Never smile at a crocodile …

I’m back from my trip to the East Kimberley region and jumping straight into the middle part of the journey.

It was predictably hot when we arrived but not humid, at least not late mid morning.  That was to come later the next day.  We rubber necked our way to the cabin on a walkway over a heat shrunken billabong.  The cabin was cool.  I kicked off my sandals and walked in bare feet to the tiled bathroom and promptly put my sandals back on!  The tiles were hot!  The toilet seat, on the other hand, deliciously warm!  And, best of all we were too early in the wet season, so there were no frogs in the toilet!

DSCN0021.jpgThe cabins were fantastic.  Clean and high among the tree canopy.  It was reasonably secure and no geckos indoors!  The place is so isolated.  The managers told us they never lock anything here so I threw caution to the winds and slept with the door unlocked.DSCN0020.jpgI woke early, too early, and headed to the walkway.  The billabong was alive with birds and wildlife.DSCN0075.jpgIn this harsh landscape the green in trees was vivid.DSCN0042.jpgAs was the jewel like emerald green in the tree ants.DSCN0083.jpgI’m not sure what this bird was.  Researching it online it seems similar to the Asian Koel.  But in the Kimberley?  I’m not sure.  It was black and navy blue with ruby eyes.DSCN0173.jpgHow’s this for perfect mirror image!DSCN0099.jpgIn this harsh landscape I found the most delicate jasmine like flowers on vines that entwined over the walkway.DSCN0055.jpgBelow me, a lone wallaby.  I watched it nervously, hoping the resident saltwater crocodile was having a snooze.DSCN0054.jpgI learnt later, this species is called ‘Pretty Face’ wallaby.  It has delicate shading and a white stripe across the jawline.DSCN0102.jpgThis bird was magnificent!  Some kind of pheasant I think.DSCN0198.jpgThe double barred finches swarmed water side.DSCN0087.jpgAs did the gouldian finches.  Their colours were less vivid than the ones I’ve seen before.DSCN0064.jpgSome had banana yellow beaks.DSCN0023At first I thought the tree was shedding leaves!

For me, there is no place like the Kimberley.  It is so different to any other place in Western Australia.  I needed to be here, even though, it was for just a short time.

From my walkway vantage point, I couldn’t help thinking, who says one can’t smile at a crocodile!  I know I did!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Touched by the sun

DSCN6406.jpgThe Gilbert’s dragon is known as the “ta ta” lizard and found in the hot Kimberley region, about 2000 km north of Perth.  They run across hot surfaces, pausing to lift one leg off the ground and wave to cool it. before doing the same with the other.  When not running and waving, they are still and bask in the sun.DSCN6401.jpgThe Welcome Swallows in Bunbury love the sun.  In the mornings, they seem to prefer to do this than fly.DSCN5454.jpgThen in Merredin, there’s the Magpie Lark, with the best vantage point in the gum tree to catch first light.DSCN6683.jpgThe young Pink Galah does not bask in anyone’s glory but its own as it gazes down at me at home.DSCN7643.jpgThere are honeymooners, basking in love, who race to kiss in dawn light, at Entrance Point, Broome.DSCN8203.jpgWhile this backpacker threw caution to the wind at Wyalup Rocky Point in Bunbury as she watched the sun go down alone.DSCN7520.jpgMuch like her I enjoyed my solitude at Cable Beach, Broome.thumb_IMG_3564_1024.jpgWhere I found, one heart warmed by sunshine, is better than an entwined pair scorched by rue.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, no longer on my mind

There was a time when life was predictable.  Workdays were neatly tucked between Monday and Friday.  Weekends were made for leisure and filled the gap before the cycle revved up again.

Not any more!

When I look at my schedule I often find, my weekends can suddenly appear in the middle of the week.  I like that!  I also know my lifestyle would be frenetic, if I didn’t fully appreciate what these opportunities gift to me.

Although I visit some towns and regions on a regular cycle, I also get the opportunity to travel to places and spaces I’ve never been to before, for example, driving between Carnarvon and Geraldton.DSCN9837The drive is on a lonely highway.  The solitude in magnificent landscape, exhilarating.DSCN9838.jpgWe stopped for a few minutes rest to stretch our legs when in the far distance my zoom caught something on the horizon.  So we drove towards it.DSCN9845.jpgThe memorial astonished us.  It was huge.  Did it start with just one stone?  How did people know it was here?DSCN9841.jpgAnd nearby a smaller, personalised memorial to loved ones, long passed.

They are honoured with typical Aussie humour with beer cans, a bikini top, garden gnomes, rubber thongs, fishing tackle, and even a camping frypan.  We stood for a few minutes in silent respect and walked away, knowing them better.DSCN9839As we left the area, in this desolate landscape a tree stood frozen.  A silent reminder, it once danced in the breeze.  So I take the cue.

My lifestyle now teaches me to take time out every single day to be with nature in one way or another, even on the busiest of days.  Yesterday I found I practiced this.

My overnight trip to Geraldton where flights were delayed for hours each way and a busy Friday meant I had no time for going out with camera.  As I arrived at the airport, I scanned the environment around me.  I could have seen cars and trolleys.  But no!

DSCN9150I found the wildflowers were still blooming in the fields around the airport.DSCN9152.jpgIn a stiff breeze, the flowers rustled.  It was music to my ears.

Far from being tired, I’m home, before I quick step again.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

Look this way!

Much like cyberspace, early morning in Big Swamp is noisy.  It is filled with tweets and squawks.

During my recent trip I found the air was filled with the high pitched squeaks of honeyeaters, the melodic songs of the Willy Wagtails, and the pained cry of the swamp hens as I approached.  The musk duck was being chased by another, the paddle speed of webbed feet on water, fast and furious.

I slowed my pace as I approached the boardwalk.  It is the intention, that slowing down of body and mind, that brings me here each time.DSCN9061.jpgI know the Welcome Swallows love sitting on the rails, facing the sun.  Sometimes they get used to my presence and accommodate my curiosity.  I’ve learned to extend the lens only when they look away, as movement is always a signal for flight.DSCN9089.jpgTo my surprise I found some Swallows on the ground near my feet. DSCN9091.jpgFear set aside, they were busy with nest building, focused on task.DSCN9115.jpgA slight movement from the corner of my eye caught my attention, a fairy blue wren darting and hopping among the foliage.  No matter how many times I see them, the flash of blue always makes my heart skip a beat.  DSCN9126.jpgThe male wren stood still for a moment.  So perfect.  It looked like an enamelled ornament, with blues upon blues found in sky and sea.DSCN9128.jpgIn contrast, the female’s beauty, is subtle.  Perhaps this is nature’s intention.DSCN9131.jpg While the male distracts she tends to her family, almost invisible, among debris.

Distraction is a powerful tool.  These tiny little creatures know this instinctively.  They use it for survival.

People in power know this too.

As I read today’s news headlines, I wonder …

Do we?

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Feels like home

I’ve just returned from Bunbury.  If there is no traffic, the drive there is a steady two hours on a straight freeway that becomes a major highway to the South West.  Monotonous if one perceives that to be.  Not me.  I know what awaits me there. DSCN9030.jpgI got to Bunbury just moments before the sun slipped into the Indian Ocean.  A moment of pause for me and others too it would seem.DSCN9079.jpgThis morning I was up early and headed to Big Swamp where the bottlebrush is blooming.DSCN9057.jpgAmong the reedy grass I caught a glimpse of a swamp hen chick, not yet purple, blue and red.DSCN9097The Welcome Swallow chick was a delightful ball of fluffy feathers.  It is so new, it didn’t know fear of me.DSCN8978.jpgThere were chicks every where making a silent call for food.DSCN8996.jpgA young New Holland honeyeater obliged with a moment of stillness.DSCN9125.jpgThen came the Splendid Blue Fairy Wren, in his gorgeous feathers of blue.DSCN9127.jpgAfter a frantic game of chase, he rested with his mate.DSCN9136.jpgOn the other side of the boardwalk, the big cormorant ignored my presence.  I’ve not seen this type of cormorant here before.  It sat on the branch for the whole of two hours I was there.  Probably still there!

I spend a couple of hours here each time I visit Bunbury.  Even the regular walkers now know me by face and update me on what’s new in the wetlands.

As the late Duchess of Windsor purportedly said, home is where the heart is, so this morning, home was here.

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