Sombre grey skies and fine misty rain silenced the birdsong this morning, until a fresh cool breeze quickly whipped away the clouds and dried off the droplets.
Bright sunshine has broken through and warms my face. A fresh cup of coffee warms my body, as thoughts of friends warm the heart.
We are never alone. Old friends and new, absent friends, beloved family members, or a special someone who cannot always be near. That person may not be there when you reach out to touch them, but the connection is real and enduring, regardless of physical distance.
When it comes to refreshing and maintaining connection, technology – which we sometimes regard as a curse – is a real blessing. Past generations had to wait patiently for the post, for that handwritten letter to arrive. Now, all we need to do is reach for the phone to feel the comfort of their voice, or even see warmth of their smile.
A simple message can let someone know you’re thinking of them, but as a special friend often reminds me, there is nothing like taking a moment, dialling a number and hearing their voice.
Too many of us – myself included – take the easy option when we are busy, by sending a text. We know what we mean, but went sent in a rush will the recipient always read the same? The written word maybe concise and to the point, but the intended kindness might not always be conveyed.
Pick up the phone, dial the number and spend the five minutes you would have composing a text, to reconnect with a friend. It will be well worth the effort!
A gloomy all enveloping blanket of grey greets my upward gaze. I recall the fleeting conversation I had earlier this morning, suddenly realising that it is symptomatic of the human condition to experience envy – to imagine that the “grass is always greener on the other side”… But is it?
Locally, we exclaim frustration about the seemingly endless drizzle dumped upon us by “La Niña“, while in the northerly, typically tropical region of our country someone else is complaining of their “El Nino“ weather pattern causing an unseasonal dry spell.
I wish for a little sunshine to get rid of the dampness, whereas only ‘a stone’s throw’ down the track, others are still cleaning silt from every nook and cranny of their flooded homes!… Reality check!
I enjoy the comfort of having my own space to live and thrive, while others struggle to eke out a living, or an endangered animal is hunted and killed in its own habitat… Reality check!
I can’t help my feelings, and it is my right to complain (without inflicting it upon others), but for those of us lucky enough to have time to pause and think – and I very much appreciate the fact that I am one of them – that another symptom of the human condition is compassion. A quality we should all practice a little more, because not far away, there is someone likely to very understandably and justifiably think our “grass is greener”.
So as I sip and muse today, I might wish for a shard of sunshine and hope for a glimmer of blue, but I will also pause to be thankful for the people I have in my life. I will be inspired by those who take action to improve the life of those less fortunate, by those who fight for the plight of the endangered.
I will give myself a gentle mental nudge as a reminder to appreciate what I have in my here and now, and that perhaps the grass is not always greener somewhere else.
Wow! The air is truly still. Not even a leaf in the very treetops is moving. The sky is a blanket of pale grey and the air around me is clean, clear and moist, almost as though the cloud has descended to meet the ground.
The scent that hangs heavy in the air is exquisite – the essence of a eucalypt forest. I breathe so deeply, feeling completely refreshed by the aroma, almost as if it were nutrients invisibly encapsulated within the air. This must be a koala’s paradise!
The plants are vibrant green. Greens of all shades. The thin narrow olive coloured leathery leaves of the bottlebrush trees dangle gently in threads from the rough, dark, gnarled, twisted trunks and branches. The warm deep red of the blossoms suspended with the leaves like decorations on a Christmas tree.
The asphalt of the road is charcoal black with just a glint of the moisture that has washed it clean.
My footsteps as they strike the road are dull and the bird calls are without echo. The humidity in the air seems to be holding the sound close to the ground. I feel as if I am in a room with a closed door, but that the view is infinite.
I re-live this morning’s walk as I enjoy my morning coffee… I am feeling refreshed and energised, ready for the day.
I’ll take an extra shot of sunshine with my coffee today!
The morning school-run is done. I am lucky enough to be out of lockdown and have a school-run to do!
The window is down, a fresh breeze ruffles my not-so-tidy morning hairstyle. The radio blasts out a beat while The DJs joke between themselves. It’s amazing how a good dose of sunshine and a little music can lift the spirits… In fact, for a moment they were soaring!
My thoughts were flooded with fond memories. Even one from my youngest childhood bubbled to the surface. A very special woman (Mrs Murphy), without warning, once pulled me to the side, looked deeply into my eyes and said “you are truly blessed“, and do you know what?… I believe she was right!
Even when life‘s road felt bumpy and the mountains ahead seemingly insurmountable, something – however random – reminded me to be grateful for what I already have.
Much later in life, thanks to my partner, I was given the gift of seeing Tony Robbins speak, and amongst all the wisdom he had to impart, one simple phrase spoke loudly to me… “What you focus on, you will move toward“… And that is so true! It is up to us whether we focus on the positive or negative, but think back and you will see it is so.
I can feel the turn of the season. The sultry humidity of summer is fading into cooler nights. Today as I glance upward, I appreciate the warmth of my coffee. The sky is rapidly transforming – the bright blue to grey, the grey to charcoal. The fresh cleansing scent of rain approaches on the strengthening breeze. The soil is already soaked but mother nature clearly intends to saturate it just a little more.
Isn’t it funny, ironic really, that we crave nature within our lives – as much greenery as possible both in and around our homes. Clean clear bodies of water within reach. The sound of birdsong over the screech of traffic. Fresh air drifting through trees instead of smog polluting our lungs… And yet, we spend much of our time actually keeping nature at bay!
We deny the nature of our bodies and the natural ageing process. We rip the hair from our skin. We both bleach and tan our bodies. We apply potions and lotions, and resort to surgery in the quest to preserve physical youth.
We love and tend to our gardens, and yet spend much of our free time cutting them back, killing the plants we don’t like and mowing the forever growing grass in an attempt to sculpt our surrounds rather than leaving them to grow as nature intended.
We build houses overlooking oceans, perched on clifftops and lining the banks of rivers, only to deny the water’s natural flow during a king tide, or a storm, or a flood. Keeping the water at bay with barricades of sandbags.
It just occurred to me that we have taken on an eternal battle with an ultimately foreseeable outcome. We seek to have close contact with mother nature, and the general populous is doing what they can to preserve our natural environment, yet paradoxically, we constantly find ourselves keeping nature at bay.
We may seek to control our planet and mould its natural components to our desires, but in the end – no matter what the outcome – the planet will win.
Christmas is something different to everyone. I wonder what it is for you?
As I sit, sip and soak up the summertime scent of my surrounds, I reflect upon Christmases past.
One of my favourite childhood memories is lying on the ground gazing upwards at the tree my father had brought home. It was real, and the heat of the day was drawing out the magnificent Christmas aroma of the essential oils in the foliage, disseminated throughout the living room by the fan as it cast a cooling breeze across our swimsuit-clad bodies. Cottonwool snow softly falling to the floor, jostled from the branches by the fan. I remember feasting on cold juicy watermelon, and the smell of my mother’s Christmas cake cooking in the oven drifted through from the kitchen, reminding us that family members would soon be gathering to celebrate with us.
Our present day Christmas – like those throughout the world – paints a very different picture. Extended family festivities and crowded Christmas parties are simply not an option. Gatherings are minimal and I am lucky enough to be able to choose open air venue for family celebration, as we must distance ourselves a little from those we love in order to protect them from this invisible enemy, the coronavirus.
I try to imagine how Christmas will look for us in the future? Will large family gatherings be a thing of the past? Will our Christmases become more private and reflective? Or will we triumph over COVID-19 and celebrate the season on a grander scale than ever?
For now, I will savour my coffee – laced with a little Christmas cheer – and appreciate my family, grieve for the multitudes who have lost some of their dearest this year, and hope for a brighter and more positive future for humanity to celebrate in the years to come.
I settle carefully back into the reasonably comfortable, but not quite cuddly armchair. I gaze upward, out the window. Through the thin white veil of venetian blinds, I see a broken, horizontally pixelated view of a beautiful blue sky with billowing clouds gathering in the west. The tops of the gumtrees are still. Every now and then they sway a little, just to remind me this is not a photograph.
It looks warm outside. I think it looks warm. My climate controlled environment tends to mask the reality.
An unexpected visit to hospital has given me yet another perspective on this COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals are in full lockdown, that means absolutely no visitors at all. And while I am not well enough to go outside, my only connection to humanity is the doctors, nurses and hospital support staff.
In “ordinary” times, this world at arm’s-length was still within reach when family and friends were allowed in. When flowers and care packages were easily delivered. When a familiar face could say, yes it is beautiful and warm outside, in spite of the air-conditioned chill within my four small walls.
I am very fortunate to have a bed near a large window. Even with the blinds, I can enjoy watching as the day begins. The sky brightens from a star studded ink black through charcoal into the grey blue of dawn. The bright azure of midday bordered along the base with the grey-green of eucalyptus leaves warms into a glaringly bright rectangle as the afternoon sun stares fiercely through the glass, eventually fading into a golden glow as it dips below the horizon, backlighting the trees as the shadows march across my room to finally envelope the world outside once again in the comfort of a sparkling night sky.
I never thought I would appreciate quite so much, the world at arm’s-length.
This morning the sky is a watery blue. White washed by clouds that can’t decide whether it will be a sunny or gloomy day. The breeze that jostles the treetops has a slight chill to it – a promise of bleaker weather, forecast to be coming. I really hoped to wake to a brilliant blue sky and warm sunshine today, but that was not to be… My mood feels a little like the weather – not quite sure which way to go – bright or bleak.
Recently, our whole lives seem to be teetering in the balance… We hope for a brighter future. We hope for this pandemic to abate, but the news isn’t so great as we hear of communities struggling with a second wave of infection. Just as restrictions are easing in some places and people are getting back to work, economies struggle to support themselves and the hopeful jobseekers within them.
Hope – such an important human quality. Hope is what allows us to find that positivity. Hope is what drives us to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Hope that the health guidelines will improve the situation. Hope is what motivates most of us to abide by social restrictions. Hope for a brighter future.
Hope gives us the power to stay positive. As I finish my few moments of musing, the breeze has dropped a little and the sun has peeked through those wispy clouds. I remain hopeful for a brighter day, and a brighter future.
It’s funny, as I chatted with a friend this morning, we talked about “social distancing” and its effects on COVID-19, ourselves, our families and friends, our colleagues and the general population.
We are really being asked to physically distance, because there are many other ways we express ourselves socially these days. Social contact is not limited to physical situations. Social (and related) media play a huge part – especially for younger people – in the way we interact. Yet, as the human species, physical social interaction is so important to who we are and our mental well-being.
We are rediscovering the importance and strength of family and social groups. Physical restrictions brought upon us by the pandemic have made us acutely aware of the value of those family members and friends we can no longer hug or comfort. Those who live alone have become truly isolated from our basic human need for physical contact.
Thankfully, we are now able to socialise on a “virtual“ level. These unprecedented times have encouraged individual families – whose members through busy lives – had become almost strangers at times, to reconnect. Facebook groups and the like have helped bring us together in ways that were never before possible. I am able to share everyday news with my whole family at one time… Not quite, but almost like being around the table together.
I know that we will have to learn to live with COVID-19 and all the lifestyle complications and restrictions that come with it. I am thankful for today’s technology – that it allows us to connect socially and visually with those we care about – but I so very much look forward to the day when we can again embrace those people with our arms as well.
The lorikeets are twittering, the air is cool, the sun is warm and the sky is clear… what a perfect day to have a great day!
Anticipation is in the air… Anticipation of good things to come.
A family member will be having a long awaited medical procedure, our international “daughter” will be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, beloved family members are arriving for a visit, the weekend is not too far away, a family gathering is planned, and the school holidays are just around the corner!
Every day we still have to deal with the mundane – necessary chores, a home and garden to maintain, meals to prepare, bills to be paid and work to be done – but the anticipation of all the positive in our lives makes life worth looking forward to.
Sometimes we have to convince ourselves to look forward with positivity. Sometimes things happen that rip the fragile tapestry of life to shreds… but it is that incredible unshakable human quality of hope that allows us to weave those threads together again into a more beautiful, rich and ever evolving tapestry. Our own unique work of art coloured with the light and dark, highs and lows of life experience.
As I sip my morning coffee, I muse about where these next few threads I weave will take me…