I ponder on the wise of it As trees around me bow Before the gusting hot north wind Before which they bend so cowed I give the thought deep consideration As the darkening sky forebodes I check, the heat is forty four As wind and weather goads There’s much to lose either way Deciding to stay or go Give up the home to fiery tempest Risk the life you know There’s a plan to pack the things I need Water blanket items precious There’s alternative routes to avoid the flames Where the flames may be ferocious But then there’s plans to stay and fight Buckets mop hose and mask Hit each ember where it lands But am I really up to the task? This day’s been declared catastrophic red I waited to see how it would turn Now I’m stuck as the catastrophe looms All around wilts then starts to burn The air is burning in my throat Radiant heat scorches all around me The sky rains burning leaves and hot grey ash The smoke so thick I can’t breathe or see I dare not move can’t find the house I touch hot metal seek shelter in the car Pull the woollen blanket over my head And lie below the glass to cower Explosions start as eucalyptus oil In nearby trees ignites The car is rocked by more of them as fuel detonates in light so bright The fear is terrible I’m paralysed hope my only gift I so wish I’d gone before the fire packed my stuff and left
Bump & Grind
Mode: Gravel Grinder
Start / Finish location: Jubilee Park, Avenel
Elevation: 150 – 480m
Topography: Flats through to steep gradients
Surfaces: 25km bitumen / 14km gravel
Description & Features: Quiet roads. Beautiful scenery. Vistas to grazing pasture, rolling hills, cherry orchards, vineyards, forested waterways and granite outcrops. • A steady gravel climb to views across to Mt Wombat from Upton Hill • A winding bitumen return downhill • Avenel Maze is passed on the return leg
Riding conditions: It can be very cold in winter and very hot in summer. Check local weather conditions before leaving.
Options: Choose clockwise or anti clockwise, the 14km of gravel is at the eastern end of Tarcombe Rd
Amenities (Avenel): Car parking BBQ Fuel Shops Seating Parkland Playground Picnic tables Public toilets Potable water Accommodation Historic features Sports Reserves Swimming Pool Railway station
Cautions: Steep climbs Soft shoulders Slippery surfaces Subject to flooding Road surfaces vary Snakes may be active Mobile reception may be unreliable Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart Be equipped for self-reliant riding
Anticlockwise Cues: Start Jubilee Park car park Right Ewings Rd Right Livingstone St Left Mitchell St Right Jones St Cross Hume Fwy Straight on Tarcome Rd Left Upton Rd Right Tarcombe Rd Cross Hume Fwy Straight Jones St Left Mitchell St Right Anderson St Left Ewings Rd
On a perfect summer evening the lights of the Arts Precinct and Flinders Street Station were irresistible.
Choose a place to still your body and a restless mind. Sit. Start by observing all that is going on around you. Hear the background noises. Examine the occupants, textures and colours of the physical surroundings. Feel the movement and temperature of the air. Take your time. Acknowledge and appreciate these things. Once you have paid them their due. Let them go.
Look into your mind. Question the constant restlessness of your thinking. How important is it for this moment? Work your way through your thoughts, shedding all that are not essential to your being here and now. Settle any disturbing waves of turbulence to a calm pool within.
Breathe, slow and deep. Find your own rhythm.
Place yourself exclusively in this moment and space. Stay for as much time as you need. Peacefully, refresh and reset.
went into the water
a younger brother,
had an older sister
Well, what else is a sibling
water daughter for?
I saw her wavering figure
deep down ahead,
like an arrow.
I saw her
touch the bottom
of washed sand,
of rounded stones
smoothed by years
with a pat of her hand.
She rose then.
A lithe silver nymph
spearing her way to the surface.
And I knew I was in trouble,
Caught by the current
like one of those
tumbled and bumped,
grated and ground.
I had no hardened surface
to resist the battering,
no thick skin
to soften defeat,
of up or down,
to swim or float,
not even the desire to flap about.
I just froze,
one with the chilled water.
That would come later.
unable to comprehend
how I could find
What did it mean
by lack of learning.
for the very first time
in my very short life,
the refracted sky
above was still blue,
the fluffy clouds
were still white,
the trees on the bank
were still green.
The water became
The known world
began to disappear.
filled my ears.
filled my nose
and my mouth.
I couldn’t call out.
on my chest grew heavier.
I couldn’t breathe,
If you couldn’t get into the NGV Triennial between lockdowns and all the other life stuff that interferes with what you really want to be doing, here is a small photographic essay of my experience. Being at the NGV again was such a treat. The visitors were well supported and everyone looked very cool and very relaxed. As usual, the curation was excellent. The artworks were impressive and engaging. It almost felt normal.
We started in the back garden where, as DJ, our daughter’s partner was doing a great job getting everyone into a chilled art space frame of mind. Seated under a shady Pin Oak was the perfect setting for the groove and the company. In fact, it was so chilled and relaxed I even risked my first light beer in a very, very long time. It was appropriately refreshing and I didn’t get my usual alcohol headache. Very pleasing.
Note: The photos are pretty grainy and may be a bit out of focus at times. I was using an old Nikon A300 point and shoot. It isn’t a very capable camera, but I had fun with it nonetheless.
Be your own measure of success. Do not accept it being imposed upon you. Examine the reasons for your decision making with a view to determining where your decisions come from. Those arising from necessity must necessarily be actioned. However, those arising from other forms of external pressure may be either unnecessary, misdirected, inappropriate or appropriate. You should be the one to determine which. To understand the motives of everyone involved and how they influence you, take the time to ask yourself, “What is really happening here?”
Advertising seduces me into ever wanting more. Advertising leaves me wanting.
Nature arouses in me the need to belong, experience and explore. Nature fulfils these needs and more.
Although I feel a closeness to nature in the place that I live, I recognise that I live in an anthropomorphic construct of the natural world. Our previously bare domestic garden is increasingly made up of intentional revegetation. However, this is composed of a significantly disproportionate mix of indigenous and non indigenous species, of naturally random, arbitrary and planned placement of plants and spaces. Our decision making always seems to find a way to more suit human than wildlife visitation.
The wider rural countryside is much the same. Despite being comprised of grasses, shrubs, trees, water and wildlife, this is a man made place. The dominant grasslands are introduced crops and pasture, extensive and controlled. Amongst the shrubs and trees exotics are commonplace whether in a garden or in the bush. The creeks support nothing like the biodiversity they once did and across the landscape quality indigenous habitat is scarce. Any natural world remnants are fragmented and disconnected, degraded and infiltrated. This place has been radically modified by the imposition of a consumption focussed cultural model, where everything must serve a human oriented purpose.
In the tiniest instance of natural world history, narrow human interest has either directly destroyed or undermined millennia after millennia of interdependent natural world systems development. Ironically, this continuing single mindedness may well be our own undoing. Regardless of how obvious this fact should be, it remains subject to debate because of human arrogance and our incapacity to respond to science, to recorded history, or learn from our mistakes.
Science and recorded history tell us that just 250 years ago Australia hosted a richer natural world where waterways, landscapes and the sky were full of the noises and business of bush life. Today we consider a terraformed garden space that might just support a small range of wildlife part of this natural world. It is not, by its very nature it is a construct, better than other forms of obliterating built environment, but a construct nonetheless. Without a doubt, humans will choose to retain their gardens for productive use and against the uncontrolled threat of the wild
Gardens are necessary for function and pleasure. However, extensive rewilding is the only scalable answer to imminent ecosystems collapse. Unless we restore declining biodiversity, consequent collapsing food chains and the checks and balances of natural world systems interdependence, we will lose everything.
Natural world spaces beckon. A track, a trail, a waterway, a forest, a desert, a garden, a valley, a mountain, a park. They call on us to linger in place, to appreciate and contemplate. They feed our souls and refresh our minds. They represent and deliver the simplest pleasures of life, observing and feeling part of the interconnectivity of everything.
How is it we can perceive acquisition of things as necessary to our wellbeing, but continue to feel deprived of a sense of wellbeing when we acquire things? Why does this disconnect exist? Where does it come from? What is it that we really need or want?
When is thinking more important than things? Other than when things are required to do good work, maybe all the time?
Ah, but what exactly is good work ….. ?
I recently read David Attenborough’s 2020 book, “A life on our planet: My witness statement and a vision for the future”. Ever since, I have been contemplating how on earth it will be possible to action the plans he outlines for preserving functional global climate systems, biodiversity, and saving ourselves from ourselves.
Rewilding is one solution Attenborough envisages. A small example may be when many urban neighbourhoods develop their own small forests and foster biolinks. The cumulative effect could be significant. Just as each relatively small piece of new built environment and mono cultural agribusiness diminishes our capacity to recover, each relatively small piece of new ecosytem and forest enhances it. See www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-56003562
I love it when you are reading a book, no matter how good it is, and you come to a blank page. This is because as you turn that empty page you are quickly one page closer to the end than you thought. One page closer to the sweet anticipation of finding and starting your next book.
Come and see me with autumn’s fall
We’ll share the light and colour
I‘ll always answer your call
Come and see me in winter time
When the wind blows cold
Makes our warmth sublime
Come and see me in joyful spring
When the world renews
Our time for loving
Come and see me in summer heat
When we can seek cool places
Where and whenever we meet
Or come and see me forever one day
And we’ll stay together
As I head
toward the door
head my way
Where are you going?
It doesn’t matter, I say
a destination in its own right
the easiest way
we can fully engage
With the natural world
we place ourselves
at a new destination every minute
we escape ourselves
And we expose ourselves
to genuine experiences
of our surroundings
and the elements
on the human scale
What will you look for?
knowing whatever I look for
I will also find many things different
I don’t need to look
for anything in particular
because I will find
small parts of everything
Walking always takes me there
Click on the link http://strathbogie.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/202010_nws_TT.pdf
Be kind to the one that you love
Love isn’t a problem to solve
Love is human unique
With no room for pique
To give and receive
To hold and believe
Be kind to the one that you love
In this book, Margaret Atwood shares with us a set of short stories. The principal characters are all women. The narrative revolves around their self perception. Each story represents an episode from a life. Many of these episodes are ongoing and without conclusion regardless of coming to the end. However, this doesn’t matter because the stories are more about getting an insight into what makes each principal tick, rather than the story itself. This is an intimate and rewarding approach to sharing the motivation for some women’s choices. In a way, this approach makes discussion of the stories themselves superfluous. So, I am going to consider the writing style used to communicate these internal dialogues instead.
I like Margaret Atwood’s style. It is direct and concise. Atwood’s sentences are short and often punchy. She is descriptive in a precise and succinct way. She fills out her characters in a purposeful, almost business like manner, but without sacrificing personality. Quite an achievement really. There’s something empirical in the way she speaks to the reader. She writes from an evidence base. There is an explanation for everything so that the content becomes believable and thus compelling.
Internal dialogues are an important tool for Atwood. She utilises self consciousness to tell the character’s story in such a way you develop an intimate perspective. It feels partly voyeuristic. On the other hand, there is a concurrent application of third party detachment. This balance allows you to proceed without feeling too guilty about listening to private thoughts and observing private actions. This approach works well for the reader. It invites you in. As a consequence, each encounter feels primarily like a unique sharing of a personal psychological profile. Each story becomes something of a secondary tale, just a vehicle for achieving the author’s primary goal.
Recommended as an interesting and informative approach to gender specific short story telling.