Wet, wet, wet, spring

By Lynn Elder

Splashes of yellow bright sunshine comes between,
Splashes of water bouncing upon the already drenched earth.
Splashes of red and blue announce the arrival of the rosellas,
Splashes of water in the bowls as they frolic and beg for seed.
Splashes and quacking as ducks land on overflowing dams.

Splashes of running water cascading over temporary waterways.
Splashes of mud and water as gumboots wade through.
Splashes and squelching as cattle sink into the quagmire.
Splashes of furious currents as spillways release the excess water. 
Splashes as the four-wheel drive negotiates the potholes and puddles.

Splashes on the ground as the rainwater tank overflows.
Splashes of colour emerge in the form of flowers when grey clouds roll away.
Splashes of flowery fashions appear on the sunny spring days.
Splashes continue with each rainy day that insists on not stopping too soon. 

			

The moods of spring

By Lynn Elder

Spring has sprung in all its glory!
Oh, what personality does spring display
When it thinks it is time to play.
Spring can be so fickle,
Also, so changeable.

Spring can be a myriad of colours
As bursting buds bring forth the flowers,
Then disappear in a breeze,
With the sudden arrival of a wintry freeze.

There is a promise of radiant sunshine,
For which we did all through winter pine,
For a return of some warmth to bask in,
And feel the sensation on our skin.

Spring does have a gentle side to its personality,
Amidst all the activity and vitality.
Blossom petals fall softly like light bird feathers,
And newborn lambs and calves snuggle against mothers,
To herald in the hope and joy of spring.



The Final Goodbye

Certain rituals in our lives help to mark special occasions, rites of passage, or simply to make sense of what we cannot understand or control. Such was the case with the sudden death of my stepson, Matthew, over three years ago, which I have written about in previous posts.
Taking one’s life regardless of age or circumstances is a tragedy and devastating for those left behind to wonder why. We must celebrate life as precious and continue to remember those who were part of our lives. While they may not be here physically, our shared memories live on.
A group of us, including family and close friends, was finally able to gather to spread Matthew’s ashes up in the bush, looking towards the nearby mountains. It was his happy place. Constant lockdowns and ongoing COVID outbreaks curtailed this final goodbye for the past three years. I would often say hello to Matt as I vacuumed around the box containing his ashes.
His Dad finally said we needed to do this, so within a matter of less than a month, it was decided everyone could make it on the long weekend being the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. It also coincided with the official opening of the snow season on the nearby mountain where Matt loved to snowboard. A fitting tribute.
We arranged to meet for lunch before heading up the hills. The nine of us, all with different recollections of Matt. I took a framed photo used at his funeral, where he is grinning merrily, dressed in his snowboarding gear, to sit on the table. We bought him a pint and raised a glass to Matt’s memory.
A nice touch was when the bistro manager said she recognised his face. I said he lived in the city but spent much time on the mountain in winter. Apparently, she worked up on the ski lifts during the season.
The weather was atrocious, but we thought Matt might have the last laugh by sending snow up to the hills. Our ascent up the hills was icy, wet and foggy. It did not snow on us, but the cloud was so low it blocked the usual beautiful mountain views. It provided a surreal backdrop as we huddled on the veranda of the weekend shack. Each of us took turns spreading Matt’s ashes and saying our last goodbye.
His good mate, who owns the holiday property, had bought a mini-keg of pale ale to enjoy afterwards. I suddenly felt teary but had a real sense that Matthew’s spirit was with us and was where he belonged.
His good mate has set up a bar inside above the wood heater with a digital display of photos, and a snowboard mounted on the wall, in honour of Matt’s memory. We all need to find our own ways of keeping those we love close to us in a meaningful way.
We departed back down the hills, knowing it was a final goodbye. The landscape, in all its bleakness, seemed appropriate at that moment.

If anyone you know is struggling and needs help with anxiety, depression or suicide prevention, contact the two Australian organisations below:

https://www.lifeline.org.au/131114/

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Love cats everywhere on International Cat Day – August 8

Caring and sharing, Rambo and Friskie.
Beautiful Friskie, RIP.
Friskie the explorer.
Dili, Timor Leste.
Rambo drinking from a puddle

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” — Mark Twain

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” — Ernest Hemingway

This stray moggie used this Dili, Timor Leste hotel court yard as somewhere safe to hang out and dine on scraps.

“My cats are really sassy and sophisticated, but most importantly, they are picky.” — Jason Wu

Rambo my 16 year old moggie still going strong.

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” — Sigmund Freud

Rambo slept through most of International Cat Day.

“You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals.” — George Mikes

Stealing Dad’s seat in front of the fire is my triumph!

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.” — Charles Dickens

Rambo reigns supreme!

Twixt autumn and winter

Autumn is usually that settled period before winter arrives in earnest but this year it seems different. Spring is notorious for its fickle nature and the way that winter really doesn’t want to be gone too soon. A fellow blogger got me thinking about the time between seasons with his series on micro-seasons. This seems to be rooted in the Japanese culture unlike our western ideal of four seasons. We cannot mold the seasons to suit our requirements so maybe accepting these subtle or not so subtle periods twixt the seasons makes good sense.

Looking through my photos I was reminded of those occasions and activities that fall into autumn. Here in Victoria we start with a public holiday known as Labour Day in March. Then comes April holidays and the marking of Easter on the Christian calendar. On April 25 we also remember sacrificial love and duty to God and country when World War One broke out and so many took up arms to protect us. Sadly World War Two followed and other conflicts continue. ANZAC Day is not about glorifying war but honouring those who served. Younger generations of Australians and New Zealanders are learning about this part of their history. This year with no COVID restrictions more than 300 people turned out for the dawn service in our small town followed by the traditional gun fire breakfast usually a bacon and egg sandwich. Later in the morning there is a procession where veterans and other community groups and individuals are proudly involved.

The view from my bedroom window is changing with the arrival of foggy mornings and hot air balloons on crisp clear mornings. We see a red fox slinking through the grass in search of food and other times a family group of kangaroos waiting for the sun to arrive.

May is also when we celebrate Mother’s Day in Australia with all its commercial focus on pampering Mums everywhere. I managed a trip interstate to visit my own Mum. Last year, the borders between the states were being closed due to COVID and I just got home only hours before they were. I enjoy the larger open farming spaces of where I grew up. While visiting there was lots of burning off of stubble to make way for the next lot of crops. There is very little cropping near where I live now.

A new array of autumn colours has emerged while other trees shed their leaves freely. The sound of chainsaws echo in the valley as firewood is gathered for the coming cold months. The latest load of Black Angus steers has departed. Our birdlife changes with the seasons and weather. The colourful and cheeky King Parrots come searching for some wild bird seed. The weather has been a mixture of sun and rain with snow forecast this week on the nearby mountain. No doubt winter will arrive soon enough and with it comes the thought that we are almost halfway through another year!

Nature is not only what is visible to the eye – it shows the inner images of the soul – the images on the back side of the eyes.

-Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Norwegian painter and printmaker

Easter a time of hope

Eggs, chocolate, or straight from the chicken represent new life on Easter Day

We enjoyed an Easter without lockdowns here in Victoria and many are making the most of this beautiful autumnal weather here in my hometown. Our church was packed today with adults and children to celebrate Easter Day. We have a tradition at our Anglican church where we enjoy wine made by one of our parishioners and home-made chicken sandwiches after the the service. It was so lovely to see families out and about enjoying quality time together.

There is a sense of hope and looking forward to the future after a difficult two years. Here’s to us being kinder and more loving towards one another and speaking out against evil and injustice. Happy Easter to all.

Black and white focus on Paris

An iconic landmark in Paris which can seen from many parts of the city.
Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.
A carousel seems to be a common sight in French cities and Paris is no exception.
Waiting for a fare on the Champs-Elysees.
Arc de Triomphe is a wonderful structure that sits in the centre of a busy, chaotic roundabout that works.

Grey clouds here today prompted me to explore the beauty of black and white images of places I loved and as a reminder of travel before COVID.

Shades of Autumn

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” – Unknown

The clocks were turned back during the first weekend of April and it seems to have coincided with a definite change in the seasons. There is a coolness in the evening air despite some days of sunshine. The mid-March temperatures in the low 30s and annoying blow flies seem to have disappeared here in Victoria. But April can produce some stunning Autumn weather to enjoy over the Easter holidays. Will wait and see. We have avoided floods here but our hearts go out to those especially in NSW who have experienced severe flooding twice within a month.

For me autumn offers a calming time of year. It is subtle and yet spectacular as it reveals its hidden beauty. From green to gold, yellow to red. Here in North East Victoria the colours of autumn tend to really come into their own about mid April to early May. Then the great shedding of leaves starts as we approach winter. Raking is one way to get a good work out!

Over the weekend I explored our 25 acres with camera in hand for different perspectives and to capture the various tints and hues of the changing season. I also managed to find glorious brightly-coloured flowers.

There was also a visit to one of my favourite local places, Jamieson, an historic Victorian township on the river and in the bush-clad hills that were once home to many searching for gold. My husband and I attended the once a month Anglican church service which was followed by lunch in a nearby café.

Whatever season you may be going through, remember to enjoy the one you are going through now!