Travelling – The beach of the balancing stones

Balancing stones beach cairns 1

It’s like the peace hidden and lying in wait in every person’s heart has emerged, just for a few moments. I wonder if they felt it? And I wonder if they experienced a connection with the other travellers they wandered amongst? And I wonder if any person leaving the beach was changed forever?

There are no directional signs, and it’s not an official tourist attraction, yet the beach is obviously visited by thousands of travellers who contribute to the impromptu art. Balancing towers of rocks and stones against a backdrop of tropical ocean, on the road from Port Douglas in far north Queensland to Cairns. I guess it’s rather unique.

Just picture: all cultures, all religions and all faiths, all political persuasions, all sexual orientations, and a full spectrum of social standings mingling, admiring, and feeling part of something simple that is also something special. And knowing that this simple natural expression of cross-cultural creativity is special. Boundaries have been crossed and walls have come down, and everyone is part of a whole. There are no officials telling dark-skinned people to go there or rich people to go here or heterosexuals to go there. Every person is equal and one with everyone else. A celebration of humanity. That’s how the world should be.

I’m disappointed to find, a few months later, that most of the stone stacks are gone. It doesn’t appear to be an act of wanton destruction by humans, but rather, I think Mother Earth has claimed the stones with boisterous stormy seas. More towers of balancing stones are starting replace those washed away, and I hope the process will be repeated so that people from all over the world and from all walks of life can once again leave their positive energy and creativity for all to enjoy.

I sat on the beach this morning amongst the new art pieces to write, imagining cultures mixing, and all going away with a smile in their hearts.

Balancing stones beach cairns 2


Travelling – When disturbed by energy, I find peace in nature


They’re common birds. I see them every day. Yet they still provide interest and delight to a genuine lover of nature. With one wing lifted and spread out, the dove rolls over and appears dead in the midday sun, presumably enlisting the heat to evict parasites. Its mate joins in the ritual. Then they get up, shake, spread the other wing and stretch out on the grass. Finches feed around them. Suddenly, with a whirr of frantic wings, birds large and small move as one, disappearing into the undergrowth. The brown torpedo-shape of a juvenile Black Butcher-bird darts low over the feeding grounds, diving into the undergrowth. The predator emerges empty-billed, and the pray remain silent and still until the clearing is again safe.

Nature plays out extraordinary sequences of well-being and survival, dedication and loss, life and death, everywhere, every day and night. To the human who appreciates and is fascinated by the details of nature, these sequences are always interesting, often entertaining, sometimes laugh-out-loud amusing, and with limitless beauty and wonder.

Atherton tablelands mountains and swamp

Whilst travelling, I meet other birdwatchers/photographers. Some are pleasant company, more are so obsessed with the end result of their hobby (ie: the number of ticks on their species list, or the perfect photo) that they miss the point of nature entirely. They emit stressful, threatening energy that repels the very birds they’re chasing. That self-serving vibration repels me too. I wander off in search of the natural peace that nature IS when nature is left to BE. And because I have no agenda, all I want from nature is to enjoy the beauty and magic of the moment, whatever that moment might produce, PEACE is granted to me.

Travelling – Serenity in a garden

Lake barrine garden 1

Natural perfume wafted through the air, subtle and secretive, unwilling to reveal its source. Grass, laden with dew, soaked my pants as I sat cross-legged on the lawn, as close to Mother Earth as I could. Waterfowl paddled the lake’s edge frantic for a meal, and the mountains beyond the lake stood sentry to the rainforest and all its creatures. Early morning sunshine touched my skin. I breathed deep and slow, cleared the chatter from my mind and felt the essence of air and water and fire and earth, for just a moment. A beautiful connection.

Lake barrine garden 3

Every time we visit Lake Barrine in the Atherton Tablelands, the gardens are more amazing than last time – and different. I guess it’s because new plants are flowering according to the seasons, and it’s obvious that maintenance and improvement is ongoing.

Lake barrine garden 2

There’s something really special about spending time in a garden. We work in our own gardens, which is satisfying and (for me) therapeutic, but to have the opportunity to simply BE in a garden is so gratifying. Enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labour, different plants and creative designs capture our attention and delight our senses.

Wonderful memories.

Lake barrine garden 4

Travelling – From tropical coast to dry inland

Outback drought 1

Thousands of mangled kangaroo carcasses litter the roadside – some desiccated fur and bleached bones, others fresh and being devoured by ravens and raptors. A ghastly sight, but not much is wasted.

Mobs of kangaroos suffer the midday sun, searching out a morsel of grass worth eating. As brutal as it might sound, motorists unintentionally running the roos down are doing them and their kind a favour. The drought is harsh.

Creeks are bone-dry, rivers reduced to chains of stagnant puddles, farm dams are not much better. Emus wander aimlessly across abandoned paddocks, camouflaged against the grey bushland.

Outback drought 2

Acacias are beginning to bloom – today is national Wattle Day. Occasional thickets of cypress and weeping wilga share the landscape with the wattle and eucalypts. Hundreds of kilometres of the grey semi-arid vegetation and dusty earth becomes monotonous, so we pull over to rest and watch the birdlife. It’s only when you stop and take the time to observe the land that the birds reveal themselves.

Bowra 03 Varied Sittella
Varied Sittella
Bowra 14 White-plumed HE
White-plumed Honeyeaters

We left the tropical Queensland coast and mountains behind a few days ago. Instead of sandy beaches lined with palms, we now have sandy plains, bull dust swirling as a willy-willy whips up the bare ground, and scrub struggling to survive.

The further west we travel, the less traffic we encounter. An occasional caravanner dodging road-kill, like us, and road trains ploughing through them. Australia is a vast and diverse country and I feel fortunate to travel in comfort and safety, and although the scenery is dull in colour and sparse in density, there is beauty all around for those who appreciate the details of nature.

Outback drought 3

One way to help make the world a better place


There was a time when I thought the human race wasn’t worth anything. Our world in such a state of disconnection and discord – crimes against humanity, violation of our planet home, and local communities obsessed with ‘success’ at the cost of all else. Corporate greed, personal gratification, governmental corruption, ignorance and neglect at a family and neighbourhood level. Ethics of a gutter rat. Too grim to comprehend a future.

My darkest days were upon me. Mental ill-health ruled my life, and I sank into isolation. Wild creatures were my friends, my only friends – backyard birds, lizards and snakes, frogs and bugs. Any and all of Mother Nature’s animals that would allow me into their space. I all but gave up on people.

Although my love and appreciation of nature has not diminished, my hope for humanity has grown many-fold. Violence against humanity and Earth, on a global scale, if anything, has increased: terrorism, inequity, persecution, greed, materialism. BUT my thought processes and outlook have changed. My perspective is more grown up, more universal, more positive, more charitable. My view is holistic and comes from a place of love instead of a place of fear.

Despite the world’s massive and apparently irreparable woes, I can sense an undercurrent of goodness, of change, of connection that transcends nationality and social standing. There is an energy of universal love spreading through humanity, causing a shift in attitude.

The catalyst for this energy is self-love and self-compassion. Not a love that involves the ego, rather, a self-love that must replace self-loathing for any growth on a soul level to occur. We (you and me, the elderly crippled woman, the business man, the retiree, the janitor, the school teacher, the single parent, the barrister, the troubled youth, the  homeless, the refugees), we can help heal the wold ONLY if we can find the courage or develop the capacity to love ourselves and work on healing our OWN pain, our own past hurt and grief.

When we are able to accept our past ‘stories’ for the necessary and beneficial lessons that they have truly been, we are then able to heal and move forward. As this process begins, we begin to change, we become aware of who we are and why we’ve been where we’ve been, and why we’re here. And then we can not help but live from a place of love that inspires others and triggers a ripple effect of soul growth far and wide.

One seemingly insignificant individual who doesn’t have a spare dollar to give to those less fortunate than  him/herself, can help heal the world simply by living authentically and unashamedly from a place of love. And it is my unwavering belief that this is the REAL giving.

learning to love yourself is the best way to help heal the world

Travelling – a bathroom with creature comforts


Once in a while I encounter people who are genuinely  happy to share their space with Nature’s not-so-popular creatures: the creepy-crawlies with bad reputations. It’s a joy to interact with these rare people.

I don’t need any encouragement to appreciate the creatures on the bottom of the popularity list. Bugs and small creatures that slither, wriggle, hop and crawl are welcome in my life (on my terms, mind you. I like to know the approximate whereabouts of these hairy-legged and slippery-skinned creatures so that I don’t unexpectedly encounter these potentially scary corner-dwellers at inopportune moments). Okay, I guess I enforce reasonably strict conditions in my own home, but outdoors is a different story altogether.

Whilst travelling and camping, I’m thrilled to be blessed with up-close and personal meetings with all animals with or without hairy legs. The campers’ bathroom here in the Atherton Tablelands in far north Queensland hosts many a creepy crawly, the most delightful being White-lipped Tree Frogs. They settle into corners to rest during the day. I’ve found four of these most attractive frogs lurking in cubicles, and as they were on the top of my ‘must see’ list, I’m a happy camper.

And then there’s Mrs Orb Spider hanging oh-so-resplendently in another corner. Every morning she repairs  her web, discards left-overs from last night’s meal to the floor (more fastidious at her house-keeping than some orb species), and dangles, legs outstretched, to digest her food.

A pair of Orange-footed Scrub Fowls scooted through our camp, strutted into the Ladies, scuttled around briefly, and strutted out again. And the Pale-yellow Robin perched next to the ‘Ladies’ sign before ducking inside to try its luck with bugs inside. It all happens around the amenities block, for those with a keen sense of observation.

A trip to the loo has never been so much fun. It’s a pity it’s not snake season.

White-lipped Tree Frog in campers bathroom

Orb spider campers bathroom

Travelling – The solitude of the beach

060 poster

There are other people on the beach – walking, playing, fishing – but the atmosphere of the wide open space of the beach allows me to ignore them without being impolite. Everyone  is doing their own thing so there is no unspoken expectation to engage with them. I like that. I like being able to find some solitude out in public.

I think it’s the gentle rhythmic rise and fall of the waves that I find so captivating. And the peace.

The protected beaches of north Queensland, with islands and reefs taming the ocean – like the swaying coconut palms overhanging the shore, the waves mimic the peaceful tropical pace. Roll in, disperse, roll out. Repeat. No thundering surf. Just toddler-sized waves, gently turning over shells and coral debris, spreading out onto the beach, soaking into the sand, with the remaining trickle of water returning to the sea. No push and shove. No unrelenting brashness. Just a slow hypnotic chorus. A calmness that permeates my depths.

I cross my legs, wriggle my backside into a comfortable depression in the sand, and let the beauty and tranquillity of nature nurture me. And I am grateful.

Blog beach 1