Home, the sanctuary

Somewhere in the Midwest

Life has resumed, as I knew it once, or almost as. And if the social and travel restrictions have had an impact on me, it has only intensified my desire to travel and work. But there has been a shift.

As a child, as young as six, I knew I wanted to break free of cultural expectations imposed on me. I wanted that open road ahead of me where I made my own choices. That feeling is still fresh and alive. But it came at a cost. As I filled in my life with work and my own choices, it left little space for meaningful relationships. I regarded them as a roadblock to where I wanted to be, of course, despite the destination being unknown.

For nearly seven years I have lived out of a suitcase because of frequent travel and returning to a house that has been under constant renovation. Now I can see the end in sight. I have many people who have contributed to this and in many ways have rescued me from myself on some level. My lovely old builder who had my house keys for years and worked to my schedule and budget with utmost patience. The handyman who refuses to accept his fee whenever he visits and gives me a generous discount despite my protests. Oh! how he loves to tell me about his life and give me tips on Italian recipes and, being a former butcher, the best cuts of meat to buy! Then there’s the painter with the most amazing eye for detail and a passion for golf. Last week he left a speck of blood near the ceiling (some 15 ft high) but was determined to fix it. With the scaffolding gone, he left me holding the ladder while he hyperventilated his way to the top! Now the internal painting is nearly completed and the house indoors is taking shape. To live comfortably, I am culling ruthlessly. Keeping stuff for sentimental reasons is perhaps a developmental phase. We reach a certain point in our lives when discarding is healthy. With fewer memories to hoard, I find myself creating new spaces to live in. Life, not space, has become a sanctuary.

To have someone enter my chosen lifestyle not to take up space, but to create space for me, is a sense of elation I have not experienced in years. This morning I woke to a darkened home. Outside there was a patch of moonshine highlighting the beginnings of the ‘writing space’. A gift I will treasure because the creativity and thought that went into this. Labelling that area of the garden as my ‘writing space’ and creating it with that purpose in mind is perceptive and thoughtful. The ‘creator’ would have known I am not someone who relaxes with a magazine. I sit and write.

That open road now has a destination. I will no longer return to my house after each trip. I will return home.

May you find your journey today leads to your home of choice.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Tuesday – Rescue

Heart Mosiac

At that fluid edge
I collect pieces
chips, fragments, remnants
insert randomly
create storm cloud pathways
a mosiac, familiar to me
The way forward
is the way back
diverting, mending
unpicking threads of thoughts
that bind tightly
loosening, discarding
letting go,
letting in
forging the path ahead
where I want to be
with clarity.

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Saturday – The Path Ahead

When fuses are lit …

Full moon, Diggers Rest, Wyndham, Western Australia

Sexual attraction, that indefinable energy, that surfaces silently and generates a force of its own, and much like the moon, has the power to move oceans.

Does one normalize this clinically as a biological instinct?

Or does romanticize this as an unmissable magic carpet ride?

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Friday – Normal

See, with me

I’m not sure whether it is the case what the heart feels, the eye sees or vice versa.  Both are applicable to my experience of photography.  With camera in hand my world took on new meaning.  Solitary in my pursuits, it drew others in.  Nothing grounds me as much as the focus on photographing something that catches my eye.  When I see something I get a visceral response and photographing it just intensifies the experience of the moment.DSCN5254
West Beach, Esperance, Western Australia
The young fearless surfers at West Beach are a delight to photograph and one of my favourite places to visit in Esperance.  I love reflecting how analogous surfing is to life’s journey – the waiting, the patience, the moment of poise when you stand firm on fluid ground and let the wave bring you to shore.  And then … you go out to experience the same again.DSCN8464
One of my favourite native shrubs is grevillea.  The birds love it too.  To my eye they are perfection, each loop, part of the whole.DSCN9085Pelicans capture my heart as much as sea gulls.  Large and ungainly, I love how pelicans descend on water, with the grace of a perfect flight landing.DSCN8526
Town Beach, Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia
When I retire I want just enough money to enable me to travel to this beach on a regular basis.  Watching hues tint the sky, at sunrise or sunset, is like watching an artist at work.DSCN8709
Paraburdoo, Pilbara mining region, Western Australia
I love the mining regions of Western Australia.  The earth is a rich red, contrasting pale spinifex, ranges and the awesome landscape that demands one is still in it’s presence.thumb_IMG_5421_1024
My front garden is laden with roses at certain times of the year and at other times, there are roses.  After a rain shower, oh, the perfume!thumb_IMG_3600_1024
I use this cape gooseberry encased in the filigree paper like lantern as part of my meditation.  When I want to extinguish an undesired behaviour, I envisage new pathways emerging in the delicacy of my brain.thumb_IMG_3593_1024
Who can resist the attraction of unconditional love?  Not me!  This is the day Kovu became part of my son’s family and like a doting grandpawrent, I was there to document family history 🙂

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Wednesday – Visual

With my game face on …

Ivanhoe Crossing, Kununurra, Kimberley region, Western Australia

The Ord River, lifeline of the fruit growing region in Kununurra where there are km after km of mango groves, is magnificent in full flow.  As I drove up here, some 8-10 kms out of Kununurra, I could hear the water but was unprepared to see the force of it.  There is a curved sealed low bridge road that one can drive across the river when it is not flooded and some do attempt to drive across when it is.  I’ve also seen folks fishing, standing in these waters where there are saltwater crocodiles.  On one trip there was a couple knee deep standing on the road and fishing off it.  He left his partner in the middle and walked toward us.  I asked him if he was local, he said no so we warned him about the crocs.  He glanced around and said, “haven’t seen any today”.  Such stupidity is breathtaking.  A few minutes later a couple of rangers came up to the site and directed the couple to another safer fishing spot.  The rangers just shook their heads while these folks packed up.  I’m not sure whether their casual attitude was stupidity or bravado.  I’ve photographed crocodiles in a croc park and they are lightening quick.  I managed to get some beautiful shots only because I was startled!

I’ve walked along here a few times and have been here on my own.  I just love it.  The birdlife here is pretty amazing.  Big water birds sail these waters with ease.  To be an observer of this force is a humbling experience.  Nature does this.  The added bonus is a mango farm on the way here that sells the most delicious mango ice cream and milkshakes.

Oh! I’m missing travel and being outdoors so very much!  My days are a roller coaster of emotions.  I feel vulnerable some days and others, stronger and resolved.  I question myself whether I could have appreciated my experiences more than I did.  Is it really possible?  Ever hopeful, I guess I’ll only know once I travel again.

I love the anonymity travel gives me.  I am often in small towns where no one knows my name and yet I have never felt lonely.  Here in the city, I am consumed by a sense of being alone, so I put my game face on and plod through another day.  I have always believed feeling lonely when in company, is a crushing feeling.  I find walking through supermarkets or shops an unnerving experience.  The automatic response of putting distance between folks is unsettling.  I have a massage several times a month.  I am an affectionate person with those I love so I have skin hunger like nothing I have experienced before!  When I’m home alone working I’m oblivious to it.  But if I go out and return home, it takes a while for me to settle into my skin so I plan each day, each week carefully.

During the day the sounds in my neighbourhood are a comfort.  Children practicing their piano or wind instrument.  The low hum of neighbours’ voices.  The hammering, the lawn mowing, dogs barking.  But the odd feeling of presence amid absence is disconcerting.  I feel a pang of guilt writing this post when there is such pain around the world but on second thoughts I felt it was important to look at the human experience of this at a subjective level.  If I cannot access this in myself, I know I will not be able to understand it in others.

I’ve decided to stagger whatever work that remains to be done to the home.  It feels good to have someone around.  I’ve found a good gardener who is enthusiastic about rejuvenating my garden.  Once it is established, I know it will be a healing space.  And, don’t we all need this?

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Tuesday – Bravado


Rainbow lorikeet, in my garden

Being home has given me the opportunity to get my house and garden close enough to what I envisaged when I bought the property.  I’ve had time to build up my ‘little black book’ and struck gold.  I now have a small group of good tradesmen who are able to help me realise my dream.

With most of the internal building renovations done and just painting and window treatments left indoors, I’m enjoying moments in the garden trying to dream up a space that will keep me grounded.  I was toying with the idea of getting rid of the big mulberry tree.  I get barely a cup of fruit from lower branches and a laden, tall tree is tantalizing to others too, it would seem.  Sadly cockroaches love the fruit and when the fruiting season is done, they try and come indoors.  I abhor cockroaches enough to contemplate, for a brief moment, to cut down the tree.

Last evening at dusk I heard the rainbow lorikeets outside my study window.  They love the mulberry tree.  Then I remembered what a serendipitous moment feels like, and it made my heart beat to a new rhythm again.

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Monday – Flutter

Standing still

Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia

The moon and the sea conspired
and the tide came in with a rush
with nowhere to hide
I stood still
along with Mother Earth
to take it all in

The force of the water was intense
relentless in its pursuit
stopped me in my tracks
and like the ebb and flow of tides
the force lead me back, to where I had been

In the ivory tower, I let the silence infiltrate
in that space of disquiet
as I watched the scaffolding break away
and crash around me when,
the sledge hammer blows stopped

The clarity of reality is never easy
it takes a brave heart to know this
so I dared to go where angels fear to tread
and I now know
I am braver for having done this

the timing has been impeccable,
breathtaking even
there is no escaping my truth
still standing is not my catchcry
it was never my destiny
but standing still, is

This moment in time may be fleeting
or it may be longer
so experiencing it, as is, a necessity
it gives me clarity to a new reality

My path may be forged in silver
and tactile as silk
but the delicacy of the filigree
lies in the Force
that made me stand still.

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Monday – Impeccable

Where the heart is …

I moved into my home about six or seven years ago and have not yet unpacked most of my belongings.

I refuse to give into the blah of changed circumstances and decided this morning to order a bigger skip for next week and start culling.  There are suitcases and boxes in the garage to be unpacked, sorted and thrown away.  Magazines, recipes books and hundreds of children’s story books have to be sorted.  I still have the Tonka Truck I gave my son for his first birthday and can’t bear to part with it 27 years later.  Children’s puzzles, old video games, DVD players.  Oh! the accumulation of trivia and technology.  All will go.  Except the Tonka Truck.

I sat on the sofa today and looked around my home.  There is so much stuff that can be discarded and I would not miss it.

Willy Wagtail, Bunbury wetlands, Western Australia

I’m hoping during this self-imposed isolation I will catch up on reports and get my home into shape.  These are my priorities.

When I moved into this house I promised myself there would be no ‘junk room’.  Each room would have a purpose.  My home would be a home where I nest.  Birds do this well.  I plan to do the same.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Saturday – Habitat

On facing crisis – a reflection

It is ironic, my last trip (most likely) for the year was to Geraldton where on the outskirts, in the hamlet of Greenough, is the graceful and iconic Leaning Tree.  I never fail to stop and take a picture of the tree each time I drive past.  It is also ironic that I found a picture that was taken on a gloomy day.  It should have dampened my spirit, when the world has changed so drastically.  Behind each statistic is a person, a family, a community and the reach of this health and economic crisis, is sobering.11043286_951275048218091_1381120800650411949_o
The Leaning Tree, Greenough, Western Australia
Like those who work with people face to face, be it in hospitality or hospital etc, our work lives have changed, at least for the foreseeable future.  The news from one agency, midway through my trip, was to cease operations as we know it.  On the last day of my work in a new agency, we were advised there would be no work until further notice.

After the initial shock of severe financial restrictions, I did what is promoted as a step to maintaining good well being.  In times of crisis return to normalcy as soon as one can.  I sat in the quiet of my hotel room and made a list of priorities.  I usually make a list at night of tasks that I need to tackle the following day but this list was different.  I found I needed to take charge.

The first thing I did was to email the bank and accountant to advise them I would not have my usual income this year.  The bank representative did her homework before returning my call.  She reassured me all was well on that front and they made some allowances that will be helpful should I need it.  It was the biggest relief and allowed me to think more clearly about other matters.

I returned to Perth to empty shops.  The mad panic seems to have subsided or perhaps people are staying home, which is a good thing.  It felt like I was over-shopping and I had to remind myself I usually shop for a day but now I was shopping for a fortnight.

Like the Leaning Tree growth continues when one is bent, but not broken.  I’ve found some positives in going back to basics. It’s all about perspective.  thumb_IMG_1572_1024
Hotel room art, Geraldton, Western Australia
Being grounded in reality is one thing, but we can paint and re-paint the picture in broader and brighter strokes.  Adults can come up with something more abstract and even when broken and distorted, the picture emerges and one finds meaning in it.thumb_IMG_1352_1024The Rainbow Tree, children’s artwork, school in the Midwest, Western Australia
Children, on the other hand, take from what is familiar and make it their own.  I experienced a deep sense of joy when I stood in front of this artwork.  All those discarded buttons from old clothing, the vision of a rainbow instead of a bent, old tree.  The earth coming up to greet it.  To me this is a portrait of a celebration.  Oh! the eyes and heart of a child!

So I share three pictures with you today of gloomy reality, abstract thinking and of creativity.  I know which one I love best!  So I’m channeling my inner child.

I’m going back to where comfort is.  I read in posts, most of us are doing this too.

I’m enjoying cooking.  I’m stewing fruit.  I’m making sauces and pastes.  My home smells like a home.

My home is being spring cleaned.  All those chores that never find a higher priority are being attended to.  I am culling and discarding what I don’t use or need.

There is incense burning and with it, brings a presence.  Together, we are one. 

My faith has never been stronger as I face an unpredictable financial future.

Take care of yourself and each other.  Think of others.  Offer a kind word to the elderly who seem so worried and alone.  Your smile or gesture may make a world of difference to them.  Be the difference.

Anxiety negatively impacts the immune system.  Keep calm.  Calmness can be contagious too.

Look and read the ‘news headlines’ within.  That’s where you’ll find a stronger and resilient you.

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RPD – Saturday – Looking Within