Early morning

Life on the farm has been busy recently. But that is hardly news really. Awake at at 5Am this morning a cup of tea in hands, I ventured outside. Still dark. White clouds shroud the whole valley and the top of the mountain. Chilly and nippy the cold mist spread on the fields creating an eery feeling of the world just about to wake up. The birds have not yet started and a lonely wallaby bent over the grass chews some unknown delicacies no doubt. Its ears pricked up. Noise, foot steps, am I worried? Yes, just a little. The smell of the dogs does not abode well for it. Shall I run or stay? I will stay for a little longer then will see how the situation develops. The last few bats make their way back to the trees and one can hear their heavy flapping as they rush away from the newly appearing sunlight.

Blue Salvia
Blue Salvia

The sky has the colour of light grey charcoal and the half moon stands out yellowish and full of blemishes while the stars are getting a little fainter with each minute as the light starts to appear slowly over the horizon. Distinct bands of foggy clouds hover now and move slowly across or down till they will disappear with the first rays of the sun. Different picture just from a few minutes ago and ever changing, transforming and continuously metamorphosing.

Invigorating… that little bite in the air. A shawl wrapped around my shoulders I venture in the semi dark morning towards the chicken run. The two dogs trailing behind me wondering what I am doing so early. As I opened the coop, the big and gentle ginger rooster called “Ginger”, flies off its perch and comes next to my feet. He does that all the time when I open the door. He seems to talk and asks me all sorts of questions…a chicken babble which I quickly interpret as: “Do you have any food so early”? Not yet, you’ll have to wait a little while, I am not ready yet, I have to open the little coop where the newly born chicks are still sleeping under their fat mother. Yes, Lady Grey is a little plump. Little chirps can be heard muffled by a load of feathers and little heads appear from under mum. They seem to say “can we go out now”? So, Lady Grey starts clucking and they all make their way out of the coop in search of little insects so early in the morning.

The first birds are on the move and their songs echoes in the valley. Butcher birds, noisy mynas are the first in the morning parade. The dogs have smelled the wallaby and they are giving chase. Not a hope in the world tho! It scoots so fast that the poor dogs are left miles behind. But the chase was worth it. A little excitement so early is not to be missed.

Still cup of tea wrapped around my hands, I decided to meander down the drive for a walk to the pond. The cows were not around at the time, so I guessed they would have been at the back where the grass was greener no doubt. They are not going to miss me this afternoon tho!

Butcher Bird quite at home. Frequent visits
Butcher Bird quite at home. Frequent visits

The water hens have not yet emerged. The lilies are about to burst in flowers and thousands of little fish dance in circles in the clear waters in the pond. The dogs are running and frolicking chasing each other, grabbing some sticks and playing tug of war. Sipping the tea, I can feel the dew on the grass as the morning slowly breaks and to the east the first light shines on the opposite slope… slowly. Such a sense of vastness and serenity. Everything is alive, Away from news and politics, away from scandals and gossips, away from greed and the stock market, the economy, new laws, the internet, Facebook, corruption at every turn, wars in the world. Boy! How much can the mind take? Comparing to the calm and freshness…There is really no comparison. It seems that a part of the world has come to a stop. Just does not exist at this moment. All the noise that clutters your mind during the day appears to have ceased…at least for now. Just silence and a pristine state of being. Just breathing the crisp air that bites your nostrils and is drawn deep into your lungs with every breath. Just to be there and a sense of timelessness engulfs you. Everything seems to melt into one single movement. 

As I make my way back slowly toward the house the first rays of the sun beam their little warmth over the land, just a little cosiness this morning. It is not going to be a very hot day as rain is expected later on.

Dogs in tow, I sit down on the bench and soak it in this unspoiled moment. Not for long, John next door is also an early riser and he decided to slash the property next door. The noise of the old diesel motor makes its way sluggishly up the road to our neighbours and breaks the silence. But it is there and that is all. Part of the farm, part of the scene, part of rural living.

Zaina our latest puppy gives Elsie a hard time. She is fast, mischievous and very playful. Not for poor old Elsie whose labrador nature (she is rather plump) does not make her a sprinter. Given that her back leg is also injured, that does not help. But she stands her grounds and Zaina has to tow the line and obey her elders.

The colours of the trees now are greener and the tall bamboos sway gently in the breeze. I make my way to the vegies garden secateurs in hand that I grabbed on the table and start cutting the dead leaves from the tomatoes. Uproot the dead eggplants that have withered from some unknown disease. Plant a few seedlings of corn and okra and water the newly planted gherkins.

Time to see if Peter is awake. But not before peeping at the rose bushes and seeing that there are a few dead branches that I happily snip away. A few weeds also. But I stop there. It is already 7AM. As I enter the house, I can see upstairs that the curtains have been drawn and yes, Peter is awake checking his emails no doubt or maybe just enjoying the view from the window where the bamboos sway lazily in the wind bending graciously almost touching the ground.

Cup of tea” I shout from downstairs? Yes, he replies. So the water is slowly on the boil and in the meantime I set out to feed the dogs and the cat. Quickly run to the chicken run and throw a few handful of sunflowers for them and coming back just in time for the water to be ready.

Oh! and I forget, I also read a few emails from J who went mushrooms gathering in the woods in England and is preparing a feast for dinner. Time for gym and a nice cup of coffee. The day’s chores and routines are about to get into full swing.

Till next time.

The balustrade is here. So is everything else.

Well, after waiting for more than 3 weeks the new balustrade to be brought in and Peter installed it. He always says” won’t take too long” but with one thing and another not going right it ends up being much longer….much longer than expected. It is done now and the painting is finished. Some more deck planks needed to be replaced as a result of the overall design. Peter has been actively pursuing the finishing touches.


BougainAn array of coloursvillieas in full bloom

We are having lunch on the new veranda almost everyday. It is just exquisite and so holiday like. We do say to ourselves: “Who needs to go anywhere and pay such an enormous amount of money to just enjoy the views of the few cows on the opposite property, or just watch the passing cars, the joggers up and down the country lane, the familiar site of a little red van, the tractor from next door marching slowly to the adjacent house and hearing the voice from John down the path bellowing at his cows or dog. The birds are also much closer and the fact that we are sitting enjoying our lunch or a cup of coffee seems that we are engulfed with a closeness to it all. Of course our little butcher birds which have multiplied to 5 by now are incessantly chirping to demand food. It is never enough.. But, they are always watching for the little cat which might be hidden under a chair or a towel. All these scenes take on a different atmosphere and a sort of closer to home feeling. Yes, the familiarity with it all. A sense of tranquility and security envelopes one. But I do have a slight objection to the word security. Why? because security is only fictitious at this point in time. And above a making of the self.

It is amazing how we do want to possess all of it. The mind goes on incessantly wanting to bring back everything to a narrow frame. A frame that is old, obsolete, of no consequence to the NOW. As we catch ourselves doing just that, there is at the same time a feeling of wanting to possess the moment. In fact not accepting the vastness of what is beyond description. Just because it is beyond it all. How can we just describe this moment of “ISNESS”. No words can come close to it. And yet, that is exactly what the mind wants to do. Describing the impossible. How hard it is to accept just what is. When one is engulfed by this feeling there is no staying with it. Hard for the mind of course. We are so accustomed to wanting to do so, that is how restless it is.
Yet, this feeling of belonging to this totality is very real and present. The whole body-mind is witnessing a moment that is itself in the present and it is the present that the mind does not seem to accept. The reason is simple. Present is not part of it. It knows the future and the past and these are the only referential points that it has. Hence the need to bring it back within its confines. Description, reduction, limitation, appropriation of a sort.

The mind does not accept space or what is. The proof is the encounter with nature. Surrounded by its immensity it becomes speechless for a moment then very quickly tries to describe it. Sitting having lunch in this new setting accompanied by birds, trees, skies, clouds and all the wonders of nature, one is truly ONE with it all and for a brief instant a sort of bliss overwhelms one. Boy! what was that? What did I feel? What happened? Suddenly I had no ME. But instead of accepting it, we rush to the description and trying to rationalise it, to appropriate it. And here we descend into the narrow confines of the mind of reducing this bliss to words.

That in itself is not an issue at all. You might even say normal activity of the mind, it does that, just that. So where is the problem? Well, there is no problem as long as you are aware of that movement and don’t try to erase it or suppress it. The seeing of it is already a freedom and an understanding of how we function as humans.

But most people want to hang on to this moment. Wanting to re-create it, re-live it, possess it, to crystallise it, but it is gone and the next one is never going to be the same. How can we do that? A moment that is passed is passed. Oh yes, we must remember it for ever in our memory. OOPS! Memory, that means in the realm of what is gone. Why is it so hard to accept the present for what it is? We are scared of loosing our identity, our position and our raison d’être. An identity mind you, that is a total fabrication of what everybody has told us for decades, centuries and millennia of what we should be and we believed them so readily. We build a persona entirely on fictitious hearsay…. and we accept it no question asked. Well, we have no choice at the start. But as we mature….if we do, then we could start asking some real questions.

The existence of our life is precious and asking simple questions, observing, contemplating, investigating, pondering and finding out what and who we are is the very purpose of our humanity. So that we can “become” an enriched human being. That would be of benefit to the entire planet….but I am getting carried away.

Till next time.

Hot, Hot Hot

It hot,  excruciatingly hot. The aircon is blasting away at full strength.The hot wind feels as if you are in a fan forced oven,unfortunately not baking any cookies nor bread or any other goodies that could be slowly spreading their welcoming aromas throughout the house. Not worth venturing outside under any circumstances. The wind is swaying the bamboos ferociously almost touching the ground, not a breath of cool air could be felt under this torrid heat, with the thermometer reaching the 40 degrees the plants are suffering badly. Hot…Hot …Hot. Climate change? A passing phase? who knows? But one thing is certain, it has never been so torrid since we’ve been here.

This morning I woke up relatively early to give a good watering to the vegetable garden. All of them had a good soaking preparing for the blasting sun of the day. I recycle all laundry water to sprinkle the pots plants on the veranda and the shower water to flush the toilets. rationing water is of the utmost importance and the rain has not made any strong appearances for quite a few weeks now. After such heat one would expect some sort of mighty relief from mother nature with water bucketing down soon. But no, nothing on the horizon for sometime. The water are getting slowly depleted and the day might come where we might have to get some water from the  local contractor pumped into the tanks.

The tweeters of the birds can be heard in the distance…food, water, but everything is in short supply. I make sure that the bird baths are full and I can see the occasional one coming for a dip and a drink. Their wings are spread and not close to their chest so to let the breeze flow through. The chickens have adopted also the same little trick, well, it seems that all birds are doing it in that heat.

The cows across the paddock are resting in the shade of the big bamboos. Quite a few of them are expecting a calf shortly. Bluey, is the largest of them all and I am sure the little one will be there in the next few days. The others have still a couple of months to go. The grass is not growing that much in this weather and some supplementary feed does not go astray at all from time to time.

The dog Elsie, is just resting on the wooden floor spread eagle enjoying the coolness of the room under the air-conditioning. Lucky dog hey! She has managed to lose quite a fair bit a weight over the last few months and I can at least see her waist being defined quite nicely.

It has been a long time since I wrote a few lines. I am not sure what to make of it, but I guess my muse was not around. Alone, while Peter is volunteering at the Gallery this afternoon gave me the opportunity to put my fingers on the keyboard and type away.

Christmas came and went like every year. So did new year. Days like any other days. I am not a great follower of these follies of shopping till I drop in the big mall for some useless bit of pseudo presents. I’d rather give when I don’t have to do so. I do not like to give out of obligation.  Why wait for Christmas, birthdays, anniversary and so on?  In fact I do not even remember how long I have been married, who cares really? Everyday is a special day, every day brings about its joy and sorrow. Every day is a miracle and I give when I feel like it, not when I have too. Of course, family  reunions are a special treat along with having friends. That is always a special moment. A moment of joy that we have to cherish, exchanging ideas, what we have been up to, how we feel, heated debate with friends and family, good food, good wines and maybe lots of laughters and sometimes tears. These are the times that I love most.

The other day we had some friends that came for lunch and we had a great talk about a book that Peter and and I are reading at the moment. We share the book together. I read a loud and we comment on it. The book is called “Dying to be me” by Anita Moorjani. A fascinating account of her Near Death Experience and complete healing from her cancer. Not mind over matter at all, but an experience, her experience on how she touched on another dimension of our being. Though at times it could be repetitive in some parts, the intrinsic message is to discover our potentiality as human beings. To find out what we really are. A complete let go of our ego, to discover this “other” part of ourselves which is deeply buried in our conditioning, our make up, what we inherited from our upbringing, how we are moulded, our prejudices, our value judgements. All of these hinder us from our “true self”. We are so vaguely aware of that other dimension, that the ego does not comprehend it. Beyond words, beyond knowledge, beyond everything that we can ever imagine. Away from methods, gurus, organised religions, or any other forms that could pertain to understand “it”. It can’t be comprehended with thoughts, because thoughts or ideas are only a pointer not ‘IT”. If I gave a menu you would have only a description of the food. You would not eat the menu to find out. You would imagine what it could be like, you could be tempted, but you will never know until you actually tasted what was brought in front of you. Hence the thought process is only a description of what might come and you will wait in excitement at the food put in front of you. Disaster! Surprise! Delight! All of these are a reflection of what you might have imagined.

For Anita Moorjani, her touching this ‘other” was very real. The only reality. The other that we live everyday routinely are only a description of what we want our lives to be like. Full of judgments, values, ups and downs, good, bad, right, wrong. And  of course, most of the time it does not work.  We are in a perpetual dilemma. For her the present is what matters. But I am not going to spoil it for you, go on read the book and discover by yourself this other side of human potential.

Of course you might think it is a lot of rubbish, that’s ok too. But something in you will stir and the inevitable question will come up to the surface: what is this? Is this real? Is this true? Can this really happen? It might provide you with questions that you might want answered about our existence and we way we live. Of course, only if you are interested in finding out. We are so caught up with our survival nowadays that we have very little time left to stop and reflect. Work, work, work. Gee! I am glad I was given this immense opportunity to have left work early and enjoy the space, the serenity, the beauty and above all time for exploring who and what we are. Whoever, whatever is there, I thank profusely for that.

It is really funny, in spite of all the material wealth that we have, we can’t find the time to reflect, we can’t find the time to stop. We are perpetually searching for the next thing that will finally maybe make us ‘Happy”. But it never comes. Because soon after we acquire it we’ll want the next thing. We have in the West a very easy existence, we need very little and yet our home is full of stuff, clutter, knick knacks, objects, comfort. Sometimes I look at all these things in my house and ponder as to their necessity. The drawers, the cupboards, the shelves, the space in between objects are full of “THINGS”. What for? One thing is sure I will not need any of it when my body decides to give up its earthly existence. Yet, we cling to them, the attachments to all this is alarming at times.

Would I have the the “courage”  to get rid of it all? Would I happily give it all away? They are all so part of my comfort zone. Would I do away with my mother’s bracelet? Would I get rid of my mother in law”s little hippos or her rings and necklaces?  Would I do away with any of it? AT this stage I can’t answer these questions as I am not sure at all. Obviously to be pondered upon.

Time is marching on and dinner has to be prepared. Go and pick up Peter at the gallery and finish up bits and pieces.

As I finished writing this Bluey has just given birth to her calf

Till next time.

Hot and dry spring

It is hot and windy. The spring winds are dry and the earth is parched. Some rain is definitely needed at this stage. Some plants are already suffering as we can’t attend to the watering of all of them. We are on tank water hence restricted to a certain extend.
What I have noticed in times of stress is all the bamboos that we planted are shedding their leaves. The lawns are full of dried leaves. In our area it could be a fire hazard and can be quite scary.

it is a funny thing to say that all is dry, it is in a way, but our valley is green very green. There are, I was told by old timers around here, countless springs running underground. it is not too far from the truth, because our dam is always full even in times of dryness as it is at the moment. Sure, it does go down a little but never dries out. hence, yesterday Peter used the pump to fill the big tank for the vegie garden. This tank is only for our vegetables and a few plants outside.

The bottle brushes are in blooms and the parrots and there first thing in the morning to sample the first appearance of nectar on the flowers. They squawked all day long and fight with the native Minahs to steal this honey on the trees. Huge amount of turtle doves and crested pigeons have their home around here also, but I suspect very strongly it is because of the chicken run and all the grains that they can scavenged when they enter the coop. They don’t even fly away anymore. Just walk nonchalantly a little way and come back as soon as we go.

The bougainvillaeas (Boogies) are all in blooms and look just stunning and resplendent with their new leaves and flowers. They are a delight and add a superb colour to the garden.

Boogies in Bloom
Boogies in Bloom

Salmon colour boogie

Boogies in bloom
Boogies in bloom

One big mother hen (Lady Grey) a grey Wyandote has hatched a few eggs and we have 4 little cuties running, cheeping, and eating as fast as they could. As if they could not wait growing up. They have found a way to get out of the double wire fence and they mix quite happily with the rest of the flock. As soon as they see me coming they run right back inside. We are just worried that the local python will make a nice dinner out of them one day, so we are vigilant.

Stretching for a drink
Stretching for a drink
Lady Grey and her chicks
Lady Grey and her chicks
Half of the flock running around in the garden.
Half of the flock running around in the garden.

With the planting of massive amount of trees when we first arrived in this valley, we have noticed also an increase migration of native birds. Grey and white pigeons are nesting in the bamboos, rails are frequenting more openly the area of the dam which is lush with native vegetation, the swamp hens have really decided to nest also on the huge clumps of sedge around the dam, the ducks arrive in the early morning for a dip and a flutter in the dam. The other day a huge goanna scampered around the cows. This big lizard is common around here but had not been seen it for quite a while. Cows were not fussed.

Yesterday saw the arrival of the local dingo. The swamp hens , the birds, the ducks made a raucous commotion and started hounding him away. Even our dog got into the chase and the dingo ran across the fields and onto the neighbour’s paddocks at great speed. Poor dingo not a hope around here. He was safe in the other field as John always feeds him.The animals have become very territorial around here.

I know that our little pet Butchie is on a few eggs at the moment. She knows when the dog is being fed and arrives just on time for her evening meal. The only one at the moment. But she is here everyday at 5 o’clock on the dot.

So, yes, spring is here and with it a renewal of flora and fauna. Superb sunsets and the early mornings mist are a feast to the eyes. The days are longer and longer, the air is sweet of nectar and perfume. The crickets have started they nightly din which can be quite deafening at times. The frogs are also croaking more prolifically no doubts looking for mates. As long as they are not cane toads, the scourge of this area.

In all that the body and mind just witness the manifestation of renewal, the beauty of nature, the infinite gift that we are given to see all of this with all our heart and soul. No fights, no lies, no quibbling, no politicians, no crisis, no wars, just a spectacle of natural beauty unfolding in front of us with all it has to offer for us to blend in and enjoy. A true feeling of joy, serenity, calm and peace. If only our mind would keep quiet for a little while……

Till next time.

Random talks with my father in 1999 on a trip back from Cambodia

13th April, 2013

Intellectualism is a point of fixation.

Can we really capture our first feelings? Is it really possible? Can we really re- live old feelings? Are we really trying to recreate what we have lost? Feelings change one may say.  They change with life events, as we experience new situations, these move with it. One mixes up changes with disappearance. One has to change. One can’t live with someone without changes that occur on an every day basis.

Imagine, if every time you wanted to make love with your partner you tried to recreate the same feelings that you had for instance 20 years ago. Is that possible? Do you have to make an effort to love something or someone? As soon as there is effort, you only pretend to love. It is not natural at all. If every time to have to search for that first feeling when you are trying to make love then you are making all sorts of efforts to fix that first feeling. As soon as there is effort there is a lack of authenticity.

Thought has taken too much preponderance and has to be put back in its place.

Thought is the choice of the data bank if you like, it draws from memory. When a thought arises it is expressed through language and that is how it expresses itself. Hence it is always the past. It is the expression of memory. It has arisen from it and it becomes conscious. Its function is to fix. 

There are two sides to that. It is lucky and unlucky at the same time. On the one hand it is very adept at functioning in our everyday life…food production, house building, orientation. It evolves. Look at our ancestors and what we are today. It may have taken them ages to light a fire; today it is done with a flick of a switch. It has a practical function. It allows action, it is action.  On the other hand thought by itself is damned. It can never have all the information. Today it is totally overwhelmed with information…data.

We can see how we fix our description of the world in our mind, and take that model into the relational field we live in. The description becomes our reality; a set of labels projected onto the vibrant relational field that is life. One has to be careful of labels. Labels cover the content, so that we see the label rather than the content. One has to discover that, and our attitude to this field is to resist it by all means.

Can we seize our ME? It is impossible. Why is it impossible?  If you point your finger at me and ask:  what is this ME  that you occupy, that you live? What is it?  The question sounds simple, but when I try to look around the mental space that I inhabit, my consciousness you could say, I am stumped when I try to say just what it is. I can’t say what it is, nor can I say what its boundaries are. When I want to seize ME, I don’t realise that I am creating another ME. And if I want to seize the one that I have just created, I again create another one. Because to grab this first one, there must be another one that does it also. Hence you can’t never catch it or grab it… It is almost unconscious. One is not aware of it.

Talking about the boomerang. How was this instrument invented? How did it happen? How did it come into existence? The Aboriginal people of Australia were living with their environment. They lived close to nature and all that it meant for them. A sense of being related with everything that brought them their food for survival. An osmosis with the trees, the earth, the sun, all the elements that surrounded them. Today’s western civilisation has lost this intimacy with all that. Not the idea of a relation with nature, but for them it was living like that on a daily basis. They were not living with the idea of nature, they were nature, they were aware of the common interest that they had with their surroundings. And that their survival depended on these relationships. They were not exploiting nature, no property. We have lost this today. And we try desperately to find it. Hence the idea of devising a boomerang arises from this tight intimacy with nature and their deep relation within it. In this relational movement of interdependence, there is possible emergence of creativity. If this relationship, in this exchange with one’s environment is non-existent, there will be little or no creativity. If I am not integrated and isolated how can I become creative? It is incompatible and impossible. It is in the depth of my relation with all my surroundings….here we can see how it is difficult to transmit through words this feeling of total relationship. “Surroundings” has very little meaning unless it is lived. There is no inside and outside even if the word transmits that.

Now we can understand the duality of language. One can understand how language can seem inadequate to express this feeling of osmosis. This vision is not an image; it is this deep feeling of interdependence…Even the word “vision” is misleading. One can’t exist without the other and this immense interrelationship that created our organism and it is working in total osmosis. An exchange that is beyond what we can see with our naked eyes. Thought cannot even start fathoming what is taking place in this immensity. It is an incredible world in itself.  And we should not forget that our body is made of that world…. continual exchange and relationships and communication with all the molecules and particles. We are not even aware of what is taking place within us. Hence, we are not “surrounded” by our environment; we are an integral part of that. No outside, no inside. No separation.

 When we separate, we only have an idea of that separation. And it is this idea that separates…but even that is not correct because, thought is totally part of that also. It is a continuation of these exchanges. For humankind this is a very difficult passage, to see this separation, which is not a separation. It is only created by thought. The multitude of differences that thoughts creates, the profusion of characteristics, and it is all these processes that we are entirely part of. Thoughts, words are only a frame that is useful.  And it is this totality that allows every one of us to be what we are. Each one of us has his own distinction and beauty …without being separated.

 Thought has created marvellous things, but by the same token has also created immense problems that we are facing without any decent solutions for today.

This photo bellow is where we used to sit down and have our talks. Image

Till next time …and thank you Peter for your editing and your support.