Sunday, November 22, 2009

Looking out the window...

Picture of me by my daughter, Aurora.

Soon I will write about the upcoming Two Bays project but before that I am enjoying listening to the sound of rain. Covering the town, like the snow at the end of the story "The Dead" by James Joyce. I vaguely remember the wonderful movie made of the story but I still have the ring of James Joyce's language as he describes the shroud of snow falling on the living and the dead.

Thought I would add a few of his actual lines and that I could easily find them with google but instead find myself lost in a maze of study guides. Either no-one reads the text anymore or the intellectual property rights are far more sophisticated than the absorbing texts I find openly on the net.

So instead of getting all Irish and metaphysical I will concentrate on the constant sound of rain on my roof. Soaking the parched Melbourne earth that has already felt the onslaught of the coming Summer. The ongoing drought in this part of the world from my amateur meteorological standpoint seems more a symptom of global warming. And hence not a drought but a new climatic condition.

So rain keep falling and remind everyone that we are all connected and particularly by water.

And I am also glad I fixed the leak in my roof!


Wondering about that feathery word. It hovers above our days with ever sharper brightness.
Sometimes it seems the moment between life and death is purely one of hope.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Life as a painting

View from Cooktown hill, Cape York looking toward Cape Bedford

Life as a painting

It is good to know that the annual Hope Vale Pelican project that normally Pelican has been involved in is right at this moment happening on Ellim Beach. Just around the cape in the image above!

Pelican Expeditions has had an incredibly rough year really. We have lost one of our key people (and friend!) to cancer, lost our funding for a cornerstone project and struggled with solving issues around a report which we had commissioned and which turned into a complete nightmare. This nightmare took up most of our resources to resolve and resulted in us landing in a dead end of academic parsimonious silence. Just as we picked ourselves of the floor and took some heart in the ongoing energy of projects to come, my younger sister began a fight for life with a secondary cancer diagnosis. She has had a very unlucky journey with the disease and is now suffering terribly from the impact of bone and liver cancer.

My own struggles to pursue what I see a positive projects in the world begins to fade into insignificance in the face of the ongoing suffering of someone close to me.

Last night I sat beside her in a big public hospital as she finally seemed to reach some kind of rest after an exhausting day of medical procedures and pain. The cool blue light of the hospital night was punctuated with the beeps, moans and sighs of patients and machines. I sat there, conscious that I could be conscious without pain and aware of the more settled breathing of my sister. Thankful for that respite but alert to the next wave of potential suffering. I felt it all today as I threw myself physically at my garden. As if to compensate for the hours of passive suffering of my sister, I tugged, pulled, carried, dug and chopped through the endless tangle of weeds, ivy and clutter around my house.

And life as a still painting, life as a balance of forces, life as a still life, life tilting into imbalance with our first world settled bargaining with nature, tilts.

Monday, August 24, 2009


If I were to sing the praises of the beloved there would be no sunrise in the morning. The sun, like a shield of fire, sits firmly on the horizon of dreams.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The world is free from my melancholy thoughts

The world is free from my melancholy thoughts,
the world just is.
The beach, with sand eroding from the fierce tides, cannot see
my young amorous shadow,
hiding naked in the dunes.

Nor the form, pensive and sturdy,
studying the violet Winter hues,
gathering ocean air,
before the return to
the familiar city.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Head in Light

Photo: Shirley Nicholas

I am up late, attempting to write/organise a presentation for next week. Planning for Hope Vale. Problems of funding LOOM as they always do. One of the elders that we work with is going to co-present with me and hopefully some of the kids that come to the camp.

But I can no longer think in terms of capacity building and sustainability and multi-disciplinary and disadvantage and partnerships etc

Instead I will now travel back in time.

The photograph above is one that I have saved from an old glass transparency taken by my grandmother in the 1920s.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tree listening...

It seems I only have time to tweet these days or maybe my thoughts have just coagulated.
So I am reduced to tweet tree blogging.
Hope to regain blogging consciousness soon.....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Loss of Nature words

This was brought to my attention in a twitter from Orion Magazine. The latest edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary is getting rid of the following words, many of which pertain to Nature and replacing them with words also listed below. The replacement vocabulary does not look very inspiring even if it is more reflective of a the contemporary experience of growing up in an urban environment. The thinking seems to be the as children are more often growing up in environments that are not connected to Nature that the words that used to be useful are no longer required. Sad I think. And also dangerous as you would think in this period of climate change that children more than ever need to be connected to the natural world and understand the importance of that relationship to them. The loss of words signifies that deeper loss of connection.

Words taken out:
Coronation, duchess, duke, emperor, empire, monarch, decade, carol, cracker, holly, ivy, mistletoe, dwarf, elf, goblin, abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, devil, vicar.

Adder, ass, beaver, boar, budgerigar, bullock, cheetah, colt, corgi, cygnet, doe, drake, ferret, gerbil, goldfish, guinea pig, hamster, heron, herring, kingfisher, lark, leopard, lobster, magpie, minnow, mussel, newt, otter, ox, oyster, panther, pelican, piglet, plaice, poodle, porcupine, porpoise, raven, spaniel, starling, stoat, stork, terrapin, thrush, weasel, wren.

Acorn, allotment, almond, apricot, ash, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, bran, bray, bridle, brook, buttercup, canary, canter, carnation, catkin, cauliflower, chestnut, clover, conker, county, cowslip, crocus, dandelion, diesel, fern, fungus, gooseberry, gorse, hazel, hazelnut, heather, holly, horse chestnut, ivy, lavender, leek, liquorice, manger, marzipan, melon, minnow, mint, nectar, nectarine, oats, pansy, parsnip, pasture, poppy, porridge, poultry, primrose, prune, radish, rhubarb, sheaf, spinach, sycamore, tulip, turnip, vine, violet, walnut, willow

Words put in:
Blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, attachment, database, export, chatroom, bullet point, cut and paste, analogue.

Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, citizenship, childhood, conflict, common sense, debate, EU, drought, brainy, boisterous, cautionary tale, bilingual, bungee jumping, committee, compulsory, cope, democratic, allergic, biodegradable, emotion, dyslexic, donate, endangered, Euro.

Apparatus, food chain, incisor, square number, trapezium, alliteration, colloquial, idiom, curriculum, classify, chronological, block graph.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Kid turns seven

Just the other week my little girl turned seven!! My daughter who started out as a very tiny scrap, arriving prematurely two months early. Easter Sunday, full moon baby.

Seven years seems to mark a very definite slice of life. She is now nearly the tallest in her grade, filled with wit, energy and fun.
I could not imagine my life without her and felt that way from the moment she was born.

If ever I am questioning the magic inherent in being alive I transport myself back to the moment before she was born. I had a normal birth, except it was too early. Only in the last stages of labour did the doc notice that her heartbeat was getting a bit weaker so he asked me to try to get her out in one push. I closed my eyes and let out a kind of haka yell and as soon as I did that I was transported into flying galaxies and shooting comets. I couldn't believe this sense that I was really out in the far reaches of space and light. The doc asked for me to be quiet as the little one had arrived and I opened my eyes to see Aurora.

I didn't have any drugs so it was just either a moment of hallucination brought on by all the birthing hormones or ... that's where we come from! Who knows but it was a rather fantastic feeling!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two Bays 2009

Invitation to Launch of 2009 Two Bays project.

Two Bays 2009 has come and gone. It was a difficult project to get up due to the fact that we got our funding only a few weeks before the project was to commence. This meant that the program suddenly grew from one week to two and a half and jumped in complexity overnight.

Common Sting Ray- photo Freddy Leeong

But even with the short lead time, I think nearly all participants were happy with the resulting overall project. The picture above is from the first day when we did some work at the Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary. The Marine Park system in Victoria is now six years old. We had many scientists and people who are involved in the sanctuary come on board to help document the health of the sanctuary and take note of the animals living there. In less than two hours over 25 species of fish were seen and recorded. People who know the area are very exited about the health and biodiversity that this small protected space now reveals.

Divers entering the water from Pelican - photo Freddy Leeong

This year we again had a focus on the Boonwurrung knowledge of the area and directly involved Elders and young Koories in the program. Pelican Expeditions also received a grant from the Federal government to create curriculum out of the synergies between the Traditional Knowledge of the Bays and the science that we are doing during the project. We are also working with young Koories (Victorian Aboriginal) to make some digital stories about Sea Country. These stories will eventually become part of the curriculum and will also eventually go up on the Parks Victoria websites.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

sleeping in blog land

And when one falls asleep it seems it is like a dream of sleeping beauty but there are no blog princes or princesses that wake you up!
One just slumbers on...
Well, we shall see if one eye opens..