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

Up, up and away!

I’m off again after being home for just over a day.  I’m looking forward to the warmth of the Midwest region of Carnarvon, our agricultural region, mostly fruit and vegetables.  Probably too early for mangoes at the moment, but one can only hope!

DSCN8303.jpgThis is the main street.  Yes, that’s it folks!  Finding a parking spot is always a cinch!DSCN9385I remember seeing this male zebra finch in the scrub while driving 80 km/hr.  My ability to see birds in unexpected places, still amazes me!  But like I’ve said before, if you look for it, you find it.DSCN8169.jpgThe skies here are awesome.  During a storm or …DSCN8315.jpgon a clear day, as Barbra sang, “you can see forever”.DSCN8345I found this outside the public toilets at Pelican Point, a favourite place for locals to do a bit of kite surfing.  It always makes me smile!

I have so many enjoyable memories of places I visit that I’m always happy to visit again.  My hobby of photography has taught me, enjoy and keep what brings joy … which brings me to my goal next month.

My goal is to wean myself off headlines about ‘world leaders’.  I no longer want to scratch my head and wonder how and why.  The exasperation this brings, I can live without.

As a child I remember we heard the news twice a day on what was then Radio Ceylon; the BBC World Service.  You could hear a pin drop during the news as my parents would insist on this.  Then we got the newspaper from the city.  It was still news when it arrived a day later.  I watched an elderly man in Esperance recently who was walking home from the corner shop, with a newspaper rolled up under his arm.  A rare sight I thought.  The habit of clicking news headlines is now in our fingertips, it would seem.  How quickly times have changed.

I want a simpler life.  Am I returning to where I started from?  If I am, that’s okay with me, because I came from a happy place, where I keep my memories.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Vintage, me

I have just returned from beautiful Balingup, in the south-west of Western Australia.  A tiny hamlet of less than 300 people.  The weather was gorgeous.  Sunny days.  Zero degrees at night.  I rented a rammed earth cottage for three nights and used it as my base while I worked in nearby towns.  The self-contained cottage had all the comforts.  There were Belgian chocolates galore in every nook and cranny.  They all called my name!  A bottle of Cab Sav. Freshly baked bread.  A basket of breakfast goodies.  I could not have asked for more.

I arrived at dusk.  I’ve stayed here before and drove in carefully on an unsealed road in darkness.  The owner lit a roaring fire for me.  He promised to leave the newspaper at the door early morning.  When did I last touch a newspaper!  After dinner I climbed into bed, snug with an alpaca rug and awaited dawn.  I smiled in the dark as possums scratched the window.  DSCN7921.jpgThe cottage balcony faced forest.  This was the view I woke to each day.  The sun streamed in through mist.  Kookaburras laughed and chortled.  A smile travelled across my face, from ear to ear, and warmed me on the inside.DSCN7766.jpgEach morning I rugged up warm and headed out to explore with a grateful heart that delighted in all that I saw.DSCN7761.jpgThe pink camellias took my breath away.  Large as a man’s palm.DSCN7915.jpgThen there were double camellias.  The owner had left several in the cottage for me.  Gorgeous!DSCN7870.jpgI loved the white flowers, just as much.DSCN7775.jpgThe sunny jonquils bloomed despite the frost.DSCN7974.jpgThe white ones shimmered, too.DSCN7860.jpgA clump of these, added colour.DSCN7871.jpgEverywhere I looked, there was beautiful, delicate wattle, signalling winter.DSCN7999I walked along country roads. Contented.  At peace.  Empowered.  I have choice.  This realisation, is freedom.

Perhaps, it’s my vintage.  I’m mellowing with age.  Life is now defined by lifestyle.  I yearn for nothing else but more of the same.

This is how I would like my children to remember me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Switching on and off

DSCN7736

This is St Georges Beach in Geraldton, north of Perth.  It is one of my favourite spots in Geraldton to sit quietly and enjoy all that I see and hear.  The day I took this picture, the sunset was silver, the waves lapped gently and everything sparkled like I’ve never seen before.

I’m off to the South-West today for a few days of work.  From the warmth of the outback, I’m shifting gears.  I’m expecting the nights to be zero degrees and from the stark beauty of the outback, winter will be lush.

My work days promise to be busy.  But, I know I’ll find time to bush walk, take pictures, eat good produce, curl up near a roaring fire.  Write.  Read.  Dream big.

Take five is promoted for well being.  I practice this every day wherever I am.  I’ve found, if you look for it, you’ll find it, no matter how busy life is.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Antediluvian? Yes that’s me!

On a cold morning I feel the history of my journey.  Every healed broken bone, a vivid memory of an accident years ago.  It is the only time of the year I really slow down.  It would be easy to take a pill and become functional quickly.  Not me!  I give my body what it needs the old fashioned way.  Pain is the body’s dialect to remind one, something is not right.  I take my time getting out of bed (the biggest challenge), sit for a few moments to let my body adjust to a manageable level of pain, then start my day.  It is tempting in those few moments to allow panic to flood me.  There is so much still that I want to do in life.  I’d hate pain to get in the way.

Some people confuse a simple life with an easy life.  This is not true.  There is complexity in simplicity.  It requires a level of discernment as opposed to automation.  Take for example technology … how many children rely on programs to correct their grammar and spelling?  How many refer to a dictionary as a first option?  How many children know how to read a map and do maths, without the use of a calculator?  I was stunned when I asked a teen how they would find a phone number for the local pizza shop and the response I got was, “I can just ask Siri”.

I cannot help but wonder at the potential cognitive changes that may be a result of technology.  Are we becoming less reactive?  Are we changing our own ‘wiring’ and relying more on software?  Are we becoming cognitively ‘lazy’?  I wonder this because I’m buying a new car.  It’s hard to find a model in my budget range without all the bells and whistles that forewarn, and react for me, under the guise of ‘safety package’.  When I drive I want to stay alert.  I want to use my own judgement to keep a safe distance between cars.  I want my brain to think for me.  I want to remember the speed zone.  I want to look over my shoulder and be aware of the blind spot.  I want to enhance my spatial perception, my cognitive reasoning.  I feel there is danger of mind-body disconnection, when we are reliant on external factors to do this for us.

In an increasingly automated world, I find my time with camera is where I make my mind-body connection.  Like watching the Pacific Gull on West Beach in Esperance ….

DSCN7431.jpgThe gull stood still and watched the tide come in.  From the road above, I did the same.DSCN7432.jpgThen the gull then strode out purposefully to meet it.DSCN7433.jpgIt seemed to know where to stop.  DSCN7435It stood still and waited.DSCN7434The tide came in with bounty.  The Pacific Gull knew this.  This was time honoured instinct.  Honed and practiced.  No technology to guide it.  It was a beautiful thing to observe.  A moment of mind-body connection, for gull, and me.

Call my views antediluvian.  I’m okay with that.  I’m one of those who enjoys the challenge of looking up the meaning of new words.  I do it the old fashioned way.  It’s like opening up a wrapped gift.  The excitement of the unknown.

Thank you Ragtag Daily Prompt!  I learned a new word today!  Perhaps, even earned a new label!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Change, for the better?

via Daily Prompt: Tide

I’ve written posts and shared photographs of Broome, Western Australia before.  Some 2000+ kms north of Perth it is renowned for the rugged coastal beauty.  Sipping a cold one at Cable Beach at sunset watching tourists enjoying a camel ride is the norm in the evenings.  Few venture further.  The Kimberley region in Western Australia is beautiful, vast country, but expensive to visit and/or explore.

Some 200+ kms further north of Broome is Cape Leveque, Cygnet Bay, Lombadina, Beagle Bay and other beautiful coastal places.  To access them is part of the beauty of the region.DSCN6084.jpgThe road out of Broome is initially a sealed one.  Then comes the fun part!DSCN6068.jpgAbout 90kms of unsealed road.  I’ve driven up here with others on four occasions in different weather conditions.  It has always been an adventure!DSCN6080.jpgSometimes one drives through deeply gutted and mousse like pindan (red) earth.DSCN6056.jpgAt other times one eats dust.DSCN6081.jpgThe road etiquette is pretty easy to adapt to.  Ride the ridge to allow oncoming traffic pass safely.

I love this journey!  Although the area is gorgeous, it is the trip that is a highlight for me.  The gamble whether it will be dusty and bone crunching due to corrugation or dicey because of the damp, just adds to the enjoyment.

After years of political promises, the sealing of the road has begun.  There are clearly two camps because of this.  Those who see accessibility improving the lives of people in remote communities and those who fear the impact of increased tourism. The argument that folks are stranded in the wet season, as the only way in and out for supplies or emergency is small plane holds some ground.

To write this post and reminisce with affection, I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve.  But I do know to embrace change is a double edged sword.  It almost always comes at a price.

I mentioned in my previous post about using a credit card less frequently.  It was prompted by my early experiences of working in Australia in the 1970s.  One of my first jobs was working in a major hospital.  I recall every fortnight two men would walk down the corridors, one holding a small metal box, the other, a key.  They would visit department after department handing out out fortnightly pay packets in notes and coins.  I would go home that evening to my tiny bedsit in the city, write out my budget for the fortnight (rent, utilities, food, personal expenses, savings and holiday savings) and live within the framework of my means.  I had no debts. And, I went on overseas holidays twice a year.

Then came the transition of salary going into our bank accounts.  The men, no doubt, lost their jobs or were deployed elsewhere.  Soon after came the ATMs and the restrictions of over the counter banking.  Where have all those rows of bank tellers gone?  Our unique signature has given way to PayWave or passwords.  Soon, cash will be gone, too.

Before it does … I’m going back to my earlier framework of living with cash.  I’m claiming back my power.

This is how I choose to ride out the tide of change.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Switched on

via Daily Prompt: Abrupt

Last night I watched a documentary on Elsa the Lioness.  I was given the first edition of the book Born Free as a young girl.  I was captivated by the story and fell madly in love with George Adamson! Then I discovered Jacques Cousteau.  When kids were talking about favourite people they would have around for dinner, and were dreaming about rock stars, my interests were conservationists.  I admired their spirit of adventure.  Of living life differently.  Their fierce commitment to Nature.  They were conservationists, but I didn’t know the meaning of the word.  Until now.

I’m now switched on.  The change in thinking was abrupt.  I’ve come to realise we don’t have to hear the message in ad breaks.  We live the message.  Like Adamson and Cousteau did.

On a recent trip to Jurien Bay I woke to watch dawn break at the beach and took it all in.  The message of plastic pollution of the oceans foremost in memory.  I wondered how I could make a difference.  Could I live more mindfully?  I realised, shopping is all about planning.  When I went home I packed a few shopping bags in the boot and was ready for another grocery trip.  I took only two cooler bags to the store and placed my shopping straight into them.  To my surprise, I was shopping mindfully.  I bought only what I could fit in.  The impulse buying was placed back on the shelf.  I checked out and found I had spent way less money than I normally would for a weekly trip.  Importantly, I had not used any single use plastic bags.  The change was so easy to put into practice.

I wondered if I could try the same strategy with money.  I use my credit card all the same and rarely use cash.  It has been a helpful strategy for business accounts.  But when reflecting on it, I realised, I have to keep receipts whether I use cash or credit card.  So why not use cash?  Now when I travel, I take just what I need in cash with my card as back up.  What a difference I’ve made in a month!  Money is the tangible proof of hard work.  When one has cash in hand, one builds a relationship with it and makes it hard to part from it.  The credit card is impersonal.

My only regret today is that I wish my learning took place earlier.  DSCN9838.jpgI often despair watching children with hand held devices.  Immersed in technology, they miss the world around them.  So when I saw a young boy wetting a line on the beach, Pacific Seagull by his side, it made me smile.  He could have been sitting in the hotel room playing video games.  But he was out here at dawn, because he enjoyed the experience of what he was doing.  He didn’t catch any fish.  It was just the enjoyment of anticipation and being near the sea.  He had a relationship with the environment.  There is hope ….DSCN9844.jpgI look at the ocean differently.  The responsibility for keeping it pristine lies with each of us.  The answer to a complex question ‘What can I do?” lies within the question.  It starts with “I …”.DSCN9861.jpgI look at the debris left behind by the tides each day.  It’s the kind that makes me happy. Like watching a child fishing at the beach, it also makes me hopeful.

The debris left by the human tide will one day, change.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird