Sunrise

On the beach, at dawn:
Four small stones clearly
Hugging each other.

How many kinds of love
Might there be in the world,
And how many formations might they make

And who am I ever
To imagine I could know
Such a marvelous business?

When the sun broke
It poured willingly its light
Over the stones

That did not move, not at all,
Just as, to its always generous term,
It shed its light on me,

My own body that loves,
Equally, to hug another body.
Mary Oliver

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The walk

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I am drawn out with the soft grey dawn, awakening bird songs lure me into the day. The wind softly guides me up the ridge line walk. I am cocooned in layers of wool like paperbark and I soon enter a walking meditation, every rhythmic step the goal of my experience.
Each footfall quiet and attentive.
my awareness extends, to touch bird melodies and leaf whispers, though I think I am quiet, a walkaby at 50 metres scampers away through the rasping grass.
my soft steps continue the meandering morning path. Pale light and muted colours.
There are fewer melodies up here now. I am dreamily passing blood woods and casuarinas, the old ones, bladed grasses and fallen limbs.
I’m leaving the rumble and play of the creek noises and entering a quieter hillock. I’m present to the sensations of my walking body, swaying limbs as branches and sound chasing.

Until I find myself thinking about journalling my experiences and story.
A chuckle for myself.

This morn I’ve risen chirpy like a wee yellow breasted wren. Nothing will dim my song. My quiet escape fills me with glee.

The landspace subtly shifts and now I have a view over the ridge to the cascading forest across the valley. Each bunch of grey/orange/blue/greenery swaying its own direction. Spun and waltzed by this buffeting wind. Ah this wind! it lifts me high into its embrace,
my face turns and smiles into it like a happy farm dog on the tray of a ute.
Joyous in the face of windy thrills.
my senses open once more and slowly i step along. Observing all the sheoak saplings culled by the last burn off.
I note some of the soft leaved branches will help our fire start this drizzly day. I step over the exposed roots of a large blood wood giving honour as one of the sentinels of the woods. There aren’t many left up here.
Ahh my heart sours, a treasure of fairy pink by my foot print. A solitary pink fairy orchid offers me rain drops from her petals. I delicately catch them and pray with this tiny gift of bush magic. We commune until I am beckoned on, where a forming balga spear has immature flower heads adorning the top foot or so. It is smooth and strong and a wondrous display of natures contrasts. The slender pointy leaves forming a protective cushion below.
I read recently, look under the green growth on wet days, there one can find a cache of dry tinder. I note this also for my fire efforts.
It’s only on my return I notice the balgas grow on the higher ground and I’ve unwittingly left their domain. I’m too hungry to turn back.
I feel drawn on until I can view the little mountain adorned by turtle head rock. Its clear I’m not to wander there this day. The wind tugs and swirls around me. I am expansive and generous in my exchange.
Up here I notice the diverse bird song again, the open woodland carpeted with grasses and granite beds. The balgas grow more prolifically.
I wish I could translate their tunes and calls, but I am not yet a devoted bird nerd.
The day has brightened and my mood with it. This spontaneous solitude nourishing and adding to my collection of stories. I run.
My body fairly hovers downhill pausing only for tinder collecting and slurping rain drops from sheoak fronds as i pass their domain. I run my mouth along a bundle of new growth and catch a small mouthful of plant gathered sky juice.
I return with my happy heart anticipating the smokey perfume and family shawl I shall wear this day.

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Chillagoe Queensland

 

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we seek a new adventure in the West country 200km  from Cairns, some warm and dry and open bush. dry out our lungs and explore the limestone caves in the Chillagoe Mungana national park. 

 A retrospective post.

Remembering Chillagoe region, inland, tablelands, North Queensland; August 2013

castles of stone

caves, crevices, dust, marble bones

choking dust

bleak heat

dreamtime vista

turquoise mineral spring bathing sancturary

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there are long bumpy stretches of dirt road which we have to take at 10-20km an hour as we are heavily loaded with extra timber, 100lt water and 80 ltr of fuel, never mind the brain splitting rattling of our 4 tonne home… it’s torturous for me as driver on this hot hot day, and i rage internally {and a little externally} and finally retreat to the bed with sunglasses on as Jesse takes over the wheel. it is my least favorite endurance of this adventurous life. hot travel with no swimming respite in sight, cranky tired hot and bothered children… {be forewarned, i am going to bang on alot about how hot this trip was!}IMG_2422

gathering firewood roadside on the trip in. I am stunned by the dry midday heat, the starkness of sky and and bleached colors after weeks in the lush coastal regions. it is familiar from my childhood in WA and a little part of me also relishes the crackle of crisped leaves and bark underfoot and the open bush and ant trails. epic sky and thin shade kissed by eucalypt breeze

we fill the floor space with perfect dry hardwood for campfires, it’s awkward sweaty hauling but we focus on the enjoyment of fire gazing and cooking. Jesse finds some perfect straight Mulga for making rhythm sticks.

and then we are arriving into tiny Chillagoe township looking for the Eco Lodge as we hear it boasts a small observatory and resident astronomer {part of our attraction to come to this open sky country} a population of about 250. with fluctuating tourism nodded to by the 4 campgrounds. there is a more private camp ground on a property right on the creek near the airport, but the caretaker is ill.

we are simply  heat shocked and wondering what the hell we are doing here!

im ecstatic to here there’s a swimming hole near town.

turns out to be a lovely shady deep spring fed hole. phew. everyone is refreshed quickly and it all seems worthwhile and copeable. is that a word? the rocks are amazing!

IMG_2414 IMG_2413the swimming hole becomes our base for half of each day we spend in the area. i sit by the water and understand how the indigenous mob survived out here, in the shade by water is the only place to be in a lot of Australia on the hot days. if there’s water…

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we visit some caves and do some short walks. we skip the guided tours in to the deeper caves. {i’m quietly glad the children give me the excuse for this as it frightens me just a little} finding ourselves alone in some huge caverns, sitting on besmoothed stones and watching captured sunlight glittering the dust moats is surprising and awe-some. singing and didging and echoing in the tumbled caves, it’s good to be together in a cave. a new experience.

the rock formations and the self guided caves are striking enough to fulfill our rocky quest.

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i awake on the second day better adapted to the climate and find gradually heating with the rising sun easier than driving into the hot midday from the coast.

we monkey around at the old train station near the campground in the twilight. there are great mobs of wallabies. this was a rare campground stay. we usually find independant camping or stay on properties. we want to experience the astronomy session in the evening however, and it’s simply so appealing to have access to water. we claim the little patch of grass out the front of the Eco lodge. Cedar declares the sprinkler his truck wash.

the session at the observatory is inspirational and full of facts and numbers and anecdotes. i saw Saturn and it’s rings! and two of it’s twenty something moons! it really does look like those funny colour drawings from school books! it sparks many wonder-full conversations about life, other life, gallaxies, stars, moons, space travel, wonderment, constellations, feeling small, feeling big, feeling like a speck, how time and space move and are measured….

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Have you ever roasted a whole pumpkin in the coals?IMG_0009

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before you go to bed, make a nest in the coals and ashes and plop in a really great pumpkin; cover it with a good blanket of ash and coals and you’re all ready for bed; uncover your golden treasure in the morning! we used a Japanese variety here; the more ripe and good your pumpkin the better caramelized result you will have!

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Enjoy your roast pumpkin in many attitudes; here a savory delight but previously it’s been breakfast on pancakes with maple syrup and cream! decadence!

and here is a proof I’m not some super unrealistic lady who can’t do wrong. {just in case anyone wondered; as Jesse pointed out it’s easy to falsely represent myself here on an edited blog}  burnt food is one of my occasional talents! i am a bit dreamy{creative} at times and become absorbed in other activities, than watching the meal cook!! oops. still good. just cut off the charcoal…. I have been banned from using the toaster and cooking rice in a previous life…IMG_0024

Lily spent the first morning engaged in making a flower fairy palace from bark, sticks, marble chunks and flowers. unfortunately she built her house on the sand {the mat} and it had to go down with the packup tide. rebuilt in the bushes and a learning about how to choose a safe site to build…IMG_0022

our last night, we left the township of Chillagoe and visited a more secluded cave with relatively intact Indigenous paintings. The energy of this place was strong and beautiful. We spent the afternoon and gloaming in the cave watching the changing light and dreaming of life as a tribe in the caves, in this remarkable landscape.

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Discussing how and where and what and why was a rich experience. The children chose their rock beds and imagined where the fire was and how we would use the cave and how many people would share it and so on. I realised how little i know of the nomadic tribal culture in Australia, how disconnected i feel at times from the cultural history of this land I was born in. Sadness arising for what is lost now. the questions i’ll never know answers to.  noticing the discomfort i can experience when I am in company of people of culture because i don’t have many reference points. and ultimately I’m a white fella and there is a massive burden of racism and tragedy between us. at other times it just naturally is and I’m connecting with ease and humour. often the children break the ice and connecting through play is a gift.IMG_0090

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the open verandah effect of the cave creates an empowering view over vast land. a safe standpoint.IMG_0094 IMG_0109 IMG_0102 IMG_0113

i awoke to didgeridoo echoes across the land from the cave above at sunrise. when i return from my solo adventure to the cave i am met by singing and music. thankyou Jesse you bring melody to my life.IMG_0133

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there are many old marble quarries in the Chillagoe area. many massive blocks have been lifted out and left on the red dust like a giant’s play blocks. We stop at one of the quarries on the way back East. {some conspiracy about bleeding away private money…} we met an epic conspir-ollogist our here! wowzers.IMG_0156 IMG_0153 IMG_0175 IMG_0166

the bush is open with tall ironbarks and malga among the trees. their thin canopy offers little shade in the oven hot morning. with termite mounds being the bush furniture. the spindly crisp grasses remind me of country up near Katherine and Darwin.
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quirky old machine installations IMG_0181i certainly left with a puzzled feeling from Chillagoe, its been great to reflect on it from my midnight table here in Bellingen.

i hope you enjoyed the story and the photographs.

Roselinde

Our Easter in Autumn Story

IMG_0703 on Easter eve we are visiting friends on the journey north from Sydney. The children go out in the sunset pink to cut grass to line the easter basket and to feed the Easter hare
IMG_0710 while they cut I retell an Easter story about the journey of the Easter hare and the purpose of the eggs as i have adopted it from this great book. Easter in Autumn. i deeply enjoy storytelling without a book in front of me as i took the time to learn the story and make it my own. They are both captivated and i feel peaceful with this serene wash of calm coming over me as i bask in the moment and the beauty of the simple now-ness and connection we are sharing. i am inspired to learn more stories to tell.
IMG_0713this basket was woven in Arnhem land, jesse gifted it to Lily on return of his trip there last year. {i got a lady version for my birthday}IMG_0714the light is soft and pastelly and embracing and look below, it hints to the sky of the dawn…IMG_0723Lily and I have made a date to silently watch the sunrise on Easter morn.

we are camped by a river and the light bounces from the water in a myriad of pastel delicacies..IMG_0725Pelicans join us and we are gifted this close observation of a much loved birdIMG_0730 IMG_0747Lily points out the Pelican has made a heart with it’s own reflectionIMG_0748 i resolve to make more dates with Lily, the peace of simply being together touches us both deeply. It is grounding and loving and sets us up for a rich connection through the day.
IMG_0749 IMG_0758 finally a golden peep through the clouds melts the dew from waxy leaves

a new day

a new beginningIMG_0759 as we walk back we pick golden sunny flowers to decorate the bus and the easter baskets, glistening with dew

Cedar and Jesse are awake and after the children exclaim over the gifts from the Easter hare in their baskets, they go outside with a poem of clues to find the Easter treasures
IMG_0775 oh whats under here??

skip to a quick ant bite interlude….

then the treasure hunt is back on….
IMG_0779 IMG_0786looking looking looking, Lily can see the silver paper on the tyre and is encouraging Cedar to find it and giggling about his looking but not seeing… i remember Lily at this age needing very obvious eye level treasures to find… IMG_0787 I found it!!
IMG_0790 and up here Cedar!

i am wondrous to see Lily turn the seeking into a game for Cedar in which she is showing and helping him in a thoughtful way, instead of rushing around claiming all the treasure. it reveals the change out of early childhood i am seeing into a less selfconcerned world view. beautiful.IMG_0798the treasure is in and unwrapped and eaten.

after struggling in the night with my staunch anti chocolate stance, i realise the experience of my uptight stress is less beautiful than the joy the children will have when unwrapping 2 squares of organic chocolate before breakfast!

and it was fine, and they were so happy, and they did not have sugar meltdowns!

it’s good to let go a little now and then. but yes i am pretty strict about sweets in our own home and prefer to savour these type of treats for specials.

later in the day we prepare eggs to decorate and enjoy an omelette for lunch

you may know how already but here

  the simple steps to blow eggs ready for decoration and hanging
IMG_0803use a large pin to pierce one end of an egg, i use a series of punctures in close proximity to open a 2mm hole, repeat on the opposite end and remember to have a bowl ready to catch your egg insides {make an omelette or cake…}IMG_0805apply your lips and lungs to the task of blowing a stream of egg insides to the outside. rinse by submersing in water and blowing out once more. towel dry and there they are, light and ready to decorate. we often use water colour pencils or paints, or dye with onion skin…IMG_0808in the weeks coming up to Easter i scout around town for white shelled eggs.. {In Bellingen they are sold at the Providore from a local farmer….} this year we had little choice as we travelled…IMG_0809the easter bounty which the children are happy happy happy withIMG_0814during our afternoon drive i watch Lily singing out the window like a puppy with her face in the wind…

i imagine her reflecting on the day and she is singing her happiness to the world…

some sweet sweet moments in our day

blessings and happy new beginning to us all…

Waking up to…

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Waking up to

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The ocean does something really wonderful to me! Particularly in the glow and cool of early morn as I stretch open my body and mind.

Then reading this post which inspired me and articulated gently a common thread in parenting.
Blessings on your day
Can you give yourself a simple intention for this day?

R
Thank you J for the photos

Waking up to…

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I tiptoe out into breezy seaside dawn
Away from sleeping babes who keep me up in the night
Tide has encompassed the mudflats this morn to wash the sea wall
Small barricade
Between homes and watery sheeting slickery waves
I like this tidal renewal each day
It reflects my inner tide.
Sticky eyes glad for dim cloudy light
And look there the big glowing moon setting!
Ah a moment for me
A moment to amble and awake
At my own pace
Precious
I am tentative to walk the sand
As this is crocodile land
Feeling the fear.
This has been my work these last days
The fear the scared the worried the anxious
Am I really this person?
Was I always so or has it
crept up on me?
Wow its uncomfortable to be with
Shall I cling onto the awareness too?
Or let myself move
Shall I walk in the scary place
like this fella with a net
Hoping to catch some of life’s bounty this morning
And not think only of the big teeth which could tear at any moment?
Keep walking keep moving keep feeling
Notice my numbness
Remember the choice of my focus
Watch the thoughts arise in me
Fear disguised as other things!
Sneaky how it does that!
How to integrate my inner work
and be Present with my family in each daily way
Looking for moments of solitude like this mornings wander
Making porridge and reading stories and feeling the tears within
May I be filled with grace and patience
And strength within my vulnerability.
Blessings on the day

Walking the Land

Exploring this beautiful diverse country

has me wondering again how it looked and was cared for pre-settlement

I carry this question in my heart

as I tread lightly and with curiosity

in places which move me deeply

who looked upon this place, lived and sustained life here before?

where did they shelter, gather, feed, fire, swim, tumble with children, hunt, die?

when was this place last nurtured?

as I move across the land or find stillness in a place

I aspire to bring to my children the awareness of connection

respectful inhabitance, mindfullness and enjoyment

my gift to a sacred place can be coming in quietness, wonder and presence

to take the hours to sit and observe and feel the place and the stories in the air and water and plants

To hear the music of a place when the creatures accept you are there pracefully

And to send some love back into the earth and invite peace to a place

we are often rewarded with glimpses of animals

who hide from cameras and large groups

have you glimpsed a place after all the other humans have left,

how does it feel

without the distraction of other people?

As Cedar walked me around the park

I overheard snatches of a conversation

I share this with all due respect to someone who’s permission I could not seek

An Aboriginal Elder explaining how his ancestors used this area (Byron Bay coast)

“this area was the women’s area for raising kids and that.

Great seafood and rainforest food. You know the tea tree lakes to the south, well

thats where the women would go and sit and bathe in them. Tea tree is antiseptic

and perfect for women having babies and that.

The men would be up here in this northern area of the bay and they’d come here to bring the women

fresh meat and that.

I hope I have related that correctly. I don’t even know his name sorry.

William Ricketts Sanctuary Victoria

Its the reminder that all these places we inhabit have an ancient history that I want to focus on in my life on this journey

William Ricketts Sanctuary Victoria

Do you know the cultural story of your land or home area?

Being inspired by this song by dear friend Murray Kyle