My teacher, the surfer …

West Beach, Esperance, Western Australia

It is in the moment of falling,
losing grip of that fluid ground
his peripheral vision sharp
as he gazes briefly on those around
still waiting for that wave he caught
lying around,
waiting, while he falls
while he falls, he know he caught the wave boldly
the one they waited for
so he rises again, firm, steady,
boldly determined
on fluid ground once more.

by dawnbird

I love watching and photographing surfers. When I see them in the ocean, they teach me about hope, anticipation, courage, patience and most of all, determination.

So I start my first post of the year wishing that you have the courage to ride that wave because it is only in the falling, that you will know you have done so.

As always

a dawnbird

PS The poem came to me today from a place where I was two months ago which I will write about in the next post.

In response to Daily Word Prompt – Affect

Living with intent

“Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life.” Omar Khayyam

This is one of my favourite quotes.  I wake to this philosophy, never more than I am doing right now.

Along the shore where my world glows, in morning lightDSCN9831.jpg
Sunrise, Jurien Bay, Western Australia

In the forest and scrub, where wild orchids grow, to my delightDSCN9990.jpg
Wild orchid, Esperance, Western Australia

In a deserted street with coffee and canopy, where birds sing notes, high and lowthumb_IMG_5794_1024
Main street, Dongara, Western Australia

At the inlet, tidal dry, where the white heron pauses elegantlyDSCN9101.jpgPort Denison, Western Australia

In those moments, I know this life is just a moment, and that moment, was my life.
May you find your moments today, to live your best life.

Until next time, as always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Tuesday: Intent

© dawnbird (2016-). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material from this site (dawnbirddotnet.wordpress now without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited.

What the eyes see, the heart hears …

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.DSCN7494.jpg
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.DSCN7491.jpg
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.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Invisible, no more …

DSCN7078 2.JPGNature’s depression
that confusion and distortion
descends by stealth at night
sometimes, preceded by warning
take heed, nothing will be familiar
Be wary,
The monochrome of grey
Where all is same but isn’t
Will become the norm
Ignore at your peril
which I did.
It took a brighter sun to break through
It warmed the earth where I stood
in bare feet or in boots
as the fog lifted,
I closed my eyes so I could see
and found,
in those dark days of invisibility
the trees continued to breathe for me.

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge:  Fog

Virtual reality

DSCN7152 2.JPGSunset, Back Beach, Bunbury, Western Australia

Letter to Steve

Grief torched my life in the years before I met you.  You helped me refocus.  You helped me find my voice, my creativity and a sense of purpose.  Five years later, I lost it all in one fell scoop.  The light you brought into my world was too bright.  The memory of your vibrancy made me flinch for years.  I averted my gaze whenever I drove alongside Back Beach.  I buried myself whole into work.  Last night I walked along where you once jogged.  It was magnificent at sunset as it often is.  As I walked I realised you were meant to come into my life for a reason.  I am where I am, because of you.  Today, this is my reality.

I looked for a relationship unsuccessfully with another academic in the years that followed.  It was a natural thing to do, after all, I had been married to one and then met you.  Life is either crazy or just plain contrary.  What followed was so not what I thought it would be.

It was 17 years after your death when I found photography.  It helped me see the world around me in new ways.  What was familiar was unfamiliar, and then familiar again.  I found shapes, patterns, colours and movements.  A rhythm. I started to write again.   I looked for clouds and rain, because, together, they meant rainbows and not a banal weather report that dictated my work schedule.

My work life is nothing you and I could ever have envisaged.  I don’t present papers around the world like you did but I do spend more time at an airport.  It has become an office.  I find a quiet spot in the lounge and get work done.  This is where life started to get strange.

Had it not been for my camera I would not have noticed the imperceptible glint in the gaze.  The casual look that is exchanged between strangers, and maintained for a fraction longer.  You did not know the logistically challenging rostered world of FIFO workers, if you did, you would have grinned and said, what followed was meant to be.  The gaze turned into a conversation and my dormant heart found a beat again.

He is no academic.  He barely finished high school and so proud of his TAFE achievement because he makes a good living from it.  His nails are not manicured.  His hands are rough and stained from hard work.  He barely reads the news headlines, let alone a book.  His views on politics are succinct, and expressed in the vernacular of the region, “Effing wankers, the lot of them!”  End of story.  There is no malice in his reference, “Miss Fancy Pants!” as he curls his finger around pearls.  He is sensitive and sensual for a man who works with earth on his hands.  Nor do I feel what I do is diminished by his inability to understand it when he says, “what is it that you actually do?”.  What you see is what you get with him.  He travels light.  His values can be endearingly old fashioned, at times.  We admit to nothing.  The unsaid, saying it all.  Things are just what they were, at first ignite.  Alive.  Unfinished.  Unended.  It makes pick up where we left off, easier.  I like what this gives me.  There are no tomorrows or happily ever afters.  I searched for those for far too long.  For me, they were an unfortunate myth.  I live in the moment now.  It’s a happy place to be.

He is no blinding light in my life, like you were.  He lights up my world for a moment, much like seeing a shooting star, and when we leave, the eternal hope, it will happen again.

Where ever you are, here’s to another morning … shine bright.  What was, and what is, is meant to be.

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge:  Virtual

A Birthday Reflection


I’ll be celebrating a significant birthday this month.  It seems to be giving me pause for many reasons.  I would love to write about it but the words just don’t seem to reflect how I’m feeling. Maybe I’ll write about it at a later date.  At times like this, I reach for the work of Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  I found this poem that seems to articulate how I feel.

Bare Tree
Already I have shed the leaves of youth,
stripped by the wind of time down to the truth
of winter branches. Linear and alone
I stand, a lens for lives beyond my own,
a frame through which another’s fire may glow,
a harp on which another’s passion, blow.

The pattern of my boughs, an open chart
spread on the sky, to others may impart
its leafless mysteries that I once prized,
before bare roots and branches equalized,
tendrils that tap the rain or twigs the sun
are all the same, shadow and substance one.
Now that my vulnerable leaves are cast aside,
there’s nothing left to shield, nothing to hide.

Blow through me, Life, pared down at last to bone,
so fragile and so fearless have I grown!

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (

Yes, “so fragile and so fearless have I grown” is a double edged sword that is increasingly a burden too heavy, sums it up for me today.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

A grounded ‘bird’


I woke at 5 am
sat through a storm
watching lightening scrawl the walls
spotlighting dark recesses
the traffic of thoughts,
at times, gridlocked
was louder than the thunder
vibrating along solid foundation
I thought I saw rain, maybe felt it too
but I was still inside
within a safe cocoon
I watched it trickle down the window pane
once removed
the beat was a rhythm
not upbeat, not even vaguely familiar
and I knew
there was no dance left in me
the dawn, was stronger than the storm
it broke through the muscled clouds
from the silence
I heard the familiar winged flight of waterbirds,
smaller birds, too
Oriented to home
I walked in a garden, freshened by rain
saw a feather and from the quill,
a message for me
birds rest in the darkest hour of the night
and at first light, may shed what they don’t need
to make the launch lighter
but despite the discard,
their wings are still wings
so they fly the charted course
the last stretch
in a flock, a pair, or alone
as nature intended.

a dawn bird




Your memory no longer lives within me
the air I breathe is no longer shared,
giving life to the walking dead with each breath
our journey ended, when mine began

Reborn, I woke one day
taking my first breath among trees
and holding me close to her bosom
Mother Nature smiled indulgently

The air I breathe now,
is sweeter than early morning
when I wake to birdsong, my silence
and find diamonds in the garden,

the ones you never had a chance to give me.

a dawn bird



Sea birth


I had a dream,

I was in the middle of the ocean

Free as I can be

When I saw people in sand castles shouting,

“Away from the sea!”

I laughed and frolicked on

Played tag with the shore

explored forests of sea weed on my own

did a pirouette or two on the ocean floor

As the breakers took me further

Their cries faded in the wind

That’s when the realisation set in

I could not swim.

I bobbed in the briny water

Afloat on the scream within

Placed my trust in the mother

Whose womb, the sea became.


a dawn bird

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

She comes to the door of the B&B, her smile is 100 watt dazzle.  Slumped over the walking frame, she looks a couple of generations older, but I’m sure she’s not.  Her home is period.  She tells me it was cut and transported piece by piece from Kalgoorlie where it was a boarding house.  It is endlessly large with high ceilings.  She has beautiful taste.  She bought the home for a pittance and renovated it faithful to the period.  Everything in the home was bought for next to nothing.  Huge jarrah posts discarded by a farmer for $8 a piece, she tells me, laughter making her eyes shine.  We both know the posts would cost hundreds of dollars in the city.  Stained glass windows discarded by someone else exchanged or bartered, one is always lucky to find them, we know this too.  She has polished, painted and brushed it all back to life from another century.  She has grand plans for so much more and not allowed pain or limited mobility to dampen her enthusiasm.

My bedroom is blue and white.  The bed, one of the most comfortable I’ve had in a long time.  I was too exhausted to eat, so I lay down in the white warmth and slept fitfully only to wake early evening to water running.  I follow the sound outdoors.DSCN8486.jpgHer garden is a delight.  I stop to take a picture here and there.DSCN8539.jpgThe ornamental almond tree was frosted white.DSCN8543.jpgThe ornamental peach tree bloomed elsewhere.DSCN8528.jpgThere were bulbs bejewelled with bees.DSCN8545.jpgI found this in one corner, my camera sees what she hasn’t in a long time.  “How on earth did that bloom there?”, she asks me, and we both laugh at her surprise. DSCN8496.jpgI loved the white flowers in another corner and asked her what they were.  She tells me, they are English May, a cutting from her grandmother’s garden.  It’s something she cherishes.  Not hard to see why.DSCN8510.jpgShe is seated on a plastic chair, crutches to the side, water hose in hand dousing dirt in front of her with about 15 silver eye keeping her company.  They dig into the damp soil for tasty morsels.  She giggles like a little girl at their antics.

I step away into the background, camera in hand and reflect.

If this is old age ….

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Colour, my world

I’m no gardener, but I’m forever thinking about my garden.  I now live in a house where I have planned different types of gardens in small isolated pockets.  My vision is yet to come to fruition, but thinking about this, is a happy place to be.

When I was married my husband and I were constantly at odds with how the garden should look.  Forward thinking for the time, he was insistent on a garden with native trees and shrubs as they are plants that require little maintenance and water.  I, on the other hand, wanted an English garden with lavender, roses, geraniums, hydrangeas, and cottage plants.  He indulged my love for this to a point.  When my marriage ended I had a hedge of 14 white iceberg roses that bloomed incessantly with thousands of flowers.  Far from being a reminder of him, they served to remind me he had worked hard outdoors so I could enjoy the view.  It was a memory worth keeping so I continued to keep it alive with more flowers.  The only time I can remember gardening, is when I decided to turn the upper level into a white garden and that space had only white flowers of all kinds.  I wish I had taken pictures.  It was beautiful.  I looked forward to my alone times in the white garden.  I shed all my other roles when I was here except one, student.  On reflection, it was a space where I gave my body breath each day and where I created a new life.

I moved from that space, in more ways than one and found a world of colour.  I was fortunate to find this in a lifestyle that meets all my needs.  Each day I work towards that life, one that strengthens the core of me.  I make sure I stop each day for a few minutes.  I now see colour and detail.  DSCN8425.jpgYellow everlasting flowers growing roadside in the Wheatbelt.DSCN8431.jpgor growing side by side with blue leschenaultia in dry, gravel soil.DSCN8432.jpgThe beautiful velvety native purple flowers on grey foliage that look extremely ordinary from a distance.  But close up?  You be the judge.DSCN8438.jpgThese interesting flowers are tiny and waxy.  I’ve seen creamy lemon ones in the Goldfields.  They glisten in the sun like dew.  Up close, they are delicate and finely veined, like aged hands.  I’ve seen hundreds and thousands of these, but this time, I saw one in bloom.  Exquisite.DSCN8455.jpgThen there are the tiny everlastings that glow like embers, along the ground.DSCN8464.jpgThe beautiful spears of grevillea that grow wild everywhere.DSCN8469.jpgOr these mops of orange.DSCN8476.jpgand blue.DSCN8478.jpgThe delicate intricacy of the cone flower.DSCN8483.jpgAnd tiny, tiny, butter yellow blooms.DSCN8454.jpgI still find white flowers joyful.


They remind me how far I’ve come.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

‘The other voice’

I love the word inspire.  Each year, it brings new meaning.  No longer passive, I seek each day.  I can write when I see, feel, hear or sense something.  It’s a daily awakening.  A daily reminder.  I am alive.

To share the images below with you brings a level of discomfort.  They were always there.  I just never saw them.  Importantly, and sadly, I did not seek them.  I did not seek to use my senses mindfully.

Every day I look beyond what I see.  A tree, is no longer a tree.  A flower is no longer, just beautiful.  A fallen leaf, is more than debris.  A bird is more than feathers and song.  My strides are shorter and slower.  I inhale and exhale more deeply.  I hear small sounds amid din.  A moment lasts longer.

This year, inspire has been synonymous with stillness.  It has been moments when I waited to hear ‘the other voice’.

So I’ll share with you what I’ve found in those moments of dialogue.DSCN7235.jpgA clump of cowslip orchids, found unexpectedly, in debris.DSCN7253.jpgManna acacia blooming below a canopy of gum trees.DSCN7270.jpgA spider orchid, dancer like, posturing mid-furl.DSCN7377.jpgAn emu in the wild, caught mid-stride, long neck perfectly curled.DSCN7348.jpgThe tiny inland thorn bill with yolk egg feathers, singing for mate, in spring.DSCN7556.jpgA Willy Wagtail, with bling in her wing.DSCN7466.jpgSunset in an autumn leaf.DSCN7529.jpgPink ballerina tutus in shrubs, just below the trees.DSCN7445.jpgBallgowns draped on shrubs, more beautiful than found on any red carpet.DSCN7461.jpgA trio of pristine white cornettes.DSCN7588.jpgA gift from and for the sea, left on shore by someone unknown.  But it spoke to, and, for me.

May you seek and find a moment today.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



A time for reflection


I worked a long day yesterday.  By night I needed reflection.DSCN8717.jpgI went where I had lunch one afternoon.  There’s a cafe to the right of this with beautiful views over water.  But no, I wanted to be in the scrub!  To my delight the place was teeming with birds.  I know them well enough by the call.DSCN8571.jpgI found a tiny male zebra finch with wisdom in his eyes.DSCN8567.jpgThen there was the female finch.  She flew up, caught the blade of grass in her beak and slid down, showering grass seeds on the ground.  She then fed in privacy in the tall grass.  Clever!DSCN8519.jpgEver watchful, high in thick scrub, were a pair of rainbow bee eaters.  Aloof, silent, predatory.DSCN8584.jpgThe yellow honey eaters, feasted on flowers, their maniacal laughter-like call, harsh, for such a pretty bird.DSCN8618.jpgWith ‘lipsticked lips’ pursed tightly shut, the Pacific Gull was dignified in defeat as silver sea gulls stole lunch and flew away screeching. DSCN8635.jpgThe Brahminy kite (I think), from the highest vantage point, watched all, then flew away silently.

Reflections on my experiences last night gave me a new understanding, life is not the journey we are given, but how we choose to travel.  I recalled this in a poem which says it better, so I’d like to share it with you today …

A Strong Woman vs a Woman of Strength
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape …
but a woman of strength builds relationships to keep her soul in shape.

A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything …
but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of fear.

A strong woman won’t let anyone get the better of her …
but the woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.

A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future …
A woman of strength realises life’s mistakes can also be unexpected blessings, and capitalises on them.

A strong woman wears a look of confidence on her face …
but a woman of strength wears grace.

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey …
but the woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.
(Author Unknown) cited in a book ‘The Voice of Silence’ by Oonagh Shanley Toffolo.

May all the steps you take today, make you stronger.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird