Kookaburra

Washing Day

Washing Day

I had never thought of writing about washing day – until I was unpegging the washing from the clothesline one day. I don’t know why, but images flashed through my mind, and for an instant, I was taken back to another clothesline, in another place, and another time.

A Little Piece of Paradise

My unit is nestled amongst the trees, plants, and wildlife that fill the twenty-eight acres of bushland that I now call home. Even though it is quiet and peaceful here, it isn’t as quiet as the place that popped into my head on that washing day.

Before I found my little piece of Paradise, I spent five years living and working in Central Queensland. And it’s that part of my life that the washing day memory came from. I was living seventy-five kilometres from one small town, and seventy-five kilometres from the next, even smaller town. Smack-dab in the middle of both, with nothing but bush in between.

In the Middle of Isolation

Apart from a small school on one side, which was always deserted on weekends – there was nothing but bush on the other three sides, which were deserted on any day. My only company on Saturdays and Sundays, unless I drove to the general store a few kilometres away, was the wildlife.

dsc_0116

A school on one side…

dsc_0182

And bush on the other sides

Just Me and the ‘Roos

My routine on Sunday mornings, when I was at home (more about that later), was to sit on the back step with my morning coffee, and watch the kangaroos in the paddock next to my house. I discovered they have an interesting method of checking for safety – not foolproof I might add, given the number of flat ones on the road – but it seemed to work okay out there in the paddock. In the process of hopping through the bush, one of the larger ‘roos would stop, scan, and listen, with head up and ears back. The rest of the mob would then hop a little further into the paddock, usually in single file, and usually with some distance between each one. Eventually, they would congregate, but they were always on alert for the slightest sound or movement.

They were comfortable with my presence, although they were aware of every move I made. Meanwhile, the mob grazed, and I watched and learned.

dsc_0117

The constant scanning, protects the mob in the paddock

It Is What It Is….

That was my existence back then; work all week, and watch the kangaroos graze on weekends. I always had a week’s worth of washing to hang out on at least one of those weekend days. And it was staring at the bush from the clothesline that drove home the reality of isolation. When I wasn’t at the clothesline, or watching the kangaroos from the top step, I was inside, planning for the next week at work.

I couldn’t see the isolation from inside. But outside – it was unavoidable – you just couldn’t escape the aloneness out there. Was it peaceful? Absolutely!

But the isolation was stronger

There were times when the aloneness was overpowering. The nearest big town was three hours away. I would drive there every few weeks and check into a hotel for the weekend – just for the socialisation.  I still took work with me, but it was accomplished over a coffee, in the hotel restaurant. The fact that my only social encounter for the weekend was the waiters, didn’t bother me. They were better looking than the furry-faced kangaroos, and communicated in a way that I understood. As much as I loved the ‘roos, they certainly didn’t compensate for a human to talk to.

Here in Paradise?

As I stood at my clothesline that day, I gave thanks for being here in Paradise. Having people around me to socialise with when I need people-time. And witnessing the beauty of trees, flowers, and fabulous bird life, in my quiet times.

Well, almost all the bird life. The Ibises and Brush Turkeys take some getting used to.

The Kookaburras and Parrots make up for the turkeys that destroy the gardens while building their nests.

Ibis: alias – Bin-Chicken

I’m still wondering what purpose the Ibis serves.

Gratitude

I’m grateful for the quiet reflective times spent in the other place, but not the isolation.

I’m grateful for the lessons I learned about strength and resilience, but not the aloneness.

I’ve finally come home to where I want, and need to be. And my clothesline here in paradise is a symbol of my new reality.

But even my little piece of Paradise might one day be just a memory, to be thought about while unpegging the washing, on another washing day.

Please follow and like us:
Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments
2018: Will It Be The Most Productive Year Of My Life?

2018: Will It Be The Most Productive Year Of My Life?

The Lunar (Chinese) New Year begins today, the 16th February 2018. It isn’t a significant year for me in any way – just the year I’ve chosen to stop all the ‘fluffing around’ and get serious about being more productive. And what better way to start than having at least one goal ready to coincide with the Lunar New Year. After all, it’s about new beginnings, isn’t it? 2018; Will It Be The Most Productive Year Of My Life?

Just to sort things out a little for you, I’m referring to the era that I call ‘Post-Career’, herein referred to as PC Time. When I looked back on most of my career years, I could identify at least a few achievements that were significant for that particular year. Since I retired in April 2016, there haven’t been too many significant achievements looking back at me from the rearview mirror of end-of-year reflections.

That has to change!

So here I am, with 2018 looming large around me. The urgency is in the fact that we are more than half-way through February and I still haven’t committed any plans to paper – digitally speaking of course (does anyone still use paper?) – until now.

Distractions

Barely a day goes by that isn’t filled with distractions – so I have to devise a plan for how to ignore them. That isn’t as easy as it might sound, since some of those distractions are mighty interesting. One of the significant distractions in my life is the location of my home. My humble abode is nestled amongst twenty-eight acres of natural bushland. As any Aussie knows, bushland means birds. Not the Alfred Hitchcock variety (that’s another story!), but the beautiful kookaburras and magpies that gently sing me awake in the morning and signal the close of day in the evening. If I could just be satisfied with hearing them while I work, it wouldn’t be a problem. The problem stems from the hours spent, camera in hand, waiting for the perfect photo of a kookaburra in flight.

2018; Will It Be The Most Productive Year Of My Life?

It’s the kookaburra’s fault!

And The Justification For The Distraction?

I’m always intrigued by the ingenious reasons we use to justify the things we do, regardless of whether they are ‘right’ or not. I justify my bird-watching activities by assuring myself that one day, that photo of a kookaburra in flight, will be the perfect addition to something I’m writing. It might be years before that happens, but I’m convinced it will.

2018; Will It Be The Most Productive Year Of My Life?

Well, I almost got it…

Rule Goal Number One

Schedule Writing Time For The First Waking Hour (Or Two)

That could be a problem before I even begin. In PC Time, there is no set waking hour. Don’t get me wrong, I still rise at an acceptable time, for a retiree. But now I have the option of not rising, if I don’t want to. While the magpies and kookaburras sing me awake most days, there are times when I let their melodic calls sing me back to sleep.

How will Goal Number One be impacted when I roll over and pretend I haven’t heard the day starting?  Will it be lunchtime by the time I’ve finished my hour (or two) of writing?

Does it even matter?

The answers to these questions will depend on what events are vying for my time on any given day in my usually, almost empty, Post-Career diary. While most days roll in and out with nothing more than writing, taking photos, eating and/or socialising, on the agenda, some days are different. Sometimes there’s a 9am meeting scheduled, or an early morning coffee at ReCafeNate with my name on it.

Revised Goal Number 1

Devote One To Two Hours To Writing, Every Day

Perhaps we fail to meet our goals because they are not quite as realistic as they could be. Nothing happens until I’ve had my coffee, so the hour immediately following my opening-eyes experience, has to involve coffee. When I’ve had the coffee, then I can do the writing. And here’s where a bit of creativity could help. I usually brew my Espresso coffee at home. But sometimes I saunter across the road to ReCafeNate for the pampered feeling of having Josh make the coffee for me. If I took my iPad with me, I could make the coffee last an hour while I write. If I’m really getting into the writing, a second cup of coffee would see me through the second hour. And I could check off my exercise for the day as well. While it isn’t a long walk to ReCafeNate, it is uphill.

Write First – Illustrate Later

Theoretically, the first goal of the ‘2018: most productive year ever’, is to focus on the writing. Instead of having thousands – yes, you read that right – thousands of photos that I might (or not) ever use, by getting thousands of words written, then I can focus on the specific photos that I need to highlight the text. Besides, I might even get lucky and put the already thousands of photos I have to good use, before I take any more.

Well, that’s the plan – I just hope I can stick to it.

2018: Will It Be The Most Productive Year Of My Life?

I’ll keep you posted on my progress….

Please follow and like us:
Posted by Maureen in Travel, 3 comments