Even with the plethora of songs on my iPhone, none of them were filling the void I was feeling today. I flicked from one track to the next, feeling ever more, musically dissatisfied. I needed something that would turn my mood around.
Suddenly, I was struck with an idea. I wandered over to the cupboard and pulled open the top drawer. Inside I found what I was looking for.
I carefully extracted an old 45 RPM vinyl record. Turning it slowly in my fingers, I cracked a smile.
Yes, I mused, pleased with myself. This would scratch my itch!
I opened the lid of my retro 80s stereo system (that remarkably, still worked – they don’t design things like this anymore). I flicked the power switch to ‘on’ and ever so briefly, a satisfying crackle of static hummed through the speakers. Placing the vinyl on the the turntable, I gently…
Author’s Note:One of the most awe-inspiring waterfalls I’ve ever seen, I have aimed to capture its energy and power through this poem. I have taken the torrential water and the gentle misting cloudandattempted to show the interplay between the two.
Simply put, at the base of all matters, is the heart.
We can analyse agendas; our differences; but the bones of our own personal narratives can be revealed as a desire for one thing.
Erstwhile the heart beats. Its mission; to sustain life. Yet somehow, it undergoes transmutation to become something else; something more; altogether.
A catalyst for our emotions.
And of belonging.
In this we holdfast, unrelenting in our pursuit love.
And of hate? It is not the antithesis of love, merely the absence of it. We must be tireless in monitoring our metronome of life, as taught to us by the tub-thump of our mother’s heartbeat, our first-known sound.
Mother Nature knows no slumber. The sound of her beating heart is ever present, in all things. Even we, in our bleakest times, listen for it. Until no longer that sound beats…
I recently had the pleasure of participating in a “mini interview” with Rory from Earthly Comforts. It was a lot of fun and I am sharing the LINK HERE for anyone who may be interested in reading it.
Be sure to check out Rory’s blog while you’re at it – you won’t be disappointed! Earthly Comforts is“a broad niche wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation.” Topics include flora and fauna, nature photography. volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture (worm farming).
A big “thank you” to Rory for asking such great questions and for taking the time to talk to me about my blog,
Author’s Note:The Bloganuary prompt for 22 January 2023 isWhat was your dream job as a child?A short answer from me today – a teacher! And it’s what I’ve been doing for 25 years now and I still love it every day. In fact, I love it so much, back in 2019, it was the focus of my A-Z Challenge! But rather than subject you to the entire 26 posts, I have curated my favourite (humorous) moments.
Linda’s prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “count on it.’
My initial thought about this one is, “Well…count on what exactly? What is ‘it’?”
There are good “its” and bad “its” and a heck of a lot of in-between “its.”
And really, when it comes down to it, we only want to count on the good ones, right?
For example, no one wants to count on: bad weather, dodgy oysters, grid locked traffic, a bung wheel on a shopping trolley, or trusting my family to be on time.
Likewise, in-between “its” inspire the same lukewarm approval: assuming your food will look like the picture, that the ocean is warm enough to swim in, second-guessing your email once it’s been sent, or basking in the sun without getting burned.
But the good “its”… well, they are certainly worth counting on: the dogs waiting for you when you get home, a great conversation with a friend, that belly laugh until you cry, a barista who knows just how to make your coffee and getting every green light on the way home.
“Its” really the little thing that counts.
Now, a terrible joke to end with…
Q. How do you make seven an even number? A. Take off the "s."
I am going to take some creative licence with this and share one of my favourite Haibun pieces, “My Alice”, which was penned in June 2017.The link to the prompt (while tenuous) is – what irritates the poor man about his home, is that he got caught!
Sometimes I am blue.
An ocean; endless and heavy.
But then a wave washes me back to shore
and I become yellow.
Sunny and warm; sand under my feet.
Until I step on a rock. And then I see red.
Angry, slashing, shades of red.
Like a bruise, I eventually heal
in colours of magenta, purple, orange.
And always, in the end, the grass grows green and long,
covering the rock and the sand and the ocean.
True colours ever changing the landscape of my brain.
Except for the black.
The black is always there.
Threatening to peek through.
Today we travelled on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, departing from Cairns Central Station. It was quite the thrill clambering aboard a train from yesteryear.
I always get excited travelling by rail. There is something romantic about weaving through the countryside with the sensory whirl of clickety-clack, rocking, lilting, and of course, the occasional blare of the horn. I was like a kid and couldn’t sit still! Fortunately, our carriage was pretty quiet (only half full), so we roamed around a bit, checking things out from different vantage points.
Our first stop was at Freshwater where most of the other passengers boarded. We then began the climb up to the mountain top. Originally constructed to service the gold rush in the late 1800s, it was truly mind boggling to hear all the stories of the men who made this engineering feat possible.
The views the whole way along were incredible, but then, taken to even greater heights with Stony Creek Falls and Barron Gorge in their starring roles. Absolutely. Breathtaking.
We stopped at Barron Falls for about 10 minutes. This waterfall left me speechless. The watery embodiment of absolute volume and power!
At this point of the journey the weather unfortunately turned. The rain started teeming down but this just served to make everything look more green and glossy!
Some facts about the railway:
The scenic railway has 15 tunnels and 55 bridges along 33 kilometres of track.
1500 men built the track, most of these from Irish and Italian descent.
2.3 million cubic metres of earth was moved by hand during the construction of the railway. 🤯
The locomotives are Diesel Electric, and were built in the 1960s.
The carriages date back to the early 1900s and are made from silky oak timber.
Once at the top, we spent a few leisurely hours in Kuranda Village. First, we fortified ourselves with a Devonshire tea in the rainforest. We wandered through the markets (where I spent way too much!) and then checked out the butterfly sanctuary.
I was keen to do Bird World (of course) but Clam doesn’t like birds at all. As part of the Bird World experience, you feed the birds and they land all over you! So I thought it would be quite mean to subject her to this 😂. I will just have to do it “next time.”
Unfortunately, the weather in the hills continued to get worse, and our Sky Rail (cable car) back down the mountain to Smithfield was cancelled. Instead, we were bused back so we took the opportunity to check out Macalister Brewing Co. Once down the mountain, the weather was clear and we enjoyed some nice views and the beer!
We got back into Cairns just in time for happy hour at the poolside bar. So, we had some down time swimming, reading, relaxing etc. We also accidentally discovered a delightful new snack…Thai chili and lime crackers with dried apricot …served sandwich style. Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed…
We went to Sauce Brewing Co. for dinner (who knew Cairns had so many craft breweries!) Clam and I enjoyed some amazing tapas and (surprise surprise) tasted some more beer!
It was an early night for us though, as we fly back home tomorrow.
My favourite photo from today is this one of the Kuranda Scenic Railway train because it looks like it’s disappearing into the landscape ahead. 😍
Firstly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLAM!!!! It’s the Clam’s birthday today and because of that, our itinerary was wholly in her hands. And…the birthday girl’s choice was all about the Daintree Rainforest!
We ventured up the Cook Hwy, stopping for morning tea and coffee along the way. It was a stunning drive – winding roads; lush bushland, pristine beaches and glorious expanses of flat ocean.
We went on a 1hr Daintree River Cruise through the mangroves for a bit of croc spotting. It was fascinating and even though we only saw one, it made me appreciate the efficiency of this beast.
Next, we stopped off at Alexandra Range Lookout to take in the wondrous surrounds before marvelling at the rainforest ecosystem close up on a boardwalk guided tour.
The Daintree Rainforest hosts 25% of Australia’s bird species. I was (almost) literally losing my mind! Some new spots for me were: Wompoo Fruit Dove (I love this name so much!), Sacred Kingfisher, Spangled Drongo, and Floodbird… but alas, no Southern Cassowary! Only this one…😂
Lunch was at The Beach Shack at Cape Tribulation. Afterwards, we spent some time meandering Cape Tribulation Beach. I felt a little sad because “tribulation” means a “cause of great trouble and hardship” as named by Captain Cook. This amazing spot is where two world heritage sites converge – the Daintree and Great Barrier Reef, so it seems a little unfair to label this entire, beautiful site as such, based on one perspective!
Our next adventure, was tackling the 4WD Bloomfield Track to get to Emmagen Creek for a freshwater (and croc free!) swim. There is actually, only one word I would use to describe this, and that is… “bliss.” It was a perfect oasis tucked in amongst the dense forest. I loved just swimming, sitting and being fully present in this moment.
After our swim, we stopped for ice-cream at the Daintree Ice-Cream Company where we both tried the tasting cup on offer. The flavours were coconut, strawberry, wattleseed and black sapote (persimmon) and these were all quite delicious!
Some fun, random (and probably largely, useless) facts from today:
The Daintree River is 130km long.
There are 31 different mangrove species and hibiscus are considered a “mangrove associate.”
There can be up to a 25oC gradient difference between air temp and water temp.
1/4 of Autralia’s bird species reside in the Daintree.
Crocs love to bask in chambers and shelves. They have a less than 1% survival rate for their eggs.
Be wary of the cassowary! The fenale will mate with up to 5 males and totally leaves child rearing to the fathers.
Buttress roots help with not just with stability but also oxygenation of the plant.
My eyeballs literally could not take any more beauty so it was good that it was time to head home. We arrived back around 5pm and the building humidity broke with another sensational afternoon storm. We did “happy hour” in the room, and got ready to go out for birthday dinner. Hilariously, we had both (unintentionally) packed almost identical loud prints and decided to wear these for a giggle…
I treated Clam to oysters and some seriously yummy Italian fare at Villa Romana. It was lovely sitting out on the Esplanade and enjoying the cool, summer rain and light show ⚡️
We then trundled down to the Coral Sea Brewing Co. for a birthday beer. This was a truly delightful “hole in the wall” with great ales The IPA was on point 👌🏻 We did cause some consternation amongst the bar staff and patrons who were trying to figure our if we were….sisters….friends…coworkers…a couple? I think it was the “loud shirts” that discombobulated them…but it was good fun chatting to some nice local people.
There was no way in hell I was ever picking just one photo from today. Here are my Top 7…
Author’s Note:The Bloganuary prompt for 17 January 2023 is Describe the happiest day of your life. I find this to be an impossible task as I have had so many happy and memorable days! There is no way I can narrow it down to just one. However, this day, in the Waimangu Volcanic Valley (a geothermal area of New Zealand) is definitely in my Top 5. I completed the trek solo over about 8.5 hours and remains one of the most profoundly spiritual and grounding experiences of my life. Please enjoy my recount of this special, day, from April 2018.
Gravel crunched under my feet, as I began the hike through one of the youngest eco-systems in the world – the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Geothermal areas were marked on my map, as well as native plants and bird-life, to look for.
Feeling grounded, I breathed in the fresh mountain air, imagining the breeze was really the forest exhaling along with me. I rounded the corner and saw steam rising from the aptly named baths in front of me. Glaring sun broke through the canopy.
Out of the fire and into the “Frying Pan Lake“? Shinrin-Yoku at its best! I thought.
Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt – forest; and also, Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction – April 19,2018, Task – In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about forest bathing. You can use the Japanese term,
Sadly, I have now reached the last of my little adventures for these summer school holidays. But “YAY” for the next 3 (and a bit) days in Cairns with my sister! We are excited for this short stint in Far North Queensland (You may remember “The Clam” from my Kiwi Capers trip a few years back).
It was a bright and early start this morning as we made our way to the Sydney Airport. Not sure if it was just because I was tired, but I was certainly “tuned into” lots of noises and canny observations (see my poem “A Journey of Annoying Sounds” here 😂). I’m not sure how rough they thought the flight was going to be, but I certainly had more than enough sick bags! Lol!
The approach into Cairns was breathtaking, with so many contrasting landscapes – I didn’t know where to look. We had the turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef to our right, unspoiled bush-covered mountains peaks, to our left and below us, dense, scrubby swamp and marshland, twisting rivers and a patchwork of farmland and fields.
We arrived at our accommodation shortly after midday (Cairns’ time) and were poolside with cocktails in hand, in less than half an hour! The water was delightful and it was a nice way to cool off and relax (the humidity is high as it’s the wet season here).
The resort has the most beautifully tended, leafy and lush gardens. There was so much bird life in and around the foliage. New birds spotted by me today include: Helmeted Friarbird, Rufous Whistler, Pacific Golden Plover, Cicadabird and (once night fell) Little Curlew!
After a couple of hours dealing with the business of relaxing, we decided to go for a walk and get our bearings. No sooner had we left, than we got caught in the most spectacular summer storm. I actually didn’t mind getting wet – I quite enjoy walking in the rain – however, we did get many chuckles from reception staff as we wandered back in like drowned rats!
A quick dry off and change, then we went with Plan B instead…an Uber into the marina to check out one of the local breweries. The rain had become quite torrential by this point. We went to Hemmingway’s Brewery where Clam did a tasting paddle of beers and I did a gin paddle with Devil’s Thumb distillery (based in Port Douglas). I really loved their Rainforest Gin …and might be taking one home with me.
A friend recommended “Howlin’ Jay’s” so we ventured there for dinner. It was possibly the most unhealthy meal of my holidays (think American southern chicken wings and tenders with a side of deep fried everything!) But… I really enjoyed the vibe and the deep fried pickles and mac cheese were delicious.
Clam and I then took a walk along the Esplanade and lagoon before we stumbled across the Night Market. We enjoyed perusing some “interesting” wares, as well as some of the local retailers.
My favourite photo from today is this roof shot of Howlin’ Jay’s because, well, it’s just colourful… and fun.
I recently stumbled across this old journal article and was intrigued by the sentiment andquestionsposed within:
Source: Coleman, Francis J. “Can a Smell or a Taste or a Touch Be Beautiful?” American Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 2, no. 4, 1965, pp. 319–324. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/20009182. Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.
For me, I certainly disagree with these aestheticians. There IS beauty in touch, and taste, and smell. I was startled to learn this was not a common view point.
For the purposes of my post (which is focusing on “O”) I wish to explore the beauty of the olfactory.
Undeniably, there is comfort, contentment and excitement in smell. Are these things, not things of beauty?
– A freshly brewed cup of coffee, tantalising our sense of smell, providing anticipation to jumpstart our day?
Author’s Note: The Bloganuary prompt for 15 January 2023 isWhat fear have you conquered?For this response today I have collaborated with a friend to come up with this rather “cheerful” approach to living one’s lifeto the full.
Alternatively, here is a “reblog” of an older story of mine… “The Abyss” which deals with conquering fear.