“To thine own self, be true …”

There was no other quotation other than from Shakespeare that seemed to fit my reflections this morning because my life felt like a Shakespearean tragedy just a short time ago.

I walked around my garden this morning and found what I was seeking for in the eye of the young dove. Peace, stillness, connection, understanding, clarity.

What I am about to share goes back some two months. No. Further back. I have been busy caring for other people and living life with no sense of accountability to self. I have a paid a price for this.

If I were to pinpoint a time frame it is at least two or three years ago when I first started feeling pain. I put it down to computer work, fatigue, frequent travel (means different beds and pillows) and with each year I feel I discover a new bone in my body. So I ignored the pain and got on with life.

December was devastating. My healthy brother in law passed away suddenly and as his children had to return from overseas and quarantine, the funeral took place a month later. I was unable to attend his funeral in the Eastern States, due to travel restrictions.

The stress of this while supporting family caught me off guard. I woke one morning with one hand so swollen, it resembled a boxing glove. The pain was horrendous. Unable to dress I waited a few days before seeing my doctor. He barely looked at my hand, dismissed it as part of aging and told me to take anti inflammatory medication (which don’t agree with me). Refusing that option, he felt he could not offer me anything else and told me to use warmth in some form to soothe the pain. Two weeks later I went to another doctor (female) who sent me for a blood test which confirmed an auto immune disorder. I went into a tailspin as I know the medications that will be prescribed are not what I want in my body.

I read up on the condition as much as I could, stress is a major contributor. So I set about changing my schedule and my thinking. My accountant, bless his cotton socks, is a wannabe natural health healer. While talking to him he told me about a product he sells, a magnetic wrist band. Not wanting to take pain medication and non functional without them, I was willing to give it a try. Within 24 hours the swelling had become hardly noticeable. Two days in, I was not taking any analgesics or topical pain relief. A week on, I can close my hand into a fist. Yesterday I lifted a glass because power in my thumb had returned. I can dress. I can lift shopping bags. I can type. I am nearly 100% functional again.

It made me think this morning … why do we wait for a crisis before putting self-care as a priority? This is true for all genders. We give others the best of our qualities. Why don’t we share those qualities with self?

So it is my mission this year to ask the question: what have you done to improve the quality of your life, today?

Until next time

As always

a dawnbird

In response to RDP – Accountability

A month of rainbows – May 2020

It’s been a month of firsts. The first time of staying home for weeks on end and self imposed isolation, so the thrill of gaining essential worker status was genuine. I was needed in the Midwest and my ‘pass’ to move between restricted regions due to the COVID 19 lockdown meant I could travel again.

With limited flights I had to drive over 400 kms to Geraldton. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive with loud playlist for company. When stopped by the cops at checkpoint their laughter was genuine when I beamed and said I was travelling for work.

As we had to travel further north we had to fly in a small chartered plane. I was with two other colleagues and I was dreading it, but it turned out to be one of the best flights I have ever been on.

The first sight of Carnarvon is always wonderful. I never miss a chance to drive from town to Pelican Point. The sand dunes here are beautiful.
River gums trees are now synonymous with Carnarvon. I love the textured trunk and colours of the bark.
We drove past wonderful landscaped agricultural fields, just waiting to be seeded.
Our early morning starts were spectacular. Coffee, good company, laughter and an eagerness to get back to work, the perfect elixir.
Oh! those wide open spaces!
And the threat of the worst storm Western Australia experienced in a decade loomed. The dust from the fields added to the ambience when the storm hit. I was without power for ten hours in the hotel room. So I watched nature unleash fury. Oddly enough, it made me calmer.
No trip to Geraldton is complete without a stop at St Georges Beach at Champion Bay.
I also spent some time in Northampton, an old agricultural town.
I love these old buildings.
One of my colleagues grew up here and I had to laugh when she told me behind this building is Lavender Lane. Apparently every old town had a Lavender Lane. It is a euphemism as the lane was intended for the cart to come and collect the waste from outdoor toilets, before the days of modern toilets.
I drove under the arc of rainbows several times.
And found them in my suburb too on my return home.
But the most beautiful rainbow was the one over my home, and the rainbeau I found at the foot of my driveway. As they say, when you are least expecting it, ‘it’ happens.

With autumn behind, all I can say is, move over winter … I’m ready for spring.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to The Changing Seasons – May 2020

Changing Seasons: End of summer 2020

It’s the last day of February, being a leap year, summer has lasted a day longer.  Today the sun is already out and it is warm.  My washing is done and on the line.  I needed this.  Yesterday at this hour the sky was filled with resounding thunder and lightening flashed vertical in blinding stripes.  The Australian summer used to be days at the beach, Sunday afternoons at the pub, watching 60 Minutes at night.  But now we seem to be keeping an eye on the weather reports more often these days.  The days have been wildly different and with some feeling like the wrath of winter.

February also meant I returned to work in all the regions I visit frequently.  This may be my last year I travel to some sites and I feel a sense of sadness about it.  But new openings are on offer, so I’m excited for 2021 and open to all that brings into my life.

Frequent travel comes at a cost, mostly relationships suffer and inevitably come to an end.  It is a lingering sadness.  It has been difficult for me to give up this lifestyle for anybody.  I love what I do and I love doing it.  I was born to do outreach work and it is a good fit for me.  The joy of knowing one has made a difference is addictive and not easy to explain to others.  This is my pathway in life and I embrace it, alone or perhaps one day, with someone with a similar understanding of it.DSCN9985
Between Williams and Narrogin, Wheatbelt region, Western Australia
I’ve been to Narrogin twice this year but bypassed my favourite reserve Foxes Lair either due to heat or high winds.  With tall gum trees and one way road, I didn’t want to be trapped there, so I spent my time looking at the paddocks that will filled with sheep and wide horizons.DSCN9923
Geographe Bay, Busselton, Western Australia
I started my year in the South West.  This is one of my favourite places for an early walk or sunset spot.  I’m visiting again next month and looking forward to my time there.DSCN7306
River gums, Carnarvon, Western Australia
This year I discovered an enchanted forest of river gums along the Gascoyne River in Carnarvon and standing alongside it, felt like an embrace.DSCN7268
Gascoyne River at Rocky Pool, Western Australia
Then there was my trip to a cattle station outside Carnarvon.  Such a fabulous trip on previously untravelled roads.  These colours of the Midwest outback quicken my pulse.  If one painted it, the art would look garish, but Nature does it so well.DSCN7196
Sand dunes, Pelican Point, Carnarvon, Western Australia
I always love photographing the sand dunes at Pelican Point where the wind writes lines like every author aspires to.DSCN7200
A wake up call!  Sand dunes, Carnarvon, Western Australia
I usually stay in the car at Pelican Point.  It is usually very windy and the sand is blinding.  This time I walked around and thought I saw driftwood.  I was wrong!DSCN7045
Australian avocet, Woody Lake, Esperance, Western Australia
In Esperance I saw my first Australian avocet, it was the only avocet among dozens of other birds and different species.  I was fascinated by the curved, delicate beak that it swept from side to side in shallow water to feed.DSCN7059
The end!

My diary for March is full.  No doubt, there will be a lot of opportunities for more time outdoors as well.  That’s how I’ve come to accept the gruelling schedule, work equates photography.  And, I’m happy with that!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to The Changing Seasons

Journey with me to the outback

Do you recall Newton’s Cradle, those tiny steel spheres that pinged each time they made contact and gathered momentum?  I like using that as an analogy when working with a particular colleague.

As a team, my colleague and I work to this energy, and this post is a recount of our latest journey into the outback …

Buckle up, it is a long post with pictures and my first attempt at posting a video.

The plane to Carnarvon is a small 34 seater and luggage allowance is strictly adhered to.  I needed to take more equipment on this trip, so I was preoccupied with packing as having my luggage off loaded was not an option.  With all the packing and unpacking, I forgot to complete my online check in and to my dismay at the airport, found I was seated over the wing.  The worst possible seat when I’m flying over the beautiful seascape of Shark Bay!  Onboard the crew was someone I’ve known for some years; I toyed with the idea of asking her if I could change my seat then decided against it.  Some seats were empty and no doubt weight distribution was factored in where folks were allocated.  I settled in and slept for an hour of the two hour flight.

On a previous trip to Carnarvon everywhere I went, the locals would say it was too bad I couldn’t stay another day because the river was due to arrive.  I did not really understand what they meant and assumed it was a euphemism for rain, this being an agricultural town, the State’s ‘salad bowl’.  This trip I was in Carnarvon for the event the town anticipates so much, despite having no recent rain.

As we approached Carnarvon I glimpsed a trickle of water in the otherwise dry bed of the mighty Gascoyne River.  It shimmered like burnished copper. But, nothing could have prepared me for the force of it.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1900The talk of the day among locals was how high the river had risen every time they checked their phone either in the office or cafe.  A colleague suggested driving out to Nine Mile Bridge where there was a small lookout over the River, so I went with someone familiar with the area at the end of the day.  Their excitement was contagious, but we looked on in awe for different reasons. DSCN7293My excitement was embedded in the fact this water was the rains that came from a cyclone further north.  Muddy red, it carried the heart of the Pilbara mining region, a link that generated a visceral response.  With the Gascoyne River being the longest river in Western Australia (nearly 900 kms or 500 plus miles) from Ranges to the sea, it is a spectacular sight to see in motion, the power of it made me step back and away from it.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a3dDSCN7290The night before we drove out to a cattle station I could not sleep with excitement, and like an unsettled infant, woke every two hours.  The instructions we were given were literally the proverbial ‘mud map’.  There was no phone coverage either for the last part of our journey.  My colleague brought her esky and we filled it with sandwiches, fruit and lots of water.  We wore casual clothing and sturdy shoes.  We grinned at the road ahead and left town early morning all set for an adventure on roads neither of us had travelled before.  Just as well we took food, the station was expecting floods and everything was placed on higher ground.  UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a20The road we turned off from the major highway was signposted.  The ink ran dry from there on.  We saw some petrol tins on wooden stakes, no doubt, meaningful to someone but for us it left more questions than answers.  Every few kms we hoped we were on the right track, and track it was, unsealed and deeply corrugated as rain had come through the area but not yet reached Carnarvon.  The last 20 kms was an especially bone-crunching drive as we bounced in the cabin, our voices becoming high pitched or subdued, every time a jolt took us by surprise. UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a3aThe family was expecting us and told us if we did not show up at the homestead within the designated time frame they would come out to look for us.  I wasn’t sure if I felt reassured by this!  We were, in Australian vernacular, beyond the black stump.  We did see some cattle along the way.  It is mustering season so we were somewhat reassured, although we could not see anyone or hear any mustering choppers, there were people around some where in this vast landscape.  No landmarks to guide us but the straight track, we reasoned, it had to lead to the cattle station and it did.  Eventually.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a2aThe homestead was a lovely period building, brick, fibro and tin but being a private home, I did not take photographs.  The high ceilings kept the temperature cool indoors and the rooms were dark.  We could not see what we were doing so we sat on the verandah under a tin roof for several hours.  It was hot and beads of perspiration slid down the length of my spine.  I could not help noticing there were several shovels scattered around the verandah.  With no garden in sight, the owner confirmed, they were kept handy and within reach, for killing snakes!  If nothing else convinced us, this did.  We were in the outback.

Concentrating on work for hours made us hungry as we headed back to Carnarvon.  We were told there was a picnic spot en route, closer to town, and we decided to have our lunch there.  Beautiful it was, but in the heat and no shade, we sat in the 4WD on the banks of Rocky Pool and watched the Gascoyne River flow.  We ate our lunch in silence, and took it all in.  I feel lucky to travel to these parts with a colleague who appreciates this in silence, like I do.


DSCN7265DSCN7260It is difficult to put into words what the outback feels like.  It is harsh and unforgiving country.  Yet it is brimming with life of what one can see and it feels like one can experience the unseen.  There is a spiritual ambience to it.  It floats among twisted trees, swirling waters and skims sandy banks, with a softness that is tangible.  This is ancient country.  It envelopes one if you let it.  It is not a landscape one sees.  It is a landscape, a country, one experiences.  It is now part of me as I am of it.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a41Later that evening, back in Carnarvon, we walked to the local pub so we could have a drink or two with our meal to celebrate our adventure.  Sunset looked promising.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1a45We walked back to the hotel along the Fascine after dark, where the sunset a couple of hours earlier had been beautiful.  I slept fitfully from exhaustion and excitement.

I’ve had an amazing trip despite the discomfort of heat and persistent flies and we worked non-stop.  I’m even more convinced now than ever before, I’m no city worker.  An office space does not cut it for me anymore.  Give me dust especially the red dust of the north, the stuff that is powder fine and gets into everything.  Wearing white is never an option in these parts.  Wildly patterned clothing hides a multitude of sins.  I know this because I sat on the sofa in the dark and on a plate of cold watermelon!

I woke each morning while I was away convinced I made the right choice years ago to forge my own path.  It is definitely a road less travelled, and now, I’ve left my footprint on it.

This is by no means the last trip.  Yes Newton’s Cradle comes to mind, again.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to FOWC with Fandango – Momentum

I could turn vegan for this …

Eggplant!  One of my favourite vegetables!  Believe it or not, there was a time I looked forward to my trips to Kalgoorlie in the Goldfields region because dinner on the first night was an eggplant stack.  True!  Three pieces of eggplant stacked, fresh tomato sauce topped with cashew nut cream and a sprinkle of pine nuts.  I didn’t regard it as such then, but a truly delicious vegan meal.  But it took only a couple of trips to undo my enjoyment.  The first time, my order was obviously sitting around waiting to be delivered to my room.  It came cold.  I sent it back.  The young waiter who picked it up was insolent when I complained, did not apologise but said, “everyone has off days”.  Maybe.  But when I arrived tired and hungry, and paid $34 for the meal, I expected someone to be on pointe.  The second time, after a change in management, my ‘stack’ arrived horizontal in a fancy spread on a smear of processed sauce and cashew nut cream nowhere to be seen.  It didn’t look or taste the same.  Sigh!

Things happen for a reason.  This I know to be true.

Instead of staying in the hotel with room service I started to go into town for my meals and ventured further.  Kalgoorlie, a gold mining town, has gorgeous buildings.  The streets are wide from the days of wagons.  At dusk the light catches the old buildings.  I’m looking forward to experiencing that again as my plan in 2020 is to focus on architecture in the regions I visit.  But there was a time when I woke really early and before I got to work, went out with camera.DSCN8839
Mt Charlotte, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia
The sunrise over the gold mine viewed from Mt Charlotte is stunning.  I would often be in the car park of the lookout by myself.  I’ve not done this in a while and need to experience this again.DSCN8818
Freight train from the gold mine, Kalgoorlie
I grew up in a town of trains.  The sound of clickety-clack  is synonymous with childhood.  It is a sound I often hear in the Wheatbelt or mining towns.  It is soothing and reassuring as a heartbeat.

Perhaps this is why I was an indulgent mother to a young son and bought him over 100 Thomas the Tank trains!  When he was very little I remember taking him to toy train exhibitions and was enthralled by the exquisite train sets grown men obviously enjoyed putting together.  I’ve moved on from there.  I now enjoy watching grown men.  🙂DSCN8827
Mt Charlotte
This is obviously lush for the Goldfields regions.  It is a memory from one winter.  In winter the temperature drops suddenly around 4 pm and being open country, the extremes are harsh.  I’m headed to the Goldfields today.  The temperature is expected to be in the high 30sC.  It will be uncomfortable.  But I have other things to look forward to … perhaps eggplant will be one of them!  What I do know is that I am drawn to the parks with my camera …DSCN8853
Book-leaf mallee (eucalyptus kruseana)
I love photographing the untidy shrub that is the book-leaf mallee.  The honey eaters love this shrub.  Their birdsong is sharp and sweet and only overshadowed by the perfection I see when the shrub is looked at closely.DSCN8806
The leaves are perfectly placed and symmetrical.  DSCN8562
And from such an untidy shrub, the most delicate and beautiful gum blossoms.  What’s not to love about this!

So I’m back to where I started this post … I’ve been mostly vegan since November.  I thought I would miss eating cheese, red meat and bacon.  Oddly enough my body has adjusted really quickly.  I no longer crave it.  When I do eat those foods, my body screams in protest.

In this frenetic lifestyle that is of my own making, I love order and predictability.  I try and seek it in different ways.  So as this is my first trip for the year to the region, it’s quite possible I’ll go full circle and order eggplant again!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Tuesday – Eggplant

FPQ #52: It’s all about choice

Sunrise, Dempster Head, West Beach, Esperance, Western Australia

I’ve always enjoyed reflecting on Fandango’s Provocative Questions in the past but I don’t believe I’ve participated before, for a variety of reasons, mostly to do with lack of time.  But as we head towards the end of the year, Fandango’s prompt made me stop and reflect on the question.

What does living “the good life” mean to you? Do you think that you’re living “the good life”?

For me, ‘a good life’ is one of choice.  The ability and means to choose how one wants to live.  Having lived on a tight budget as a single parent with young children for many, many years, I am in a better place now.  Years of hard work and study have paid off dividends.  I can choose to work … or not.  The fact that I choose to work is a good life for me, because it is filled with the unknown and adventure.

From the age of eleven I wanted to do outreach work.  My mother’s mantra of giving back to the community still resonates strongly.  I’m now in a position to do just that.  And, yes, frequent travel is gruelling and believe it or not, I don’t like flying.

The State of Western Australia is the combined size of Texas and Alaska.  Although most of the two million plus folks live along the coast, there are areas where people live in the inland towns, and even desert.  I can work in uncomfortable conditions of extreme heat and less than interesting facilities.  My choice of food is limited in some towns to greasy foods only.   Salad and fruit belong to the exotic category.  Sometimes there is no time to eat all day, and a crumbled muesli bar in one’s pocket, is the meal of the day.  The beds are always clean, but ordinary.  The air con does not always work in hotels where the only stars that are associated with the hotel, are the ones in the night sky.

But …

The days of power dressing is a distance past.  I now dress for comfort and there is freedom in this.  I enjoy working with teams dedicated to providing an outreach service to families.  Our collective commitment and sense of humour in difficult conditions, is always a bonus.  Bumping into another team in the most unexpected place like an outback pub, has the warmth of family at Christmas.  I visit well known tourists spots like beautiful Esperance every month.  Or, the most amazing off the tourist track places. The folks we visit are always so grateful for the service provided.  It is rare for my colleague and I not to smile and say, “that was a good trip!” as we leave town.

Like most, yes there are burdens and sadness, for me too.  The city is where I feel ‘an absence’ the most.  I never thought I would be in a position one day where I would chose to be single.  But, I made the choice and I embrace it as all roads have led to here.  I love the wide open spaces best, be it coast or outback.  The feeling of being small in a big world is oddly comforting and lessens any burden I may have.  It is moments like this, when I know I live the good life.  And, it has come about because of the choices I have made.

Thanks Fandango … I needed to reflect on this.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


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.
Where birds comes to visit me for a change.
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.
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

I see real people …

In the last few days I’ve worked between Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie.  For some this landscape is just bush and an ordinary, long drive.  Nothingness, even. thumb_IMG_0512_1024.jpg Given the gold rush history of these towns, and all that came before, this is vibrant landscape to me.thumb_IMG_E0513_1024.jpg
I had to stop road side as the mulla mulla bloomed bright.thumb_IMG_0515_1024
And when leaving the Goldfields, depending on my mood, I am saddened by the big, open cut gold mine that scars this landscape.  At other times, I am fascinated by the activity here.  On this trip, I had mixed emotions.

My schedule was busy, as it usually is, in these parts.  It is rare for people to cancel.  I walked across a still warm car park and past the bank of white flowers.  The perfume took me by surprise.  I stopped to adjust my luggage just so I could take another deep breath.  I walked into the terminal and was blasted by the aroma of pizza and beer.  There is a celebration just about every corner.  I had forgotten it was Melbourne Cup day, a horse race that stops a nation, but not me.  I was on the road between two historic mining towns.  I suddenly realised I had not eaten all day.  I had another three hours before getting home.  The crowd around the small bar/cafe too big for me to be served before my flight took off.  I had nothing else to do but distract myself.  This is no fancy lifestyle but it makes up in other ways.

I ended up getting a window seat at the back.  Not the best spot.  It is boozy back there.  A young, muscled, tattooed man sits in the middle seat.  He is polite and with a heavy accent, I strain to understand him as we settle down to being strangers again.  The plane is full and as the last stragglers get on board he erupts in greeting to someone down the aisle.  Turns out they will be seated together.  Fist pumps and mates, they share their journeys since they last worked together.  I try to distract my hunger by counting how many times his mate uses the f word and give up because he breathes it.  The young man seated at the end of my row is hilarious and I stifle my laughter as he yells out to another mate, a few rows down, “Hey! Princess!”  I could just see him as a young child in a classroom, a teacher’s nightmare!  His life is an open book and all those within earshot are welcomed to thumb through the pages.  With a recent break up behind him, his polite mate asks if he lives near his ex.  He responds, “as long as there’s a bank between us, it will be too close” and then roaring with laughter tempers this, “nah! it’s all good!”  I believe him, it’s all good.  There’s not a trace of malice or regret in response.

The plane landed with an almighty thud and to a roar of “FAAAARK!” shouted in unison.  These tough, hard working blokes were not impressed and I had to smile when someone was convinced the landing had fixed his dodgy knee surgery!  As we ready to disembark, I lean forward for my bag when I make eye contact with the young man at the end of my row.  His face is tanned red, his bushy beard is redder, his eyes brighter blue than a Goldfields sky.  For a brief moment he is subdued and in a quieter voice very politely says to me, “Sorry about the language mam, didn’t mean to disrespect.  I’m just a wanker!” I have mined gold vernacular!

I’m still smiling in the taxi, tired but happy, while I reflect on my trip.  My lifestyle is not a comfortable one.  It takes me out of my comfort zone.  It should tire me.  But it does not.  I’m usually more energised by my trip at the end, than when I leave home with anticipation.  Perhaps I have worked on this mindset of look, listen, feel, experience.  I believe this mindset has kept me fresh because, there are those special encounters I have in a professional setting, and, then there are others.

Yes, I see real people.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Jaded

Not yet jaded …

In a world of information overload, it would be a challenge not to feel everything is ho hum.  But I realised some years ago, to find balance I need to be outdoors, away from books, away from work and just be.  Nothing else.  Just be.  The experience is like no other.  For me every minute outdoors feels like I’m an hour glass with sand trickling down in a steady stream.  When it pools, my head is clear.  My spirit is full.  I’m recharged and ready to go.

Even though I often visit the same towns several times in a year, and may photograph the same landscape, flora and fauna, there is always something new for me to see.  DSCN7297.jpg
Swamp hen, Bunbury wetlands, Western Australia
I have dozens of photographs of swamp hens.  I love their peacock colouring (but they do emit an awful strangled screech).  In some wetlands they can be shy and move out of sight quickly.  They have enormous feet and I was surprised to see this one eat with such delicacy.  Pretty clever!DSCN7408.jpg
Lake Lefroy, Kambalda West, Western Australia
Lake Lefroy is an ephemeral salt lake in Kambalda (Goldfields region of Western Australia).  I’ve been here a couple of times and the hues are different each time.  On the day I took this pic, the lake was like a painting.DSCN9579.jpg
New Holland Honeyeater, Bunbury wetlands, Western Australia
I love photographing New Holland honeyeaters.  They are striking looking birds.  I particularly love getting a picture of their tiny tongue that protrudes when feeding.DSCN9608.jpg
Silvereye, Bunbury wetlands, Western Australia
Needless to say, the tiny, tiny silvereye is a special joy.  They move in flocks but I’ve rarely found one seated side by side.  They are quick and drive me insane trying to get a good picture.  This one took me by surprise!DSCN9628.jpg
Bunbury, Western Australia
Along any coast in Western Australia you’ll see people dedicated to their hobby.  From afar, so am I.  Nothing new to see but if you photograph people fishing, you’ll find, each picture tells a different story.DSCN9730.jpg
Walk along any track in the bush or suburban garden, the Willy Wagtail is the first to greet.  I love this picture.  He looks all shiny and newly minted.  DSCN9783.jpg
Walking along the beach has its moments of calm.  Waves are soothing but every now and then, I catch a wave that is different.  It makes me stop, look and listen.  It makes everything old, new again.  That’s what life is all about.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Original

This jolly life …

One morning while walking on the beach in Exmouth I found the things that make me happy and I knew I will spend the rest of my life seeking them.

I realised …

Curiosity makes me happy.  As does a feeling of hope.  Finding a happy place within, unexpectedly, is a special feeling of joy.  Stillness makes me happy.  Silence makes me happy, so does solitude.  And, the oneness that comes from real connection, even if transient.  All these things are free and found within.  I spent too many years, window shopping.  Now I wander in and take whatever I please.DSCN7686.jpg
The variation in shades of blue makes my heart beat faster.  I had never stopped to observe this before.  I do now.DSCN7711.jpg
The crumbs of seashells underfoot that coat my bare feet make me smile.  This was just a sandy beach once.  Not any more.  I had no idea sand looks like this up close.DSCN7772.jpg
The humble feather that glitters in dawn light catches my eye.  It never did before.DSCN7808.jpg
My child like curiosity is piqued peering into these wonderfully perfect ‘windows’.DSCN7829.jpg
The scoop of sand left by tide.  A reminder always, life is finite.DSCN7852.jpg
I find life, in unexpected places.  From it, I learn poise.DSCN7940
I find love, too, in unexpected places.

Why wouldn’t I spend the rest of my life doing just what I am doing now?

Hope you are doing exactly what you were meant to do in life.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Jolly

Courage, in an uneven footing …

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Silvereye, Foxes Lair, Narrogin, Western Australia

It’s just after 6 am as I write.  It is freezing cold in my clean but old motel room.  The ceiling is high, the air con heater sluggish, it will be hours before the room warms.  I’ll be gone by then.

Yesterday I finished work on time, drove into town, just a minute away, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed out to Foxes Lair.  I barely had 20 minutes among the trees before it got too dark to be there on my own.  It was all I needed.  I was renewed.  I am myself again.

I’ll drive home this morning listening to my favourite playlist.  If the roadworks are more accessible by day, I may stop off at The Woolshed in the tiny farming town of Williams and see if they have a jumper or two that I may like.  The quality of their merino wool garments is beautiful, light and warm.  I have an afternoon at home to tidy up some work before I drive to the north east Wheatbelt tomorrow, around 300 km away, where I’ll spend the next few days.  And then … a much needed break, in a warmer place.  The thought, quickens my heart beat.

I’ve been able to survive the rigors of the last few weeks convinced in the knowledge, all days are not equal.  Some days the load is lighter, and others, crushing.  Yes, my shoulders sag at times but thankfully I’ve discovered ways and means to rejuvenate.  A grove of trees, a strip of beach, even an empty paddock roadside, is all I need, to feel energised again.  I reflected on this early morning and found, I don’t resent the load, but I do feel lost when I don’t have the opportunity during a work trip, to be in nature.  I have professional supervision once a month but I feel my spirit needs ‘guidance’, ‘supervision’, every single day.  Without it, I careen under the weight of lifestyle.

It has taken a long time to realise, it is okay for demands of the day to be uneven.  It takes courage, to find core strength.  One just needs to ride it out.  I’d much rather have this, than a predictable lifestyle.  When I think back to the years when Monday to Friday, 9-5, was my compass, was the way to the bank, I’m surprised that I survived.  I guess, one never knows what one is missing out on, unless one has the courage to try it.

I woke up grateful this morning, I had the courage to be curious about what was around the corner, much like the tiny silvereye.  It would have been a life un-lived, if I hadn’t.

May you find and enjoy your moment of gratitude, curiosity and courage, today.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge :  Equal

Home is, where the roses are

I have two and a half days at home before I leave again.  It is such a luxury that I woke this morning like it was Christmas and didn’t know which present to open first.  I gathered my thoughts and made a list that included some down time.  I’ve had a great day and feel rested.

On returning home from lunch it was like I saw my front garden for the first time.  My footsteps veered away from the front door and to the flowers.  The delicate roses survived the fiercest storm and that in itself, is a teaching moment.
thumb_IMG_5281_1024Some of the white iceberg roses are tinted in the palest pink.  They belong on a wedding cake.thumb_IMG_5283_1024.jpg
Some bloomed off course.  Something familiar, to me!
thumb_IMG_5291_1024Some were ethereal angels in flight.thumb_IMG_5289_1024.jpg
And others, so beautiful, even the bee stepped outside for perspective.

My focus today was one directional.  I set a task for myself to practice self-care and rest.  I achieved this without a twinge of guilt.  And, that’s how a day of rest should be.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Friday : Directional

The exchange – sea art

For some the value of the work is in the dollar.  I’ve long moved on from that exchange.  I still feel child-like excitement as I prepare for each trip, even if I’ve been to the same place three times in a month.  I always find something to look forward to.  Mostly, I anticipate the natural environment and find an anchor in something wherever I visit.

One of my favourite natural anchors is a rock platform I’ve written about in another post. The word prompt jogged my. memory of the moment of exchange.

It’s the end of a difficult day.  I have nothing else to anchor me except the memory of that sea art.  I do feel it is an unfair interaction when I visit it; the rock gives me so much more than I have to offer it.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Wednesday – Exchange


Yesterday my son invited me to breakfast, just the two of us.  His exams start on Monday and he wanted to go over some work with me.  He is 18 months away from graduation from a four year degree and can’t believe how quickly time has passed.  He now realises, when one enjoys what one does, the concept of time is irrelevant.  He’s been tapped to do postgraduate study and he’s conflicted if he should or not.  His lecturers also asked him to give a seminar to the incoming students, a pep talk, which he really enjoyed doing.  It’s such a pleasing thing to see others also recognise his potential.  After graduating from a four year spatial design degree and while working ten years in retail, he never worked in his chosen field and made a huge switch by returning to study.  I would never have imagined he would be a natural for what he wants to do with the rest of his life.  His choices are many but he’s really keen to work in clinical rehabilitation.  His mantra, “I want to make a difference”, encapsulates his chosen life.

I was telling my son about a book I’ve been reading, ‘Ikigai’, The Japanese Secret of a Long and Happy Life.  I’ve been trying to integrate this philosophy, at times unconsciously, and other times, with awareness.  One of the things I’ve been trying to do, is do something new each day.  That was enough cue for my son.thumb_IMG_5268_1024.jpg
Instead of having breakfast at home yesterday, we went to a Korean/Japanese restaurant and I had the best breakfast Asian broth instead of the standard Western fare.  It was just what I needed.  It felt nourishing and I came home feeling nurtured. thumb_IMG_4729_1024.jpg
Today I feel so distant from my city.  I no longer recognise the skyline.  It has changed while I was not looking.  I’m not enamoured by concrete, glass and metal.  It leaves me with the sense of window shopping life.  But, I do have plans to walk under the arches of the new bridge.  When Pink was performing in town, the city council lit up the bridge in pink lights.  It was pretty!DSCN7455.jpg
To leave the city and work in rural regions, is something that makes me happy.  I’m immersed in the moment, which is my chosen life.  This is lunch time in Coolgardie, in the Goldfields.  I’m far from home here!DSCN7456.jpg
I’m off again to the mining region where the mulla mulla is just starting to bloom.  There will be carpets of pinky mauve fluffy flowers soon.DSCN7459.jpg
And, of course, the golden gum flowers that signal winter are making an appearance.  Like me, tightly wound but waiting to bloom, when the time is right.

So I’m off again today.  The last two weeks were eventful.  I had little sleep but the down time to play, made it worthwhile.  That’s just about the sum of my life, for now.

May you experience the philosophy of Ikigai today.  May you find what intersects your passions and talents, that makes your day worthwhile.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Sunday: Sum