A change is as good as a holiday

The major home renovations are over.  The dust is settling and now to the next phase of painting and window treatments, as well as culling old stuff.  With this in mind I planned to have December and January off, so my schedule for November is pretty full.  But my plans were scuttled.  I was asked to do another round of visits in regional areas in December.  My knees and heart sagged at the request.  With a crowded November and now a busy December, I’m seriously thinking Christmas will have to be on a calendar date of my choice.

Because I visit most of this large State regularly, the thought of going north seemed to be a change as good as a holiday.  It is not the best time to be visiting.  It was in the low forties (centigrade) in early October.  The temperature remains that high this week.  The tourist season is over.  The good thing is that the prices come down but the hospitality industry slows down too.  The Kimberley region will be preparing for the wet season.  I’m probably too early for the oppressive ‘build up’ that creates humid conditions, but it will be extremely hot.

Being self employed means I’m constantly working to deadlines dictated by others. A couple of years ago I started to organise my regional visits around the holidays I planned for myself.  It seemed to work well and allowed me time to indulge in things that matter most to me.  I now value the concept of a short break.  I see it as a moment to catch one’s breath.

On the Qantas flight back from Kalgoorlie I read an article on ‘forest bathing’, a nature based therapy practiced originally in Japan and taking off in New York.  It really appeals to me and something I have experienced while bush walking, without knowing it was a therapy.  I also know there are other ways to engage in a therapeutic experience.

DSCN6054My visit north will not be green.  It will be encased in the fine red dust of the Kimberley.

The visit will not be as relaxing as I would like it to be.  There will be geckos seeking shelter in my cool hotel room.  They will keep me awake.  I know this for sure!   DSCN8594.jpgI’m not scared of spiders at all, but I am of reptiles.DSCN7758.jpgAnd (sensibly) scared of crocodiles.

I expect to encounter all of these during my trip, because of the remoteness of where I’m going.  I also know I will still find beautiful meditative moments in the few days I’m there.  DSCN8108.jpgAcross the road from my hotel in Kununurra, my first stop, will be Celebrity Tree Park and Lily Creek Lagoon where I walk early morning, camera in hand.  I love that this major highway is like a suburban side road.DSCN8257There will be dragon flies with net wings teaching me to balance.DSCN8436.jpgIn groves of ancient boab trees, I’ll find a mother’s embrace, long overdue.DSCN8576.jpgDespite the heat, I’m hoping there are lily filled billabongs, like ones I’ve seen before.DSCN9603.jpgAnd migratory birds who are still calling the Kimberley home, before they fly.

Will the next few days be an escape from the ordinary?  Knowing where I’m going, despite the discomfort of heat and reptiles, I know it will be.

I’ve worked hard for the past few years because of the extra expense of renovations.  Having achieved my goals, I’m looking forward to slowing the pace next year.  In the mean time, a short break will have to a holiday.

I guess the take home message to myself today is, when limited by choice, make the best of what you’ve got.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full circle

The last month has been a roller coaster ride personally and professionally.  Perhaps it is the end of a busy year so I’m feeling more vulnerable and tetchy.

Bullying behaviour happens in all walks of life.  The time has come to call this behaviour for what it is.  My instinct is always to walk away from a bully.  They don’t deserve my time nor need to be in my space.  But this time, when pushed by a colleague, I pushed back.  Uncharacteristic of me and I found, a bully does what bullies do best, they retreat when called out.

Then it was the neighbour who had been trying to contact me regarding the damaged common fence.  I was expecting a showdown.

I walked around Foxes Lair one morning and said, ‘Lord, there’s too much on my plate” and after a couple of hours bush walking, although nothing had changed, I returned home feeling spiritually rested.

I caught up with my neighbours.  It was the first time I had met them since moving into my home about four years ago.  They were perfectly reasonably people!  Then I had a phone call from my line manager.  I was expecting, at best, a reprimand for being outspoken to someone in a higher position than me.  But no, he had called to ask me if I could help someone who was in dire need.  During our conversation I brought up, what I perceived to be bullying behaviour, with him and much to my surprise, he agreed with me and invited me to discuss these matters with him sooner rather than later.

Over the years I’ve learnt pilots use the phrase “we are expecting some weather” for turbulence.  My instinct is natural, I tighten my seatbelt.  So leaving Perth in perfect weather and expecting 30 degrees when I landed in Kalgoorlie, the pilot’s forewarning surprised me.  We landed after an uneventful flight.  The girl at the hire car counter grinned and said, “how was the flight” and was amazed when I told her it was smooth.  She told me a terrific storm had just passed Kalgoorlie and she was sure the flight would have experienced it.

A few minutes later I headed to the hotel, the massive open cut gold mine for my horizon, the backdrop a waterfall of lightening cascading.  Rain fell like pebbles.  It was still warm at dusk.  I had heard about the lightening storms in the Goldfields but have never experienced one before.  It was spectacular.  We had landed between storms.

My two days in Kalgoorlie are always busy.  I did not have time to visit my favourite park.  As I left the clinic I realised I hadn’t taken any photographs.  I looked up instinctively.  thumb_IMG_3842_1024.jpgGum blossoms.

The flight home was buffeted.  I closed my eyes and rewound the previous few days in my mind.  I recalled the moment I woke startled around 3 am when a clap of thunder ricocheted around the town, snuggled deeper in bed and realised, there’s something wondrous about watching a storm from the safety of one’s bed.  I held on to that imagery until we landed safely in Perth.

I was raised to believe in a higher power that is loving and benevolent.  It is not everyone’s way of thinking and I respect that.  Equally, I’ve come to respect, what prayer means to me.

When busy I’ve found I have a tendency to slide away from the familiar and when I do, I feel rudderless.  I am mindful of this.

This month I recalled something I had read some years ago that was a useful spiritual compass for me.  I’ve paraphrased here.

When you don’t feel the presence of God in your life, ask yourself, who moved away? 

This reflection always returns me to where I started from.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Where all roads take me …

I’m spending a few minutes reflecting on the past month.  I’ve travelled far and wide in the Midwest, the Wheatbelt, the South West and my usual trips to other places too.  There was so much I didn’t know about the State, so, although a bit tired, the travelling has been worth it.DSCN8462.jpgI found a sculpture in Kulin, left behind after the last ‘Blazing Swan’ festival.  The festival runs to a similar theme to The Burning Man.  This was the swan’s egg.  How did I not know about this festival!  When I returned home, I looked at the website.  It looks awesome!DSCN8554In the Wheatbelt I also watched some birds, like me, work hard to create their nest.DSCN8595.jpgThe wildflower season was ending in Mingenew in the Midwest, and although past their prime, some were still sunny side up.DSCN8600.jpgWhile in other places, there was harmonious diversity in all colours.DSCN8613.jpgI came across details in tiny insects that the naked eye could not see.DSCN8639.jpgI walked along the walking trail high above West Beach in Esperance where teenage surfers start their day and where I like to start mine.  They stick together in a pod and have each other’s back.  Earlier this year a Great White hung around for hours just 100 metres from shore.  Although I watch them with a mother’s eye, I can’t help but admire their youthful dare.DSCN8657.jpgI’ve come across extraordinary, in the ordinary.  Reminders for me that any job is ordinary, but how we perceive what we do, takes it to another level.DSCN8662.jpgI examined the wonderful weirdness of Nature closely and found I was wrong, there’s nothing weird about delicate intricacy.DSCN8850.jpgThe striking vividness of colour on shrubs stopped me in my tracks.DSCN8935.jpgAnd also when I caught sight of an errant Running Postman on the ground.DSCN8898Color in nature can be striking when plain.DSCN8930.jpgOr subtle in varying hues.DSCN8954.jpgThere are also some attention seekers saying, ‘look at me’!DSCN8958.jpgAnd just when I thought I was alone while bush walking, I realised, I had company.

I’ve found a way to generate balance in my day.  These moments of mindfulness, usually first thing in the morning, add an extra dimension to my day and what I do for a living.

Over the years I’ve come to the understanding, in those moments of mindfulness, all else falls away.

I’m off today and before the end of the month will have completed three more trips.  But tonight in keeping with a balanced life, it will be room service and rubbish TV!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Say it with flowers

I love fresh flowers.  Sadly, with frequent travel it is a luxury I cannot indulge in.  I do return home from each trip to a front garden full of roses.  They seem to bloom profusely, partly because I have given my neighbours permission to cut as many as they like for themselves.  It’s a win-win situation.

Last week a bunch of flowers was also a white flag to irate neighbours who I hadn’t met before and much to their frustration could not contact me when the fence blew down.

When my son was about five, the neighbour who lived across the road from us lost her husband to cancer.  My son promptly stated he wanted to give her flowers.  I cut some iceberg roses and placed them in a laundry basket as I snipped at the bushes, thinking I’d keep some for myself and do up a bunch for her.  No!  My son insisted, she was to have all of them.  The image of a five year old child staggering across our front yard to her home, laundry basket filled with white iceberg roses, is a precious memory.

My recent memories are embedded in flowers.  I’ve found in this State something is always blooming somewhere.

Oh!  the irony of living in a happy place and not knowing it!DSCN8938.jpgThis morning I walked around in Foxes Lair.  There were so many flowers to see and enjoy.  It was overwhelming. DSCN8963.jpgThe long view was beautiful.  But what was at my feet?DSCN8911.jpgI found this straggly plant, probably a weed.  Just green foliage but wait, there was a hint of colour.  It is imperceptible even now when I look for it.DSCN8883.jpgI waited for the sunrise and returned to the plant.DSCN8870.jpgI’m not sure if it is a weed or not but it lifted my flagging spirits.DSCN8757.jpgThe tea tree flowers were growing everywhere, sprayed here and there, over leaf debris.DSCN8832.jpgThen there was this gorgeous plant.  Exquisite.DSCN8897.jpgThis enamel orchid took my breath away.  I’ve never seen one this tiny.DSCN8852.jpgI looked deep into tiny flowers.  Each perfect in creation.DSCN8939.jpgThis trigger plant was a stronger pink compared to those that were in the palest pink hues.DSCN8956.jpgA gorgeous succulent.DSCN8944.jpgThere were all shades of purple.  This one so vivid against grey debris.

I walked around Foxes Lair this morning, listening to the crunch of my boots on dirt and dried leaves, the twittering of birds, the intermittent cacophony of kookaburras, the shower of gum nuts from above.

I know one thing for sure.  I can’t wait to return.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

It’s moments like these …

I always seem to rush to get to Narrogin in the southern Wheatbelt but each visit something gets in the way and I’m delayed.  The aim is always to get there mid afternoon so I have several hours exploring the region especially during spring.  My plans have never worked out that way.

This trip I got there just before sunset, too late except for a quick drive through Foxes Lair and do recon for the next day.  I woke early and was in the reserve by 6 am.  I know the kangaroos are out and about this hour so I drive in very slowly.DSCN8716.jpgI wasn’t disappointed.  This mother had a very young joey.  They blended into the landscape so beautifully.  DSCN8721.jpgI followed the mother’s gaze and found to the right of me was a huge kangaroo, male I think.  I was captivated by his eyes!DSCN8723.jpgThen he loped across the road in front of my car, as if in slow motion and I realised he was old.  DSCN8725.jpgThe trio disappeared in seconds into the bush.DSCN8821.jpgI got out of my car to a chorus of kookaburra laughter.  They continued chortling as I walked beneath them.DSCN8769.jpgIt was not light enough to photograph the flowers, so I spent my time looking upwards.  (Mental note, do more of this).DSCN8791.jpgThis young parrot just stared right back at me!  Port Lincoln parrot, I think.DSCN8949.jpgThe redcap parrot chewed away happily, littering gum nuts.DSCN8961.jpgAs I was leaving, the robin redbreast made a bold statement.

Leaving the devastation in my garden, I enjoyed these moments of mindfulness.

I left Perth feeling lack lustre and have returned home, renewed.

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