I took a stroll down to the beach. The light breeze was fresh, straight off the southern ocean. The vista vast, the scenery splendid and the sand underfoot familiar. Where were the people? I know it’s winter and not analogous to a beach visit, but a winter seascape has a lot to offer. The solitude of the beach, the continuous and hypnotic roll of the waves, and the cool brisk breeze to make you feel alive. Today was ideal as the gusty southerly wind had even taken pause for the serenity of the moment. The low clouds threatened and created a picturesque moment, framing the distant Eagle’s Nest promontory. I even poked a digit in the retreating tide (only brave enough for that digit to be my finger – too chilly for toes 🙂
The moment was broken when those burdened clouds began to drop their moisture, but this too was a treat. The light moisture sprinkling my face, the determined dash back to shelter and the squelch of the sand from running feet, all got my heart pumping and cheeks flushed. It reinforced that life is beautiful and serendipitous moments can be fleeting. Make sure you enjoy them all!
One of the brilliant reasons to visit with the opera is the orchestra. The feel of the music coming from the actual instruments themselves. The melody of the individual sounds blended together by the chief wrangler, the conductor. The music is one of the greatest dimensions of the opera, but there are many other attractions. The voices, the emotion, the drama/love/tragedy, the majesty of the performance, the story unfolding on stage. All of which sweeps you up into another world.
I saw Cavalleria Rusticana, a short opera, followed by Pagliacci, another short opera, that Opera Australia had turned into a modern interpretation set in rural Italy. Opera is no longer a soloist caterwauling about tragedy, but a feast for the senses, with action, emotion and performance. Both operas involved love triangles or quadrangles and were blended into one story line, before and after the interval to keep the audience guessing.
Try something new and see how it differs from your expectation.
Some old faces and some new. The invigorating stimulus of a classroom of like-minded writers. The challenge before us is refreshing and our teacher seems to have an original approach. The pursuit of knowledge is a worthy task. Other opportunities for more knowledge abound. Things of interest can be presented in all manner of people-watching, hands-on experiences or free lecture series.
I found myself at the Sir Jerry Price lecture on Science and Technology to Secure the Future for Water and Energy. Big ambition, Big targets. We need the Big thinkers of science to collaborate and answer these sorts of questions. It was held at the Australian Synchrotron by CSIRO, who have a wealth of extraordinary minds to absorb and address these outstanding problems of our time. The short version of this lecture was the nexus of increased energy needs, increased water needs and the over all carbon impact as we look to the future. Three different approaches were presented that were not mutually exclusive. The brilliance of these approaches was the big vision broken down to manageable pieces, even when some of those pieces don’t exist yet in science. This creates targets of focus to solve the problems of the future. I came out of the lecture hopeful.
When you look at a challenge in its entirety, it can seem insurmountable and overwhelming, but dissecting the challenge into digestible morsels can make the solution a reality. Scientific discovery and collaboration can achieve the impossible. So get out there and get yourself some knowledge.
The unbridled enthusiasm of a puppy is contagious. The joy of seeing new people and new things is projected to everyone present. The waggly tail that starts at the hips for a full body twister reinforces the welcome.
I got to cuddle Roy this week; he’s a 14-week old black Labrador puppy. He still has his puppy rolly polly skin and feet too big to do anything but flop around while dancing on the spot in greeting. A wet and licky tongue, expressive ears at the sound of something new and such a high pitched yelping of hello, all add to the experience.
Puppies are great fun and just to remind everyone of my position on fuzz-therapy: animals of any kind are good for the soul, pat a pooch or cuddle a cat, connect with another living species. These simple gestures bestow great comfort and warm the heart. It’s good to feel the unconditional love that comes from a kindred spirit.
Some things become too routine and you forget their impact until you experience it again with someone for their first time.
I seem to be making a habit of dinner at South Bank. This time a lovely Italian restaurant where we sat outside watching people promenade along the river. We had enjoyed a meal of pasta as the sun set. Then at 8pm my dining buddy almost fell off his chair. The sculptured chimney stacks lined up along the length of the river started humming and erupting in rolling balls of flame. Our proximity made it rather comical. I knew the humming was a prelude to the bursts of gas and flame, but it hadn’t occurred to me to explain what was to come. I thought it was just normal waiting expectantly, until I saw my friend halfway out of his seat. Oops, my bad 🙂
It was a five minute show of co-ordinated shooting flames along the length of the river with spectacular visuals. The radiant heat was a telling sign of how close we were. So don’t forget that something old can be new again when viewed vicariously through the first-time experience of someone else.
A quick runaway to Queensland will turn us all into sun-worshipers. I traveled north for work and found that there is warmth and sun amongst them there beaches. I even got to wear my sunnies and slap on some sunscreen. The feel of the sun was very welcome after a cold winter of endless short days. The warmth on your body loosens both muscles and tension, melting away the cares of the world.
I returned home to find another sun-worshiper taking up my favorite spot on the couch [Yes Sheldon, I have a spot too!] The north facing window allows in the winter sun from its aspect in the Northern hemisphere, and in summer is shaded and cool with its aspect directly overhead – the perfect spot.
Here are a couple of photos that I was able to snap. This is how to relax and only serious sun-worshipers can achieve “dead ant”, “pretzel twist” and “side splat”. Find your spot and have a go at these new yoga positions. Soak up the sun while it’s still coming in through the window, both literally and figuratively. There is no time like the present.
One of the good things about a holiday is finding that treasure that will remind you of all the fabulous things that you saw and did. My spectacular Kimberley trip was captured in some aboriginal art which I bought as unframed canvases. Upon my return I had them framed by collection and hung in my study.
They are now a constant reminder of a fabulous time in a remote part of Australia. We need to remember the good times, to savor the richness of the scenery and the diversity of the wildlife. Spectacular hardly does it justice, but reliving it again and again is a joy.
There are good times and not-so-good times, and having touchstones to reawaken the memories of the better ones is essential. Surround yourself with the good stuff as it will give you an inner glow and drive that is sustainable. Go and choose something of your own that represents a great holiday or a significant moment. Pop it in a prominent position and it can be your secret inner guilty pleasure to restore your equilibrium.
It is those little indulgences that can make you feel so much better. After a busy and focused couple of weeks with a few work-wins under my belt, I am enjoying a long (longer than normal 🙂 ) weekend. My first treat was a trip to the hairdresser. A relaxing head massage during the shampooing phase was only the beginning. The wrestling and trimming of the lengths into a smooth neat shape resulted in a lovely shiny “do”.
The world does look a little better when you’ve had a brief pampering. Is it the inner guilty pleasure that sustains you and lets you walk a bit taller? The intrinsic knowledge that you’re worth it? Sometimes we lose this focus and the weight of the world starts looking grim, but we need to buttress our inner sanctum at times against the constant erosion of life. A pampering session now and then can protect your inner fortress. The trick is to know what works for you and salt these moments into your routine. Experiment and create your own list of things to invigorate the soul, because you’re definitely worth it.
The geology of the Kimberley can not be measured in the normal sense of time. The sedimentary rocks like sandstone were formed in the Precambrian period over one billion years ago. This was well and truly before any life on earth and was back in the day when the tectonic plates were mere children bumping around into one another. The sandstone formations in the Kimberley are spectacular.
The columns and folds of the rock make them appear more pliable than they really are. The years have come and gone and the rocks remain unaltered except for a dark green micro algae that clings to the inter-tidal zone.
I have been lucky enough to see another year and upon reflection a lot has happened over the last 12 months. But this is nothing compared to that witnessed by the rocks of the Kimberley: the formation of cells and organisms, the creation of oxygen from photosynthesis and the diversity of the wildlife as it evolved. These are truly ancient rocks that deserve respect and awe. Next time you seen sandstone cliffs think about the eons of time that they have stood witness to the changing world. The last 12 months would only be a blink of an eye, yet we mark well the event each year with birthday celebrations. So happy birthday to all those who celebrate with me.
A change in routine can really make your day. Last weekend I popped down to Mornington with friends to visit the CWA (Country Women’s Association) Mornington Peninsula Group Creative Arts Exhibition at the Community Theatre. There were all manner of foods and crafts, in just as many categories.
There was quilting, sewing, embroidering, knitting, smocking, scrap-booking and many other diverse handicrafts. There were even floral displays, both fresh and dried. Portraits and artistic photography with Mornington as a theme showed the beautiful seascapes. The food categories were just as varied: jams and chutneys, no-bake slices, cakes, cake decorating [one looked like a hamburger!] and of course the staple – the pavlova. All these old fashions skills around food and craft seem to have fallen by the way-side for a whole generation, who have not learnt to sew a hem or bake a cake.
I was lucky to be part of the generation that did learn and I really value having these skills. Actually making a gift for a friend is a present beyond value that will be cherished for life. I recently gave a pregnant work colleague a baby quilt to which she said that I shouldn’t have bought her anything. I replied, “I didn’t. I made it.” And then gave her a big hug. Pregnant women do get a bit emotional 🙂
Learning new skills is a good thing and refreshing skills is something we should continue to do throughout life. My next project will be a cable pattern baby jacket. I haven’t done cable-stitch knitting for a few years now. So mix up your routine, change something, make time for learning something new or rediscover those crafty skills.