After the Captain’s tale of the Somali pirates, most of us would have followed him anywhere. So, when we approached the first of our supposed excursions around the Tristan da Cunha group (Gough Island) if he had said ‘Jump!’, to get into the zodiacs, we might have done it! However, the seas were rough and it was decided it was unsafe for our planned excursion, so we would have to view the island from the ship. The ship was manoeuvred as close as safety would allow and through the mists we could see it was a wild and not easily accessible place.
The next day was better for excursions and during that day we also got a look at the community of Tristan da Cunha…from afar. After exploring the coast of the island, it was nearing the end of the day and the light was gorgeous. Most of us gathered on deck to enjoy the light and the splendid sunset.
This photo, taken on that glorious sunset evening, shows Marcus Bergstrom, from Sweden, and Laura Jordan from France, both Naturalists. They also had excellent command of English, were licensed zodiac drivers, and were excellent photographers. Marcus was the ‘bird guy’ who loved Albatrosses, and Laura has an Instagram feed (@laurajordan_) specialising in photos and videos from this cruise and others. There were ten naturalists in all, some with many years of education and experience and who spoke several languages.
During our visit to Tristan da Cunha there was a very sweet little background story developing. Our local expert, Conrad, had been supposed to stay at his home on Tristan once our tour of the islands finished. However, the town was not even allowing him to disembark! And worse, the town, whose speciality is fresh lobster, was not going to supply the lobster our chef had ordered! This was dire. Conrad would have to accompany us to CapeTown and figure out how to get home later. There are no airstrips so his only choice would be sea travel. Our very creative thinking crew hatched another idea. The afternoon, after we had completed our zodiac cruises of Tristan, we saw a zodiac with Conrad ripping through the waters back toward the ship. In the boat, piled around him, were bags of fresh lobsters, and his lovely wife huddled against him to accompany him for the remainder of his quarantine in CapeTown, however long that might be. His wife had loaded the lobsters and then herself into the zodiac to join her husband and preserve everyone’s safety. Knowing what we do now, we think Conrad and his wife were probably not able to leave South Africa. I guess we will never know.
Before leaving the archipelago we had excursions to the other two islands in this group, Nightingale and Inaccessible. To be perfectly honest, our schedule was now so different from plan A and plan B, I have no idea which of these photos were from which island. Normally when I am confused I just check the metadata on the photos and it will have the place name. But in the Southern Ocean, the photos mostly just say ‘Southern Ocean’. Helpful. It doesn’t really matter, they were very close together and both quite wild and, as the name of the latter would indicate, mostly inaccessible except by zodiac.
COVID-19 news was becoming more and more worrisome with each day. At about this point in the trip, again, the Captain called everyone to the theatre, this time, at 9.30 in the evening. I was beyond tired and Don agreed to attend and tell me the outcome. Based on recent experience we thought it would be serious. It was. The Ponant company had decided to ask all ships to go to the nearest port, disembark passengers and head for home port in Marseilles. This turned out to be extremely good judgement on their part. We were still four days from CapeTown which was the soonest we could get anywhere. All of the crew except for 21, would also have to disembark there, as would those passengers who had been supposed to take the cruise on to Durbin and the Seychelles. The anxiety became palpable. We compared stories of where we were supposed to travel next and how we might amend our plans, while sharing with each other any information we had. Good access to internet meant that we were aware of the rapid changes in conditions since we had departed Ushuaia, but there was not a single thing we could do except communicate with our travel agents and revise plans, until we got to CapeTown. We weren’t even certain if we would be allowed off the ship once we arrived, but somehow the crew kept smiling, all the while working on our behalf behind the scenes.
when is she ever going to end this saga??…soon my pretties, soon…
Thank goodness I take so many photos. They help bring me back to the more sensory experiences of the places we have been, especially when the places are as unusual as the Falkland Islands. A lot of the time I can actually remember how I composed the photo and how I was feeling when I took it. The first zodiac ride was not something I had been looking forward to. See anxiety: boats of all sizes as noted in the previous post.
Learning how to layer the gear for maximum effect, and remembering so much new information added to the zodiac learning curve. In order to not sweat profusely we had to put on everything but the jacket, life vest and boots, then walk from two floors up and halfway the length of the ship to the area closest to the marina, from where we launched, and finish getting dressed there. Our room key, which was also our identity card, was inserted into a ready-made, see-through pocket on the sleeve of our jacket. This was one of the hardest things to remember because we had to use it on its own much of the time in between excursions. God forbid you should walk all the way to the launching point, having forgotten your card in the stateroom! The card had a scanning code on it that they used to scan you off and back on board with each excursion—no one was left behind.
The gear was awkward and heavy, but very, very practical, and of course, attractive. The zodiacs held 10 of us per excursion, not including the crew member/naturalist at the helm. There was a very precise method of boarding the zodiac, which was different when boarding from the ship, because you were stepping down into the zodiac, rather than stepping up from the water’s edge. I was fine boarding from the ship’s marina, but for some reason the crew just didn’t quite grasp where my centre of gravity was–being very short on one end. I could never hoist myself, and the heavy, awkward gear, up onto the edge of the zodiac while wading in water and they always had to help me. It was not a pretty sight—think beached whale.
For most of us the first real awareness of the Falkland Islands was during the war in 1982. History recap: the war was because Argentina wanted to take over the running of the islands, but the 3,000 inhabitants wanted to continue under British rule. The Brits won. Our first three stops were not to the capital, Stanley, but to some of the other islands of the archipelago, the first being New Island. Given it was also our first excursion, it was fortunate the launch and landing to shore were both on calm waters.
Wikipedia will tell you that the terrain in the Falklands is ‘rugged’. They do not lie. What isn’t rocky and steep is covered in Tussoc(k) grass, which provides a habitat for many smaller animals. The tussock was at least knee high and taller. It had been gently raining that afternoon so everything was wet, including the rocks and tussock. We landed in King George Bay and had to walk across the island to an area that held an Albatross community. The naturalists who were younger and fitter than us had indicated this was a relatively easy walk. Although, thinking back on it, the naturalist who said ‘easy’ did halt just a split second before saying it. Hmmm. We had to walk up hill before we got to the area with the albatrosses. It was not that easy for us, especially me. In fact, the rocks were slippery and the visibility beneath the heavy Tussock was not good and I fell. Fortunately it was a soft landing in terms of breaks or bruising but I can tell you I really felt the twisting and turning for several days afterward.
The Snowy/Wandering Albatrosses have enormous wing spans of 5-6 feet and their chicks take about a year to mature so are huge by the time they leave the nest. In fact they often weigh more than the parents as they have been fed well and are just sitting all the time. Hmmm, note to self… This was a special time of the year to view the nearly mature chicks and in a place that the Naturalists don’t always get to visit. We had arrived early to the Falklands and so were able to take this unplanned excursion on New Island late in the afternoon of arrival.
Those of you who follow my photography @amosthemagicdog on Instagram will know that one of my favourite subjects are the plants, flowers and textures wherever we travel, and especially here at home. So after seeing the albatrosses I was keen to photograph some of the unusual flora on the way back to the zodiac. You have to believe me when I tell you I slept well that night. Dead tired.
I haven’t really highlighted two important facts on the nature of this cruise. It was both a repositioning cruise, and an expedition cruise. The ‘repositioning’ part refers to the start and finish of the trip, beginning in one port (Argentina) and ending in a completely different place, in our case, South Africa. The ‘expedition’ part of the cruise refers to the need for flexibility given weather conditions and wildlife sightings. The weather had deteriorated overnight and so instead of the planned trip further north in the Falklands, the ship repositioned itself in the night to a more sheltered area near Barren Island, and was ready for a fresh excursion the next morning. It was terribly exciting…the first penguins of the trip! Before each excursion the naturalists would talk to us about what we could expect to see at that landing. There was so much information coming into our brains, it was no wonder we were sleeping well.
The objects of our second excursion were Gentoo and Magellenic penguins, Sea Lions, cormorants and other bird life on Barren Island. If you look at the photos and see not much vegetation, you will understand the name. Though, be assured, there was ample life around! The penguins were just adorable and seemed not the least bit afraid of us. We were instructed to keep a five metre (15 feet) distance from them and so it did make photos with an iPhone challenging as these penguins are fairly small. This is where my affinity for photographing animals and their environments helps me. I think close ups of animal faces are wonderful, but they don’t tell you much about the surroundings the animals live in, so I’m actually very happy to get reasonably close to the animals but also able to position them in their surroundings.
The sea lions were the exception to my theory of photography as they were quite dangerous to get anywhere near, so my photos were not great. They were enormous (males between 700-800lbs), growling and aggressive at times, so that you knew standing well back was the best decision, photos or not. That is the large male at the left and his harem of females to the right.
There were remnants of whale bones scattered on the landscape, some nearly as large as my torso. Sadly, there were also remains of baby penguins that did not live to maturity. There were lichens and layers of sea life everywhere. It was all beautiful.
The next morning’s excursion was to Bleaker Island. The weather deteriorated, so rather than a second excursion (thanks to the gods) the Captain moved the ship to the calmer waters of East Falkland Island, near the capital of Stanley. On Bleaker Island we saw more penguins, different to the previous ones. These were called Rock Hopper Penguins. They were so hilarious looking—kind of a mixture of uber-cool and pissed off! Picture the penguins Robin Williams voiced in Happy Feet (Ramon and Lovelace) and you will know what I mean. Nearly all of the penguins we saw were moulting, which is why they were on land and not in the water. While they are moulting they are vulnerable to the cold and wet, so for a few weeks of the year they stand in large communities dropping feathers while the new ones grow in…and they are starving. They can’t fish so they can’t eat. This was another reason we had to respect some distance and not make them feel threatened.
Our first little while on Bleaker Island was a very rude shock. The weather was cold and the headwind was nearing gale force gusts. And then it sleeted. And then it hailed. And then we all turned our backs to the weather like penguins, until it passed. Again, Bleaker was an apt name. We then trudged along on the uneven ground that was thick with long grasses. In hind sight, this was the most difficult excursion of all, but at the time we weren’t sure they all wouldn’t be like this!
The following morning we were moored near Stanley and the ship’s Cruise Director, Capucine, announced they had put together a land excursion for us to take across the bay via bus, to see more rock hopper penguins as well as the rugged terrain. The shock for us was that they are still scouring the area for landmines, planted in the 1982 war. We were not to venture from the well designated path.
After the bus excursion we were allowed to roam around Stanley to get a feeling for the place. It was somewhat like an idyllic English village and we could see why the locals would have wanted it to remain as it is. The archway in front of the church is made from whale bones! (And just by the way, as of 2 April, they still have no COVID-19!) There have to be some rewards for living in one of the remotest parts of the world.
Let me set the scene for you. It is the day after the twelve boys and their coach have been rescued from the cave in Thailand. It is a winter morning and -3C (26F) outside. I prevaricate over my usual morning walk. Will I? Won’t I? Gee it is cold. Those 12 children and their young coach got through 16 days trapped in a cave, surely I can put on my nice warm clothes and walk for 50 minutes.
I jogged up the hill near my house, walked 30 metres or so to catch my breath and then decided more jogging must happen to warm up. As I jog down the other side of the hill, still trying to get my blood pumping, I see some scavenger birds circling a distant, dark shape on the fairway of the fourth hole (we live on a golf course). A few more metres and I realise the shape is a Dingo feeding…on a dead kangaroo. I pull my camera (which is my iPhone) from my pocket and open it up, hoping that my cold fingers can still get the touch controls to work. I take a photo that I know will show very little, but it is just to get the settings right and make sure the touch control is working. As is my usual practice with wild life, I slow down. As I approach, every few metres, I take another photo, and another, refocusing and getting closer each time.
The birds of prey begin to scatter. The Dingo eyes me nervously but he is hungry, so he continues. Finally, he thinks I am too close and he reluctantly begins to head toward the taller grasses at the edge of the course, looking back over his shoulder all the while. He still doesn’t want to leave his meal behind so he stops…and watches me. I’m relieved that he is somewhat afraid of me since I am walking alone and have no means of fending off an attack. He has what he wants anyway, and that is not me.
I quietly walk on and soon am getting farther away. He decides I mean him no harm and he approaches the carcass again. Now I can see the bloody bare bones of the rib cage but I know if I stop it will spook him so I continue on. I don’t want a graphic photo of the corpse in any case. I know this is Mother Nature and all part of the survival of the fittest.
And what about those boys and their coach, and their rescuers? If that isn’t also a tale of survival, I must have missed something. The world is a marvel and a mystery, revealing itself every day.
Dingo and dead kangaroo in the middle ground of the fairway
Still dark, I lay in bed, door open to the cool early dawn air. Musical tones, almost conversational, and a little eerie, drift in from not far away. The dingoes are back.
pied butcher bird
Pied Butcher Bird practices her beautiful song for quite a long while. I stretch and bend my body toward functionality, which is my morning practice. The piercing song sinks deep into my psyche. I wonder what theunfortunately named bird was singing about? A nice insect it had just consumed? A good place to perch? Come here…this garden has no cats or dogs and they keep a nice bowl of water too.
I set off on my morning walk…listening to a favourite podcast. The episode was from Krista Tippett (On Being) interviewing beloved Irish poet, Michael Longley. More and more, I find myself being drawn to poets and their concise artistry.
The interview started with Michael Longley quoting his own favourite poet:
“There’s a line by John Clare that I adore. I love John Clare. I revere him. “Poets love nature, and themselves are love.” And I believe that with all my heart. And part of writing is adoration. For me, celebrating the wildflowers or the birds is like a kind of worship.”
Those words pulled me in and for the remainder of the walk I was absorbed in a sort of reverie of someone else’s experiences, uniquely expressed, yet similar to my own. That is what art hopes to achieve, something previously unidentified, but immediately recognisable.
The Wedge Tail Kites (large birds of prey) circled above me, occasionally landing near enough to see how large they were. Some are big enough that my neighbour carries a golf club to chase them away, lest their carnivorous tendencies see her young puppy as breakfast!
In my ears, unfolded ‘The Vitality of Ordinary Things’.* Even thinking about it now reminds me of my own strong connection with tiny and ordinary pieces of life. It has only been in the last decade or so that I have recognised my own fascination with this side of life. I think it has always been there. I just hadn’t realised it was a theme—perhaps not had the mental space to see it.
Once you see a thing, it cannot be unseen.
Home again. My daily habit is to water the rosemary plants, growing in pots along the patio. I lifted the metal watering bowl we keep in the outside sink. A sizeable, andnearly expired, lizard had curled up underneath and was still–eyes closed, but not yet dead. Poor thing, what is there to do? I picked it up gently and placed it in the shade of the vines, surrounding the rosemary pots, hoping it wasn’t too late for it to revive. Its response was not encouraging. As you know, I’m sympathetic to the lizards around here and this was one I didn’t often see–about three times the length of a gecko and with lovely patterned skin. After laying his limp body in the shade, I dribbled a little water over him. Eyes still shut, he looked dehydrated, hovering near death. I suspect he had crawled into the sink for water and then couldn’t get out again. It happens sometimes, and with our hot weather, anything that small can dehydrate quickly.
I felt sad, and more than a little worried for him, having lost Bernie so recently.
Wanting to know…and yet fearing how the lizard fared, I waited a few hours to check on him. I carefully picked through the vines to peek and see if by some miracle he had revived. ‘My stars and garters!’, as my Aunt used to say! There he was blinking back at me. He looked almost normal and not in a huge rush to scurry away. And me with no camera.
But I have a pen.
How much more of an ordinary thing can one do, but to interact with nature? Then again, how much more of an extra-ordinary thing can one do but to save a life?
Anything, however small, may make a poem; nothing, however great, is certain to. –Edward Thomas
likeness of rescued lizard
*for the uninitiated, Michael Longley has the most gentle and calm Irish voice and explains so well the creative life of a poet as well as some of the complexities of life in Northern Ireland. He is an agnostic, so if this bothers you, try to put it to one side. You will see that he is deeply reverent and impishly delightful. The link I have given is so that you can listen to the interview on the computer or read the transcript, or see the title and find it in your podcast app. I have to say, though, it is his lovely, lilting voice that enhances his thoughts and humour, so if you can listen. It is worthwhile.
For a few moments I melded with the sunlit rocky outcrop reflected in the glass. It was peaceful there without my mind unraveling its usual tale of woe.
Heart is wrenched at the thought of the old man who looked like my father, shuffling along in front of me a few days ago. As time goes I somehow miss him more. I thought it would all fade as the years passed.
Begins another day.
There are lizards in my life. As a personal animal totem–not necessarily mine, but maybe… a lizard can symbolise repetition of cycles. It can also mean a person is extremely good at facing their own fears and moving between realities and alternate existences. How does one know what is reality and what is otherworldly? Both can seem so real and yet so preposterous.
Our bearded dragon sits patiently in the tree near the patio, waiting for his lunch to crawl or fly past. Take away, fast food. Or sometimes he sits in the top of the rosemary bush, doing much the same, but the scenery is different. Now and then he trots out onto the golf course, a hundred feet or so in front of the house, and he sits. Frozen in the heat. Occasionally he raises a leg and holds it in the air, as if uncertain of his next move. Or he bobs his head up and down–now what is that about? Makes me smile.
a view of the mountain and perchance a snack?
a change of scenery from the rosemary bush
The pygmy goannas rent a holiday space in the rafters above the insulation in our house. They come and go and, except for years of mice in plague proportions, keep the house fairly rodent-free. Hearing the occasional scuffle in the ceiling is more reassuring than worrying. They sometimes peer at me through stored pots in the corner of the courtyard beside the clothesline. Is she friend or foe? I turn to hang a pillowcase, hear a soft sliding sound and look back in time to see a long dark tail disappearing into the roof space. Very occasionally I see them out and about, crawling through the courtyard, stopping frequently in case a snack is nearby. Once, in winter, I discovered them sunning on the side of the studio. Am guessing the rammed earth walls are very user friendly for their claws. They have been around this property since we moved here 20 years ago, and probably before that.
pygmy goanna sunbather
Geckos are ubiquitous. They party at night when we are asleep, feasting on a banquet of mosquitoes, moths and insects, if the copious droppings are anything to go by. Our geckos almost never die in the house, thank goodness, but they love to shed their skins here. Every few months I find a gecko skin, nearly perfectly formed and left behind in the ledge of our bedroom window. The skins are translucent, soft and pliable. The window is always in dappled light, with leaf litter below and native bushes a few feet in front. It must seem a friendly space. I wonder what it feels like to not just metaphorically shed one’s skin?
after the shedding…
off with the old…
The art of my life is when I see things that evoke feelings which I am able to access and turn into words or drawings. I wish for you, lizards and alternate realities and a muse who will help you spin them into gold.
When we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen. ~ Henry David Thoreau
On the second day of new year, January’s Wolf moon had nearly dipped behind the ranges as I stepped out for my early morning walk. I had descendants of the wolf on my mind as I skirted the area I normally walk through, in favour of a, hopefully, safer one. The previous morning my husband and his mates saw five–five dingoes rolling and frolicking in the grass on the 6th Fairway, about 12 minutes’ walk from our house and about a third of the way along my normal route. In the past we have seen two or three at a time, but never five. So, while I was walking I stopped the dog walkers alerting them to the situation. There have been two incidents that I know of a couple of years ago; one with a lady I know who was stalked by three dingoes while she was walking her tiny little mouthful of a dog, and another where the dingoes actually got into a neighbour’s yard and helped themselves to a tiny little canine entrée.
Wild Dingoes on the fairway in front of our house
Dingoes are gorgeous creatures but they are a nuisance in an urban setting. The area where we live is between the golf course and the bush so it is a difficult place for the Rangers to patrol—very easy for the dogs to slip through to the scrub and go undetected. The dingoes are protected so would only be caught and relocated, which is good, but first they must be caught.
Last year during my time away from blogging, a friend sent me a notice about a writing competition in a nice magazine here in Australia. Just to exercise my writing muscle, I entered. It is intimidating to know where to start when one has such a wide scope for subject matter. I finally settled on a reworked post from this blog since the article was to be something that exhibited Australian life. It was about previous encounters I’ve had with the dingoes –you might like to read the entry here– the dingo and the light chaser. It was not selected for the magazine, but I’m sure they received many pieces and who ever knows what judges are looking for in these things? And it might just be crap, I don’t know. It’s important to keep one’s perspective about why we write so that our fragile egos are not too damaged. As you can see, I’m undaunted.
Just after sending the entry, I was laying on the sofa in the dark one morning, waiting for it to be light enough to walk. (I sometimes wake up at ridiculous hours) Out of the pre-dawn came a chorus I will never forget. The family of dingoes must have been within metres of our house as they began their serenade. It was obvious there were younger, higher pitched voices mixed with the more experienced, deeper ones, practicing their howling skills. It lasted maybe ten or fifteen seconds. I peered into the darkness. Couldn’t see a thing. But they were there.
Again, the day after I began writing this piece, an adult dingo was within metres of our house, sniffing through the fence at the little white yapping morsel next door. If I was cruel I would wish the dingo bon appétit. The entire neighbourhood bristled to life with workmen jumping down from their scaffolds to watch and neighbourhood dogs announcing the dingo’s journey as it moved, unhurried, along its way, into the rocky outcrops and relative safety.
Sometimes we overlook the obvious. I was reading a blog recently and the author had added an Instagram ‘widget’ to the bottom of her blog page. But SHE was smart enough to tell her readers about it. Not me. I added it about a year ago, during my 365 photo project, but don’t recall telling you about it. Silly me. Those of you who are not on Instagram can check my blog any time to see the latest photo I’ve posted to IG, if you so wish. I often use the same photos to illustrate my blog posts, but not always…so it may be of interest to you to check now and then. You’ll need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, passed the comments, to see it.
One of the more recent photos I’ve posted on IG was a little gift I discovered one morning while sweeping the leaves from our breezeway. It was the most charming little collection of local objects, delivered right to my front door (literally) by the prevailing winds.
The red bits of fluff are from the Callistemon, or bottlebrush trees, that have been flowering. The Eucalyptus leaves, are, of course, very prevalent in our area. The large feather is from one of the small honey eating birds that frequent the garden, and the small green feather is from a Port Lincoln Parrot. The other bits of fluff and seeds are from various native grasses and lilies that we have in the garden…and all of it collected by an opportunistic cobweb, probably a failure if it was intended for insects, but a definite success for a photographer.
Regardless of your political interests, I hope you are having a good week.
A lovely Spotted Turtle Dove has captivated my attention. It visited our courtyard each morning most of the winter. For much of that time our spa cover had water in it and a variety of birds came for a bath and a drink. It is a dry land we inhabit here, and semi-permanent water is something animals remember.
When the weather warmed my husband thought the water in the top of the cover would attract mosquitoes so he emptied it. Turtle Dove came two mornings in a row and walked around on the dry cover, as if looking for something…a water-y something, perhaps. There was something so heart rending about watching it walk around and search, occasionally pecking at small bits of leaf or dirt where water used to be.
Then one day it didn’t come. Animals quickly adapt to reality, and move on. If only we could let things go as easily!
I told my husband I was going to arrange a sort of bird bath from an old plastic plant bowl and fill it and see if the dove would return. For the first day after I filled the bowl, the only living thing that visited were a couple of dragon flies. Several times a day I would look out my kitchen window for signs of little Turtle Dove. On the third day, my effort was rewarded; little Turtle Dove returned and drank from the bowl. It has come every day since. The Spotted Turtle Dove visits regularly, walking through the herb garden looking for small insects and seeds.
A water dish for bees. The stones are to give them a place to land, so they don’t drown.
“I know you are not welcomed in many places*, but you are welcome in my garden, little dove.”
And now, a pair of native Crested Pigeons frequent the courtyard, dipping their beaks into the water bowl and playing chase with each other. I’ve seen them cuddling up side by side in the shade of the patio, as well. The male occasionally fans his tail feathers, peacock style, to impress his lady love, and she seems to tolerate his behaviour in a nonchalant way. Ladies, we can be so hard to please.
The enjoyment of my winged guests, who come and go at will, reminds me to be grateful for little things…
“In the emotional world a small thing can touch the heart and the imagination every bit as much as something impressively gigantic.” —Henry Beston
Crested Pigeon couple
(*The Spotted Turtle Dove is unkindly referred to as an ‘STD’ among bird enthusiasts, because it is not a native species. It was imported from China in about 1860.)
I created this series of images just for this blog piece. Sometimes it is fun to be a bit arty with images, and since my iPhone photos of birds are average at best, the editing helps make the images more interesting (I think).
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. -Thomas Merton
Some things are happening. Inside. As of yet, the outcome is not evident, but I know when things are afoot. I find great comfort making images of things outside of me, which reflect the inside of me as well.
Standing alone and crooked, this tree surrenders to itself.
As you would have seen many times, the subtitle to my blog is ‘surrender to yourself’. I explained how this came to be and what it means in another post a couple of years ago. It’s a nice post, go ahead and read it if you haven’t. Surrender makes way for new things to come.
Echoing in my mind has been something a friend said to me a few weeks ago ‘go out there and find that beauty’. Thank you F. We just never know the effect, a few words we share might have on someone.
Wildflower with raindrops.
Captive rain droplet.
Male pygmy goanna (half of the pair) who live in our loft space from time to time. The pavers are the size of bricks, if that gives you an idea of his size. Female is about 2/3 his size.
Surrendering sounds easy. It kind of is, and isn’t. Remaining open and letting things go, so that they might be replaced with new challenges and discoveries is scary, exciting, hope-filled, and for me, necessary.
What are you willing to give up, in order to have what you want? -Elizabeth Gilbert
I thought I would post some recent photos so that you will know I have not lost interest or forgotten you. I’m surrendering to my inner voice at the moment. Forgive me if I’m slow to read or respond to your comments. I’m not far away, just a little ray of light, really.
‘Pussy tail’ wildflowers.
Port Lincoln Parrots seem to perfectly match the current environment.
Patch of legume type wildflowers.
Wildflower with raindrops.
Looking through the Callistemon flowers at sunrise on Mt Gillen…from our patio.
In Australian vernacular, this is called a ‘bog roll’.
The photo below is Boggy Hole. No relationship, except that one must occasionally use a bog roll when visiting Boggy Hole, because it is about 2.5 hours out of town, in the middle of everywhere, or nowhere, depending on your perspective.
One can get ‘bogged’, which means ‘stuck’, usually in mud, sand or bull dust.
One can get a ‘boggy bog roll’ if you leave your bog roll somewhere to get wet.
And one can do all of the above at Boggy Hole if you aren’t careful.
Happily, we only did one of these things. Can you guess which one?
Boggy Hole is in the Finke Gorge National Park and it is not easy to get to. It is rated medium to high difficulty for 4 wheel drive vehicles and it is every bit of that. Three vehicles of us, nine persons altogether, decided to have a day out and enjoy our gorgeous landscape before the heat of summer sets in. These photos are not indicative of how rough much of the terrain was, but you can’t take photos inside a vehicle that is bouncing from wheel to wheel and back again.
more intrepid travelers
all good fun
the view from inside–yikes!
some of the less rough terrain
On the way I was mentally snapping photo after photo, because, of course, when you are traveling with a group you cannot stop everyone so that you can take a photo. More’s the pity. Fortunately for me, we did have a couple of ‘pit stops’ and a flat tyre, as well as a challenging bit of landscape, that slowed us down and gave me a chance to take a few extra photos. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful to me.
Sunrise from John Flynn Memorial
Mt Gillen in early light
Where waiting is beautiful but flat tyres are not.
Once we arrived at Boggy Hole, we all broke out our various contributions of food and drink and settled in for a few hours of chin wagging…and photo snapping. In the distance we could see some large birds on the water, among them Pelicans, Jabiru (large cranes), a couple of Darters, and some Black Swans. We all wondered how these water birds found their way to this remote place. But that is Nature for you–full of mysteries. Unfortunately they were too far away for me to get meaningful photos, and they scattered as soon as we got within any kind of decent range. There were quite a few dark cygnets swimming along with the larger Black Swan, very cute, of course. Did you know that Black Swans are indigenous to Australia? They are only seen worldwide because they have been sent, as novelties, and then bred afterward.
T and M sizing up the long range photos of the birds
reeds alongside Boggy Hole
viewing area of Boggy Hole
The walking was taxing, lots of deep sand and many rocks and deep weeds to navigate through. Between that and the tumbling action of the vehicle on the rough terrain, my body feels like the day after a first session of new exercise. But I can assure you, it was well worth the effort. It was one of those perfect weather/companion/scenery days that we will look back on in 20 years and smile…perhaps, while using some bog roll.
On the way to/from Boggy Hole, a ‘necessary pause’ allowed this photo