What do you see?

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The Granites, Mt Magnet, Western Australia

Just nine kms out of Mt Magnet in the Midwest outback is The Granites; a place of cultural significance to the Badimia people where Aboriginal rock art is 9,000 years old (www.australiasgoldenoutback.com).  The cited tourism website has more information about this place.

I absolutely loved visiting here.  While my travelling companion slept, I went by myself early morning before sunrise to experience this vast landscape.  It was silent and inviting.  The previous dusk we could not decide whether we were seeing a turtle or a frog!  We agreed in the end, turtle!

The rock formation is massive but, interestingly, gentle in pose.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Thursday – Pareidolia

 

 

Now you see it … now you don’t …

I tried to leave home earlier than my scheduled departure to the Wheatbelt.  The roadworks are a nuisance, as are the monster harvesters that slow traffic.  I dislike driving in this region at dusk, so I drove with a sense of urgency.  As I headed East, just past Muchea I noticed a big swathe of pine trees have been levelled and the new highway that will join Brand Highway is taking shape.  It saddened me.  The trees are disappearing before my eyes.  I can do nothing about it except avert my gaze.DSCN7182
Candy Bush Reserve, Moora, Western Australia
When not at home I seek the company of trees if inland, as much of the Wheatbelt is.  The trees here have a delicate elegance to them.  Tall, slender limbs and the brown bark is smooth and glows in the sun.  This is the main road I take from out of Moora, a good 20+ kms before I get to the main highway.  I often park in the shade and eat a hurried lunch before heading back to the clinic.  This is farmland country.  The paddocks were summer beige and speckled with hundreds of sheep.  There were clouds of white cockatoos everywhere.  There is something very calming about this journey.DSCN7180
It won’t be long before these trees will be earmarked for destruction, to widen the road, no doubt.  In these regions, due to the roadworks everywhere, I seem to have road workers for company, rather than miners.  These folks work hard in heat.  At dusk, they are on their front porch of the chalets, downing a few cold ones and talking about their day.  Much like me, these folks are away from home and family.  They create their own community.  I’ve learnt to do the same.thumb_IMG_1004_1024
Sunrise, Moora, Western Australia
Like me, they wake early, coffee in hand, some with cigarette in the other and watch the sunrise.  It’s an easy feeling, waking among strangers and feeling completely at ease. Or perhaps, it is a feeling that comes from being among trees.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Monday – Evanescent

Homage to the sea

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West Beach, Esperance, Western Australia.

I find the sea inexplicably seductive.  I love the feel of the frothy curl of waves around my ankles.  The treasures I find when the tide leaves.  The gentle rhythm of ocean time.  If there is such a thing, I was born with the beachcomber gene.  I always find something of interest.  Although I seek these moments of solitude on my own, I never feel alone when I’m walking along the shore.

I’ve come to understand, companionship, is the gift of the sea.

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Young seagull, Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Pic and a Word Challenge – Shoreline #220

The first glimpse of …

It was the first trip of the year and little time for anything except work.  My plans of walking around town with camera, taking pictures of the magnificent heritage architecture in the Goldfields region, were scrapped.  The small mining town felt like it was bursting at the seams with people.  An atmosphere reminiscent of the wild, wild, West.  I just didn’t feel comfortable walking around on my own.  I drove to the sister town of Boulder and it was the same, so I returned to the hotel without taking a single picture.

The next day at lunchtime, as is my habit, I went to the park for a quick lunch and hoped for a longer time with camera photographing the gum flowers and birds.  It was nearly 40 degrees C and no shade.  I had to return to the office, dejected, without a single photograph of my trip!

As I approached the entrance to the building, it caught my eye.  I had seen it the previous day in the garden.  It looked like it was some kind of plastic toy wedged against another plant.  The next day when I returned from lunch, it was still there.  I decided to walk closer to inspect it.thumb_IMG_0983_1024
Echeveria ‘Domingo’

It took my breath away!  In the harshest sun in harsher country, this bloomed with such delicacy.  I have a desk plaque on a table in my foyer, a reminder to self, each time I enter my home or leave it – “Bloom where God plants you”.  When away from home, I needed this to touch base.

I showed the picture to the office staff.  They loved it.  “Where did you find this?” they asked, thinking it was from one of my travels.  “Outside, in the garden, by the front door”.  They looked confused and surprised.  One staff member’s window opened to this and she never noticed it before!  I had no idea succulents are so beautiful.  I learnt something new that day.  It will definitely have a presence in my new garden.

On my return home, the flight was full.  I was seated at the back.  Never a good seat on a Friday night when miners are going home and have had too much down time at the bar.  I averted my body, away from the odour of stale beer, and towards a succulent sky.thumb_IMG_0986_1024My trip, fraught as it was with work, taught me to look beyond the desk and when plans don’t work out, respond to curiosity and look beyond.

I brought the vision home, to share with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge

In response to A Photo a Week Challenge – Work

 

 

Look into my eyes …

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Green ant, East Kimberley region, Western Australia

It was early morning in the warm and humid Kimberley region, far north of the State, between Kununurra and Wyndham, when I woke in tree tops, to a wonderland.  There was a Pretty Face wallaby below at the billabong and I watched anxiously, hoping the resident saltwater crocodile was not around.  The birds were waking and the air filled with birdsong.  They were all species new to me, some tiny finches and other large water birds, up in the trees.  I didn’t know where to point my camera.  I didn’t want to miss a moment of the experience.  But, nothing could have prepared me for the next few minutes.

The Kimberley region is stunning country.  The landscapes are expansive and humbling.  The coast, rugged and just gorgeous.  The weather can be harsh.  Extreme heat and tropical storms.  Accessibility to some places can be restricted at certain times of the year as there are some unsealed roads to usual tourist spots.  It is country that demands respect for all that nature delivers.  This is also snake, spider and crocodile country, so I’m instinctively cautious when I travel in this region.  Spiders don’t scare me, but we do have some in Australia that are best left alone.  A quick check around one’s environment, is good practice.  As I stood above the billabong in the shade of the tree canopy, and went to lean on the metal railing, they caught my eye.  A steady stream of ants.  Jewel like, they their bodies glistened like emeralds.  I had never seen green ants before.  I was fascinated.

Have you ever looked into the eyes of an ant?  I was mesmerised.  The intelligence, the awareness of my presence, the guard, all in one tiny creature.  In that moment of connection, I was tiny, and the ant, a giant presence.  An unforgettable moment, a moment larger than life!

May you seek and experience those moments, too.

As always

Until next time

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Friday – Macro

When white is warm …

Climatically white is often associated with snow.  In the Southern Hemisphere, white is synonymous with the beach and clouds.  I’ve added flora and fauna as well.  This is a long scroll!
DSCN7593-2.jpgShell Beach, Shark Bay, Western Australiathumb_DSCN5349_1024-2.jpg
Sea wave at the shore, Jurien Bay, Western Australiathumb_DSCN8990_1024-2.jpg
White kite, Binningup, Western Australia
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Christmas angel, Christmas 2020thumb_IMG_2731_1024-2.jpg
Framed in sand, Western Australiathumb_IMG_5350_1024-2.jpg
Iceberg rose, my front garden, Western Australiathumb_IMG_5832_1024-2.jpg
Snow drops at my front door, Western Australiathumb_IMG_0954_1024.jpg
Fire whirlwind and summer clouds, East Kimberley outback, Western Australiathumb_IMG_1581_1024.jpg
Cabbage white butterfly … destructive and beautiful.    Pilbara region, Western Australia

Ah! such memories of places and experiences.

Until next time

a dawn bird

In response to Word Photo Challenge:  White

This evanescent life …

“Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today.  Let us begin.”  Mother Theresa

I love this quote.  Time is never fleeting, never wasted if we have the courage to begin, to explore, to re-calibrate from where we are.

This year I spent more time in the Midwest outback than I have in any other year and hopefully this will continue.  DSCN9291.jpg
I’ve worked along the coast from north to the south and enjoyed the intense company of seagulls.DSCN9480.jpg
In the Wheatbelt town of Merredin I found a silent space within me while listening to the raucous squawking of red tail black cockatoos, high in the gum trees.thumb_IMG_0178_1024.jpg
In the Midwest outback town of Mt Magnet I found these beautiful succulent flowers.  The ant and granite sand gives some perspective how tiny these flowers are.thumb_IMG_0217_1024.jpg
I loved this deserted Masonic Lodge (circa 1899) in the outback town of Cue.thumb_IMG_0224_1024.jpg
The pink flower carpet that surrounded the ghost town of Big Bell, just outside Cue, was stunning.thumb_IMG_0238_1024.jpg
We enjoyed dinner here in an outback pub where dusty cowboys propped up the bar.thumb_IMG_0241_1024.jpg
And even in the outback one could not get away from American politics!  This was Herbert Hoover’s bedroom when he worked as a mining engineer in Western Australia in the late 1800s.  This is now a lounge room at the motel where we stayed.thumb_IMG_0253_1024.jpg
There were long drives on lonely highways in the company of road trains.thumb_IMG_0256_1024.jpg
And waking to outback sunrises.thumb_IMG_0607_1024.jpg
This was a big wall of tattoo photographs at the Billabong Roadhouse, in the Midwest outback.  I thought it was pretty cool!thumb_IMG_5303_1024.jpg
I spent a lot of time at airports with miners and where I met Muse.thumb_IMG_4702_1024.jpg
I found I’m patient when faced with barriers.  This forced me to drive between 5-10 kms an hour (speed limit was 110km/hour) for over 40 kms in the eastern Wheatbelt.thumb_IMG_5817_1024.jpg
I visited The Leaning Tree, Greenough, outside Geraldton.  Just because I love it so.

“I am Wirnda Ngadara
The leaning tree
I have grown this way
from too much breeze
My twisted trunk
bowed down to search
and pay respect
to Mother Earth
Stand here awhile
and look at me
I am Wirnda Ngadara
The leaning tree.
Nola Gregory, 2014

I have been brave and adventurous this year.  The next year brings with it promise of new experiences with old loves.thumb_IMG_0696_1024
To embrace the new year I found my mantra on the Iron Balls gin bottle.

“You always have options, if you have balls”.

And, that my friends, I do!

May time stand still for you, for just a moment, so you can re-calibrate your compass for the new year and find the direction you seek.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Sunday – Fugacious

In Wheatbelt country …

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Courtesy ABC News (Australia)

On my way to Moora I drove through this region a day before the fire.  The landscape was beige and beautiful.  I turned the music off and smiled to myself for most of the trip.  I felt like I was driving through live art, the softest water colours of Hans Heysen, one of my favourite Australian artists, depicted in land and trees.  When there is a breeze among gum trees, if you close your eyes and listen, you hear the ocean.  But during this trip, the gum trees were still.  I knew they were silent, too.  It was the calm before the storm.  I didn’t know this at the time.

This fire is further away from home.  There is a bigger one closer north to my place that has been raging for days which seems to flare up intermittently and causing concern.

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The city skies were sepia on Sunday as I drove out to Narrogin, south east of home.  Once out of the city, it is a heavily wooded drive for most of the journey.  In the distance I could see a blanket of smoke from yet another big fire from the tall timber country of Collie in the south west.  I stopped roadside briefly to take a picture.  It was silent and eerie in this vast landscape.  During the night I woke several times to sirens and speeding vehicles, no doubt headed towards Collie.  I decided to come home a day earlier as I didn’t risk getting caught in a long detour and miss the flight I’m taking today.

The lack of rain and extreme heat, a deadly mix, generates a tinderbox for sure.  I cling to hope when the areas that are burnt to cinders will regenerate in spring as many Australian flora need extreme heat.  It is harder for people to pick up the pieces though, when they lose livestock and homes.  And, I cannot bear to think of all those animals caught up in this!

I drove through Foxes Lair soon after I arrived in Narrogin.  It was dusk and not a creature stirred.  It was the same in the morning when I usually hear the kookaburras and galahs creating a ruckus in the treetops.  Coffee in hand, I looked outside my hotel door and saw just a slight quiver among flowers.  It was all I needed to make me smile again,

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New Holland Honeyeater among grevillea flowers, Narrogin, Western Australia

The other day I flew home from yet another trip.  It was 40 degrees celsius on the day.  The announcement of clear skies with strong winds and extreme heat made my heart sink.  From experience, in that particular region, it can mean a rough flight.  I fly dozens of times a year, but it was one of the worst flights I have ever experienced.  The poor cabin crew got caught half way in the aisle when we hit turbulence.  She crawled on hands and knees back to her seat.  Each time I reached to steady myself by holding the seat in front of me, my hand flew so high off course, it touched the ceiling.  For a nervous flyer, I’m learning, I am made of steel.

I’m off today for my last trip of the year.  And, what a year it has been!  A mix of joy and sadness.  There will be time to write about this in the coming days when I’m home again for several days.

Until then

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Monday – Mix

 

Message from a dragonfly …

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It’s that time of year again.  I am looking for respite in all kinds of creative ways.  Five minutes of laundry, a three minute prayer, a coffee mug that needs washing right away.  The reports are being completed, one at a time, each around 20 pages, some longer.  The pressure is intense.  End of school year is three weeks away.  Children who are eligible for special needs funding need people to zone out everything else and commit to deadlines.  I’m trying to stay afloat.

Having flown in this morning, I made a list of things I needed to do before flying out again tomorrow.  My knees did buckle momentarily.  There’s only 24 hours in a day.  On days like this, that is a revelation and surprise.

I can work late into the night, I reassure myself.  I’ll rest in the hotel tomorrow night.  It’s something I tell myself each time, but rest is elusive.  I always find something else ends up with a higher priority.

As the clothes line got busy with wet laundry, she caught my eye …

As much as I love birds and, a friend tells me whenever she sees a bee, she thinks of me, I have always been drawn to dragonflies.  The fact that they fly across oceans with filigree wings, amazes me.  I have photographed them as they fly, mate, and with wings poised, alight on surfaces, but I have never seen one at rest.

As I ticked laundry off the list, I stopped.  I heard the message through my camera.

Rest, fold your wings
balance awhile
tomorrow, we fly again

And, for a moment, as I looked through the lens, the pressure eased.

a dawn bird

 

In response to Daily Word Prompt – Alleviate – November 30 2019

 

Do look back … 30 November 2019

I think reflecting on the past month is a wonderful way to take a breath …DSCN8809.jpg
I’ve come to realise in the past few months, it is at home and in my garden is where I find best balance.
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Where birds comes to visit me for a change.
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I’ve enjoyed a long drive between Carnarvon and Geraldton.  This is my favourite roadhouse along the way.  I found out this area is prone to flooding when it rains, and quite beautiful with numerous billabongs that attract birdlife.  The change between spring to summer has been swift.  It was a hot drive.DSCN7120.jpg
The highway between Carnarvon and Geraldton is long and lonely.  My colleague and I always feel carefree in these parts.  We usually stop here and stretch our legs at a lookout that overlooks Gladstone Beach in the far distance.DSCN8824.jpg
Geraldton has become my second home.  I’ve grown to love this place and the easy lifestyle.DSCN9956.jpg
Returning home from trips I found the gooseberries were turning into jam on the bush from the heat.  What happened to spring, this year?DSCN9961.jpg
The mulberries are plentiful and most out of my reach, except for my zoom.DSCN9988.jpg
In Esperance the wildflowers have disappeared and birdlife is plenty.  This wattlebird was as curious about me, as I was of it.
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The wildflowers have disappeared in Foxes Lair too except for a hardy few.  I saw a blur in the bush and found it was the tiny pink trigger plants.DSCN7043.jpg
The pied stilt was gorgeous at Chinaman Pool, in Carnarvon, at sunset.thumb_IMG_0376_1024.jpg
I’ve just returned from being away for nearly ten days and found Perth is sweet home, after all.  Now that came as a surprise to me!

It’s the first day of summer tomorrow.  I’ll be starting it in the heat of the Goldfields.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to The Changing Seasons – November

A Walk in the Park …

I work all over this big State of Western Australia, so naturally, this vast land is my neighbourhood as I am rarely home and, I post pictures regularly from wherever my work takes me.  It is rare for me to share pictures from my neighbourhood.  I have posted these pictures some years ago and the prompt is a good reminder to explore the world closer to home more frequently.DSCN6149.jpg
My home adjoins Yellagonga Regional Park, some 1400 hectares of protected land of which nearly half is protected wetlands.  This area is four doors down from my home.  The land in this area is laden with cultural significance for the regional indigenous people and is part of their Dreaming.  I only became aware of this some years ago after a walk through the park with an elder as part of my workplace cultural learning.DSCN9900.jpg
I love that this place teems with new life.  I recall the sheer delight in discovering the black swan’s cygnet is white.DSCN7775.jpg
There are spaces where the Australian shelduck and I can catch our breath.DSCN7786.jpg
Ancient gum trees for company.DSCN7789.jpg
As I approach this roundabout in spring, I have to be careful about the Wood Ducks that use the pond as a nursery before taking their family across the road to the Lake.DSCN9771.jpg
This spring there have been many new families that have arrived over the last six weeks. This year I’ve seen school children stop and take pictures with their phone as they walk home from school.  I love watching their discovery through the lens.

This is my little oasis where other birds, too, call home.  Glad I could share this with you.

As always

a dawn bird

In response to A Photo A Week Challenge – In the Neighbourhood

The nature of the sea …

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Sunset, Exmouth Gulf, Exmouth, Western Australia

When I’m by the sea I often reflect on relationships.  Is there such a thing as forever?  Or is there more to be enjoyed in those fleeting moments of visitation, like those experienced by the tides’ ebb and flow?

The picture jogged my memory about what Anne Morrow Lindberg wrote …

“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment.  It is an impossibility.  It is even a lie to pretend to.  And yet this is exactly what most of us demand.  We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships.  We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb.  We are afraid it will never return.  We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even.  Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread of anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.  Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the seas, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”  Anne Morrow Lindberg, Gift from the Sea (www.goodreads.com).

One day I will find someone who understands, fully understands, and embraces this philosophy.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: Open Topic

I visit the Central Wheatbelt area in Western Australia, on a regular basis.  Although it is only around 260km, it is around 3-3.5 hour drive East of home for me.  The highway is dangerous.  It runs east and west, so some drivers are always driving into the sun early morning or at sunset.  It is a narrow road, and used by roadtrains and with open farmland on either side, there is always danger of fox and kangaroo as well, at dusk.

But the landscape is stunning at sunset.  For years I’ve been trying to get to this region at the right hour to capture it.  I often see the sun setting in my rear view mirror and it takes my breath away.  This month I timed it almost right.DSCN8895.jpg
In a paddock between the small township of Kellerberrin and Merredin a lone tree stands.  I have photographed this tree many times and each time, it speaks the same message loud.  Against all odds, still standing tall.  The message  has become my daily mantra.DSCN8900.jpg
Between Doodlakine and salt lakes at Baandee Lake I had to stop in near darkness and take this photograph.  In the silence, the sky roared in colour, and soon it was dark.

There was a time I did not have the temerity to get out of my car to take photographs on this trip.  It is a lonely drive when the trucks have zoomed on.  I’m anxious to just get to my accommodation.  These pictures are special to me because the landscape, nature, spoke louder than my inner voice of anxiety.  I’m glad I listened to it.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

In response to:  A Photo a Week Challenge – Open Topic