kindness of strangers and bring photographs home to share with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird