Life, precious life

I’ve just returned from a much anticipated trip.  I went to big country to look for small things.  I needed the contrast and dichotomy for my body and soul.

I was thrilled to find the tides at Cable Beach, Broome had left generous amounts of shells and sea debris on the shore.  I’ve visited the town at least a dozen times and found this phenomenon only twice so far.  It is the tail end of winter in Perth, so Broome and the Kimberley region is tourist time for backpackers, ‘grey nomads’ travelling in caravans and the well heeled to get away from the cold.  I belong to none of these groups.

I went because I want to live.

DSCN8799.jpgOn a beach that stretches for 22 kms, I peered through tiny coral windows and found life in minutae is what has added zest to my journey.DSCN8852.jpgI contemplated the fragility of life and the glue that holds it all together.DSCN8801.jpgI reflected on the foundations and layers we create within us, between us and for each other.  Do they support or divide?DSCN8884.jpgI found things that spoke to me.  Much like life, debris was once perfect and whole and …DSCN8876.jpgstill exquisitely beautiful.DSCN8873.jpgWe are given life.  But … it is a finite serve.DSCN8861.jpgI paused to reflect.  What’s my footprint, my legacy, that I leave on shore?DSCN8818.jpgThe glory of sunset at Cable Beach is seductive.  It is promoted as such and people come to catch their breath.DSCN8824But I also know the young boab tree at Town Beach, the opposite side of town at Roebuck Bay, is magnificent at sunrise.  So in Broome I catch my breath, at least twice a day.

I’ve returned home after an amazing trip.  I have more to share with you, perhaps later today, but for now, I’ll leave you with a thought.

We may think we choose our journey.  Not so.  We are given a journey but we are also given choice.  We choose how to travel it.  So, travel well.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

What is balance?

Early Sunday morning, coffee in hand, I listened to the rain in the dark.  Although winter has some special moments, I couldn’t help but smile to see it was getting lighter, earlier.  Spring is on the way.

On a recent trip to Esperance it was cold, too cold, to do much else other than stay indoors and warm.  I decided to do what I did years ago and went into the cyclical pattern of work, back to hotel to write reports, work again.  One and a half days of this and I was exhausted.  Something was missing in my life.  I went for a massage after work at the end of the second day.  The young Chinese girl worked hard at my poor “too tight muscles”.

The next morning the sun shone for a short while.  I dressed and went to Esperance Bay to catch daybreak.  Half an hour outdoors, and I was myself again.

DSCN8300.jpgI watched the sun rise beyond my favourite seat on the Bay.  DSCN8288.jpgAs day broke, I noticed the few days of storm surge had muddied the Bay, but did not steal the beauty.  DSCN8304.jpgAlthough I love this sculpture, I’m always disappointed, someone did not have the foresight to position this in a better place.  No matter which way you photograph it, there is always something that should not be in the background.  Beauty, misplaced.DSCN8320.jpgBut not at Woody Lake.  I found a wild clematis (I think) vine starting its journey across shrubs.  Yes, spring!DSCN8322.jpgAnd among the grass, scores of tiny yellow rumped thornbill, too quick, except for one.

I learned during this trip.  I’ve become accustomed to the mindfulness moments.  My body and mind needs this to function effectively.

And when I’m home, reflecting on these moments, does the same for me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Awakened

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes” is a quote by Carl Jung that resonates with me.

As I wrote in the previous post, as a child I merely looked through a window at a world that was and may have been.  I did not really experience it.  I do now.

While bush walking there is much to see, hear, smell, taste and touch.  It makes one alert to the sensory experience of being in the natural world.

Although this is big country with magnificent landscape, I’ve learnt to look for small things too.  So I’ll share some with you.DSCN8230.jpgI found a cluster of bell-like gum nuts at my feet.  Although they will not bloom like other similar blossoms, their beauty is more accessible, close up.  This is how it is meant to be, for some.DSCN8169.jpgI look for solitary things in nature.  Things that should belong together, but somehow fall away.  Their beauty is undiminished, in isolation.  For some, it takes effort to believe in this but when they do, the rewards are endless.DSCN8252.jpgI prefer not to touch an object before I photograph it.  I feel I need to respect the space where the object has come to rest.  It was there for a reason.  Things happen for a reason.  It is something I’ve come to respect about life, too.DSCN8243During this walk, I followed a trail of clover.  It was a delicate wreath that wound itself around a massive rock.  The dichotomy of strength and fragility, written in simple lines.  And, yes, they can co-exist, each not detracting beauty from the other.DSCN8233.jpgI know now, even green leaves fall away and come to rest until they disintegrate in the wind.  This is their journey, not mine.  The moment shared was finite.  So is life.DSCN8232.jpgSome are plain, beige, but sparkle best, when it rains.  I’ve come to learn some people rise to their adversity, and can land softly, among rocks.DSCN8076.jpgSome fade with a kaleidoscope explosion of colour.  The message is clear.  I was here once.DSCN8253.jpgWhile others, are golden, among green.  They signal season.  A time for everything, and everything, in time.

This is my time.

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

 

 

 

The path taken

I was offered my first job just after I completed my clinical placement at the agency.  I was given permanency and after years of being a ‘struggling single mom’, I thought I would never leave the security.  But, life had other plans for me.

I was tapped on the shoulder by another agency and offered a six month contract.  Having bought a new car a month earlier, I was reluctant to give up my permanent status so I asked my manager if I could take six months leave.  My request was denied on the grounds they did not think I would return.  The new agency paid 20K pa more.  The agency had a point.  But I was furious.  I wanted to extend my skills and saw the refusal as an obstruction to my career development.  I went back the next day and resigned.

At the end of the six month period, there was a job freeze and I started to panic.  I had a mortgage and a car loan!  Plus two little children in tow.  I did what I usually do in times like this, I placed my trust in a higher power.  I started a very limited business, just to ensure there was some income coming in.

In my last week of my contract, I was offered three jobs.  The path I took was not of my choosing.  I worked in an environment where I had to deal with unpredictable people but the pay was excellent and I had more freedom with my hours of work.  Although they were very young, my children recall those days of stress with dread.  But I learnt so much about my profession, people and myself and I developed a degree of resilience I didn’t know I had.

I reduced my work in government over the years and focused on my business.  I looked at templates and did a five year plan.  In three months, my business expanded to cover the whole state of Western Australia.  On reflection, the path I was given, is one I was meant to navigate.

As I come to the end of another financial year.  I’m so grateful for all the opportunities the past year has given me.  I’ve met amazing people, worked with great teams and seen so much more of this beautiful country I call home.

DSCN7486.jpgI’ve criss-crossed the Wheatbelt, a region of some 155,000 sq km.  I’ve been further north east and further east of east, than before.  The resilience of folks in farming communities is something that strikes me each time I visit.  It must be difficult under circumstances where the pastures are green with rain and then 50 kilometres down the down, they are still waiting for it.  People think in terms of community.  What can they do, to make a difference.  They are quick to minimize the role they play, often with a matter of fact, “Well! that’s what one does!”DSCN8710.jpgThen there was the Kimberley region.  Beautiful Kimberley, an area that covers some 422,000 sq km of ruggedness.  Broome, is a favourite town but there’s a special place in my heart for Kununurra, a place I want to visit again on holiday.  I’ve experienced joy in this town in the company of birds and the excitement of spotting my first freshwater crocodile.  There are gorges and ruggedness to explore, and when standing still, blue dragonflies to observe.thumb_IMG_3092_1024.jpgI’ve visited the Midwest more frequently than I have ever done in previous years.  It is larger area than the Kimberley at 472,000 plus square kilometers.  The stunning landscape of the Coral Coast is memorable.thumb_IMG_2342_1024The mining region of the Pilbara, in the heart of Western Australia cover over 500,000 square kilometers.  It is harsh, hot, and humbling country.  Oh! how I love that red dust! Driving across it in summer was a highlight for me.DSCN0757And who can forget the South West, nearly 24,000 sq km of beautiful food, wine, trails, forests and coastline.DSCN9797Last but not least, the Goldfields Esperance region, covers over 770,000 sq km.  Esperance is where I spend three consecutive nights each month, so naturally, it is my home away from home.thumb_IMG_3174_1024.jpg

Life on the road is rugged and unpredictable.  I can stay in a 5 star hotel or, like in the Wheatbelt, in a tiny demountable where I tripped onto the bed as soon as I opened the door.

Someone famously coined the phrase, “Life was not meant to be easy”.  Maybe so, but it can be fun and adventurous.  To navigate, you just have to follow the compass in your heart.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

My winter plans

I’ve been up since 4 am.  I’ve finished one report and hoping to complete another before I fly out again this afternoon.  It’s howling wind and rain outside while I’m enjoying my coffee and short break while anticipating the next few weeks.

I love the South-West region of our state in winter.  I have some work coming up near a tiny hamlet called Balingup.  I love this little place of less than 300 people.  The population is made up largely of retired professional folks who enjoy a tree change.  I always wanted to buy a small holiday home here but somehow never got around to it.  The place is known for its colourful scarecrows and an annual medieval festival.

DSCN8784.jpgRoadside in Balingup where wild freesias grow.

DSCN8791.jpgThen there’s Donnybrook.  Known for apples and orchards.  I have to spend a few days here and so looking forward to it.

DSCN2569.jpgOn the way to Margaret River, our premier wine country, I’m looking forward to a walk along Geographe Bay.  I’ve walked the 1.8 km Busselton Jetty and this time, weather permitting, visiting the underwater viewing area is on my list.

DSCN8579.jpgI always love Margaret River in winter.  A chalet, good cheese, a good red, blanket and book fireside, and I’m happy.  Of course, there’s also the added attraction of tiny wrens!

DSCN3482.jpgI’m hoping to find some time to walk in the Perth Hills.  I’m not sure what’s blooming at this time of year.  I’m never home to find out!  This picture and the next were taken in spring.

DSCN3484.jpgI know the coming weeks will bring moments of sheer joy.

Then, I’ll return home and share them with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird