Right Steps & Poui Trees


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Last Sunrise, First Sunrise

On Sunday morning, I sat on my roof watching the last sunrise for 2017. My tea for that morning was tumeric and ginger, sweetened with Belcour honey, from hives my brother and sister-in-law have in the Blue Mountains. There was very little cloud cover, providing a rather minimalist early sunrise sky.P1250275Later the sun came up over the hills…P1250464…outlining them in differing shades of grey.P1250505The next day I was up on the roof again, to watch the first sunrise for 2018. Tea was peppermint…with Belcour honey. It was a very different morning, overcast, with heavy banks of grey clouds.P1250773But the sun came up. As it always does. With unremarkable regularity.P1250900

These divisions…such as the old year into the new year…are arbitrary but useful structures for us, reminding us of the passage of time and ordering our lives to some extent. I enjoy these formal endings and beginnings and some of the rituals associated with them. Not all, mind you. But what I am growing to love more and more are the rhythms of nature. As I view them from my roof…because I am not a great outdoor person, hiking or cycling or similar activities. I am the person who sits on her roof, observing the movement of the sun, moon and stars, the daily flight of birds through this space, the trees blossoming and other such things. It is amazing what I can see when I sit still for a while….

On the 4th day of 2018, it’s not too late to wish you a Happy New Year!

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Gliding Birds, Rising Moon: Weekly Photo Challenge – Delta

“This week, share a photograph that signifies transitions and change to you. It can be the very beginning of a phase, or the very end. As you pick up your lens, explore the ways in which a single photograph can express time, while only showing us a small portion of any given moment.”

The moon has been doing this for millions of years, “rising” and “setting”, in its different phases…long before we humans were around to witness it.  The birds have been gliding across the sky for a far shorter time, but certainly time measured in many millenia. That afternoon, I watched in awe as the moon rose and a flock of birds glided in slow motion, on invisible currents, across the cloudless blue sky. Gliding birds, rising moon, a moment in time….

Gliding past the moon 2017

Weekly Photo Challenge – Delta


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The One That Got Away

I stepped out of the kitchen door and looked up at the evening sky. Venus shone brightly, next to an incredible crescent moon, a slightly bronze crescent against the shadowy full circle of the moon. I stood still, watching for a few minutes.

“I’d love to try and photograph this,”  I thought. An amateur photographer still exploring a new camera. I wondered what images it would be possible to capture.

“Later, though,” I thought. And what I needed to do at the time actually was important, not one of those flaky things that often takes precedence in life.

It was much later when I had the time to remember Venus, the moon and my camera. But the sky had changed by then and, even from the roof, I couldn’t find the planet and the moon.

The next evening, I looked at the sky again at about the same time, hoping for another chance. But the sky was really cloudy and though I could see the light of Venus and the moon shining behind the clouds, there was nothing that called out for a photo.

That’s one that got away. One that is imprinted on my memory, but not captured for posterity. There are moments like that, fleeting, stunning in their beauty. They may not stand still long enough to be caught on camera, but a pause to recognise and enjoy them can be exquisite and enough.


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A Bucket List of Books?

I remember falling in love with Samuel Beckett’s works in Sixth Form. We were doing “Malone Dies” for A Levels and, in addition to having an excellent teacher, the searing scrutiny of the human condition resonated with something in my adolescent soul. After the three novels, I quickly went on to read “Waiting for Godot” and “Endgame” and without hesitation declared the man a genius!

 

 

So taken was I with Beckett, that in a letter to my grandparents (then in their late 60s/early 70s) I exhorted them to read “Malone Dies”, telling them how good it was. I still remember my grandfather’s reply in his next letter. He said that at his age, he preferred to stick with writers he already knew and liked. It was the first time I had thought about having to choose which books to read based on limited time left for reading. I didn’t fully get it, but it seemed sad to the teen-aged me. I am now nearly 60, and I understand a bit better. I realize that I no longer have the time to read all the books I want to or would want to. Maybe I should begin to act my age, and not read with wild abandon.

IMG_9978That was how I read when I was younger. With wild abandon. Whatever I felt like. Whatever caught my interest or fancy. I never considered time to read a diminishing or limited resource. Of course I had time to read! I could read it all! I could read trashy novels, an entire fantasy series, a book about world superstitions, Naipaul (till I decided never again), every book by Jean Plaidy, every book by Beckett, “David Copperfield”, “Anna Karenina”, “Lord of the Rings”, I could read it all! I could sample something by an unknown author, wander off down unbeaten literary tracks, not at all concerned about whether I would like everything I found there or not. I had time, I had interest, how exciting it was! I could always come back to the tried and true when I was ready. Maps or GPS not needed! There were no flights to miss, no deadlines for this kind of journey! If I didn’t like the book, that was just another discovery to be noted. No question of time wasted or a reading opportunity lost.

bookstoreBut is that changing now? Or should it be? I don’t exactly hear time’s winged chariot, but I am aware that it may be only another 20 or 30 good years of reading left (given some family longevity genes). Maybe I should become more cautious in my choices, check out the bone fides of a book before reading it. Maybe I should spend more nights at home with old friends, rather than go for a wild fling, a possible one-night stand with a strange author! Blind dates with a book should perhaps be a thing of the past. Those pick-ups in an airport bookstore, waiting for a flight, may need to come to an end. Should I be drafting a book bucket list?IMG_9997[1]

I haven’t decided. And maybe I won’t change my ways. But what I do know is that I am accepting that I will never be able to read all the books I would like to. That was always the truth, but I am aware of it now. And that’s a little sad.

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