A Sip of Springtime.

The alarm jangled its way into my dreams this morning, but it didn’t seem quite so difficult to drag myself out of bed. The rising sun peeks over the horizon and creeps across my windowsill a little earlier these days.

Kookaburras share an early morning joke as I brew a coffee. I wonder if they are laughing at me fumbling about the kitchen.

As I sink into my comfy old chair, my face tilted upwards toward an almost Ceylon Sapphire blue sky, I find myself daydreaming of seagrass rippling in the current, as the breeze ripples through the gum leaves in shimmering waves. It trickles across my skin, cooling the warm blush from the sunshine as it climbs higher into the morning.

What is it about the change of season? The cooler tones of winter imperceptibly – but almost suddenly – transform into the more vivid, fresh, bright colours of spring. As beautiful and stark as winter can be, there is something uplifting about that touch of warmth as it encourages the birds to sing a little louder and longer, as it draws us out from under the blankets into the fresh air a little earlier.

I take a long, slow, deliberate breath inwards. The aroma of fresh coffee is tinged with the floral notes of spring time. I feel energised and relaxed, all at once. A change of pace, a change of routine and a change of season.

Pick Up The Phone, Dial That Number.

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!

Reality Check.

Grey skies cloud my coffee break…

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.

Flip the perspective (add a shimmer of sunshine) and the grass looks pretty green!

Live the Rhythm, Love the Riff!

The rhythm or the riff?

A great song will always have a great rhythm – it’s okay to mix it up by adding in a great riff – but it won’t come together without that rhythm.

Life is a bit like a song, as much as some of us live for and thrive on that memorable highlight – that great riff – we all need the everyday backbeat to hold it together.

Just imagine you are out on an open road in the country; sapphire blue sky overhead, cruising along a corridor of charcoal grey tarmac, flanked by deep green trees on either side. An easy beat plays in the background. Suddenly the speakers start thumping out some heavy metal. The electric guitar starts to scream, and you can’t help yourself, you just have to wind down that window, press a little harder on the accelerator and belt out a few of the lyrics along with it. The wind snatches them from your mouth and they disappear into the emerald blur whizzing by.

It doesn’t matter that your audience consists only of the startled birds perched on nearby branches, it’s still feels great… Exhilarating!

Soon enough, the music has quietened. Your pulse and your pace slows as the easy rhythm returns. You relax back into your seat, continuing on toward your final destination.

Every now and then that backbeat loses its rhythm. An extended holiday or break from work, the leap from primary (or elementary) school to high school, a shift in career expectations or goals… even a pandemic! That verse in the song of life might falter, there might be a few bars you would rather forget. It might even include a great riff. But keep your feet on the ground and you’ll find that rhythm again… Ready for the next verse in the song of life.

I love a rhythm with a touch of country – a routine with a touch of family. I also love to mix it up a bit… And you can’t beat a great riff from the master himself, AC/DC’s Angus Young!

There is nothing like a great soundtrack to enhance the spice of life.

My rhythm faltered for a while, and so did my musings, but with a few bars I’d rather forget and a great riff or two, the backbeat has returned and so have my Morning Coffee Musings 🎶

Snapshot of a Koala’s Paradise.

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.

Focus on the Positive.

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.

What will you focus on today?

Add a Pinch of Salt to Your Day.

This morning’s coffee was seasoned with a pinch of salt… a salty breeze.

One perfect day

The earthy scent of exposed mudflats mixes with the fresh cool air off the bay. Now and then the rancid smell of stale deep fryer oil drifts from the nearby fish and chip shop to combine with the pungent odour of defrosting prawns exposed to the sun as they lay waiting to be threaded onto a hook.

I move to the upwind side of the jetty, lifted the lid from my mug and inhaled the far more enticing aroma of my coffee. I smiled to myself as I watched two young friends bickering over fishing tactics like an old couple, and think, these are the perfect ingredients and a great recipe for the perfect morning.

As a line twitches they spark up with excitement, only to fall silent as they realise it was the wind tugging on their line and not the larger-than-life fish they had hoped for. They discuss the state of their world, assess their rigging and crack a joke as they settle in to wait patiently for “the big one“.

I take the last almost cold sip from my near empty coffee mug, chuckle under my breath and settle in to wait patiently myself for the tide to turn, their enthusiasm to wane and their hunger pangs to take hold.

A Merry Christmas Musing

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.

Merry Christmas 2020!

Enjoying my coffee from last year’s lovingly decorated & well-used mug.

Life Is A Delicate Balancing Act

The damp chill of a few rainy days gives way to the comforting warmth of the sunshine as it breaks through the heavy cloud cover, burning it off to bring in a clear sunny, freshly washed afternoon. My coffee offers soothing warmth from within as the bright light radiates surprising heat upon my skin.

Upward the sky becomes more blue than grey. The breeze jostles the last few clouds upon their way across the horizon while rustling the treetops in a dance of appreciation – both for the life-giving rain, and now the clearer sunny weather. The garden around me is almost an iridescent green punctuated by a rainbow myriad of flowers… not a still life painting, but rather an idyllic real life backdrop to soften the less than idyllic realities of our every day.

Trying to juggle a home and work life. Trying to prioritise between family and money. Trying to find a way of managing that limbo between the end of the school day, and the end of an average work day.

To those parents who successfully manage that difficult time of day, I take my hat off to you. Quite often the cost of that after-school care can negate the cost of working longer hours, but not utilising that option can also – understandably – cost your employment.

Now that I’ve made that statement, I think I’ve clarified my own solution… this global pandemic of COVID-19 has forced upon us an unprecedented situation in which we are being forced to re-evaluate, juggle and re-balance our entire lives. Some income is better than no income in a time where one might easily become the other.

Teamwork

It is Monday morning, the beginning of a new working- and learning-from-home week. As I make our coffee and note the coincidental combination of coffee cups that came from the cupboard this morning, it dawned on me how important and far-reaching the concept of teamwork has become. Our lives, more than ever, are a series of interlinking teams, much like a chain driving a series of mechanisms that need to work together smoothly in order for the machine – for life – to move forward.

In our household, our lives before COVID-19 were much more independent of each other. My partner would leave early each morning to deal with the chaos of traffic enroute to the office, and I would deal with the chaos of getting the children to school and organising the household. Then between after-school activities and my partner arriving home later in the evening, we were all so tired and frazzled that we remained relatively independent of each other through until bedtime.

Now we often enjoy a morning cup of coffee together, and sometimes a snack during the children’s break times. My partner is helping our highschooler with her work, as I supervise our primary school boys. The children also have to be mindful of their father in his office, so as not to disturb his work either.

We have all become members of each other’s teams without even realising it, and we are all working together surprisingly well – the machine is running smoothly and our life is moving forward.

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented cooperation, and a deeper level of communication has been the key. I will miss this special team we’ve become when life gets back to “normal“.