“There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything’s got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.”
― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
“When we walk slowly, the world can fully appear. Not only are the creatures not frightened away by our haste or aggression, but the fine detail of fern and flower, or devastation and disruption, becomes visible. Many of us hurry along because we do not want to see what is really going on in and around us. We are afraid to let our senses touch the body of suffering or the body of beauty.”
Welcome to Day 6 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.
Today, we’re driving from Eaglehawk Neck, South of Hobart to Penguin in search of Ferndene, a local nature reserve.
Penguin is located on Bass Strait on Tasmania’s North Coast and has a beautiful sandy beach with some very striking basalt boulders covered in orange lichen. However, we’ll get back to that when we return to Penguin for letter P…a long way down the track.
Indeed, it was quite a search to find Ferndene. Being quite a long way down Ironcliffe Road, it is off the beaten track and difficult to find. Indeed, you really need to be a local, or speak with one, to find out about it. This also means that you won’t find rows of tourist buses parked out the front. Or, that you’re having to share your solitude with the throngs. You can commune with nature all by yourself under the shade of a giant man fern and dream you’re one of the wee folk. Well, that is if that’s what takes you fancy.
I hope you’ve brought your walking shoes because it’s a half hour walk to the old mine site. While the old mine isn’t that exciting, the gigantic, towering eucalpyts and huge man ferns are magical and on the day we went back in January, there was what I consider to be a perfect sky…bright blue dotted with white, sheepy clouds. Wow! I could just lie there watching the clouds float by forever if I was there by myself…and I didn’t have so much of Tasmania to squeeze into 3 weeks!
While we pretty much had the place to ourselves, we did run into a group of young film makers down there and this very interesting lizard character, who was only too happy to pose for yours truly.
Well, it’s only fitting that we duck back down into Penguin for some fish and chips for dinner. The fish and chips in Tassie overall are great and there was only one place that was a bit average. You’ll also notice that the batter used on the fish is bright orange. This intrigued us so much, that I eventually asked someone how they did it. They add orange food colouring to the batter. I must admit I was gobsmacked, shocked etc as I really try to stay away from all of that. Colours do nasty things to the kids and I don’t think they’re good for me either. All the same, the fish and chips was fantastic and we also had a great piece of apricot crumble…highly recommended!
How are you finding our trip around Tassie so far? I hope you haven’t been tempted to dart off on any detours without me, have you? Have you snuck back to Ashgrove Farm to Seize the Cheese? Or, perhaps you’ve headed over to the Raspberry Farm for pancakes or to the chocolate factory? As someone who isn’t very good at following orders or sticking to the plan, I understand but don’t forget we have G to look forward to tomorrow. You don’t want to get left behind…or do you????
See you bright and early in the morning! I can’t quite remember where we’re going so this could be interesting!
That seagull is definitely living the dream. It was an amazing thing to step inside in and seize the moment.
As you might be aware, our family is currently roaming around Tasmania, where my husband was not only born and bred but has family ties going back as far as 1828. Indeed, all branches of his family go back to early settlement and it’s probably just as well that he married a “mainlander”.
I don’t know what your approach is to exploring a new place. However, to really get a feel for the place, I always like to get out on foot and explore as well as asking the locals about secret nooks and crannies.
This is how I found out about Ferndene.
While we were onboard the Spirit of Tasmania (the ferry running between Mebourne on the Australian mainland and Devonport, Tasmania), I asked Tasmanian staff onboard for their recommendations.
This is what saw us driving up and down Ironcliffe Road, Penguin searching for a spot where it’s only a 20 second walk from the car, to see giant tree ferns.
The only trouble was that it took us a lot longer than 30 seconds to actually locate Ferndene, which I guess can be quite a problem with these sights off the beaten track…a complication of the “road less travelled”.
While the tourist office told us this park was called Ferndene, we had some trouble finding it and had to make further inquiries and return the next day.
These tree ferns, by the way, are so big the Tasmanians call them “man ferns”. Indeed, they are the size of a man.
I was quite keen to chase after these tree ferns when I heard about them because and Geoff always associates them with “home”. He also tells me that Tasmanian tree ferns are a different species to those on the mainland, which aren’t quite the same (or is that a nothing like the original??)
Anyway, we finally found Ferndene and opted to go on what was sign posted as a 30 minute walk, although that doesn’t take into account numerous photo stops or jaw dropping gasps staring up through the fronds into the sun drenched sky.
The track which does have some ups and downs and requires some level of fitness, takes you through towering fern and eucalypt canopies, past a tea-tree stained creek and onto an abandoned iron mine.
Along the way, we also encountered an unidentified species of local dragon, which could well be a more extroverted relative of the “Nessy’s” (the famed Loch Ness Monster). Friendly, its apparently featuring in an amateur film.
Anyway, I’m going to keep this trip short and sweet and please forgive the rush. We’re now in Hobart about a week down the track. It’s been very difficult to get any writing time and Internet connections have been very slow.
Take care & best wishes,
Today, I was struck on the head by the magnetic muse in what could only be described as a “coup de foudre”.
In case you “ne comprendez pas”, that means falling in love at first sight. I thought falling in love, or becoming addicted, sounded much more dramatic in French.
Like a proverbial matchmaker, Merril D Smith introduced me writing magnetic poetry online at http://play.magneticpoetry.com/ It’s so much fun. I chose the nature theme and I was thrilled with the results. I felt my poetry gained very rich symbolism and I put images together which I never would’ve thought of combining before, yet made such sense and expanded my vision exponentially.
Dare I ask you what you think?
Well, here goes:
Magnetic Poetry 23rd November, 2016.
Have you been struck by the magnetic muse? I’d love to hear how you went.
Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!
You might want a cool drink this weekend. It’s warming up around here and we’re enjoying some glorious Spring weather.
It’s not every week that I can tell you that something’s happened. I’m not talking about my usual staring at the waves or up into the clouds and finding peace, joy and harmony in the trees.
I’m talking about some pretty extraordinary stuff. Not that I’m showing off because I was just in the right place at the right time, which I’ve got to tell you is a bit of a rarity for me…especially when all this happened at our local beach an hour from Sydney. We’re not a backwater but we’re hardly Mecca either.
Wednesday morning, the kids started a three day surf course. I was really excited about this as I have a secret passion for surfing, even though I’ve only caught a few waves in my life time and they were lying down. Yet, I loved that sensation of surging through the waves. Wow! My husband has also been interested in learning to surf and so we bought a board when we were in Byron Bay a few years ago but it’s never seen the beach and has been filed away in the deepest, darkest recesses of the garage…a doomed holiday “romance” of sorts.
So, the kids are lined up on the beach learning how it’s done on the sand before they hit the surf. I’m taking a few photos and follow them down to the water.
That’s when I spot a group of Tibetan monks on the beach. They’re dressed in their robes. The same coloured robes as the Dalai Lama. Not only that but they’re all lined up carrying surfboards.
That’s right. There was a group of Tibetan monks at our beach going surfing. Well, not quite going surfing yet because they were giving a blessing for the beach, posing for photos and talking to the media. Then, they changed into board shorts and life jackets before they headed out.
I’ve written two posts about their visit:
Backtracking a little, that morning I had a nasty fall at the shops and sprained my ankle and tore a hole in my knee. There was no one around at the time and I must admit it would’ve been really good to have someone help me get up. Even better, just imagine if those monks had found me. They could’ve carried me back to the car and blessed me on the way. What a shame! That would’ve been fantastic!
But, I’m Tonka tough. I kept going.
Saturday morning, was planned excitement. Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes was at our local bookshop, Book Bazaar, signing copies of his book: Working Class Boy. I’m currently reading the book and love loving it even though it’s heavy, emotive, dark and very much like Angela’s Ashes. I’ve actually found it pretty hard finding out the back story behind the man. A man who is as Australian as Vegemite. Pretty much every Australian “of a certain age” has a story about Barnsey and or Cold Chisel.
Anyway, meeting Jimmy was pretty nerve-wracking. Not because I was nervous or shy but because I was desperate to get a good photo of him and ideally him with us for the blog. However, I knew they were expecting 200 people through in 2 hours and they had at least 3-4 queue cops on duty. In the past, I’ve found that while they talk about embracing social media, bloggers don’t even rate a spot at the bottom of the pecking order. I just had to hope. Pray. Usually, the long lens comes through, but queue cops can show no mercy. When you’ve had your allocated 30 seconds, you get the boot.
However, unbeknown to me, I had two magic tricks up my sleeve. I’d at least read some of his book and I showed compassion. Who wouldn’t? He might be a famous rocker now, but once upon a time he was a little boy living in a war zone and as a Mum, I wanted to pick up that little boy, give him a huge hug and a Matchbox car.
Here’s the full story: Jimmy Barnes: What do you say when you meet a rock legend?
Being a complete and utter dag, I sad as much to him as he was signing the book and made a connection. Just because your famous, it doesn’t mean you don’t need people to care, listen to your story and give a damn.
So, I’ve felt like I’m sitting on Cloud 9 after those outstanding experiences this week and yet, at the same time, the cough is more repetitive and less productive than even though my lungs are clear. My ankle is still swollen and badly bruised from the fall but doesn’t really hurt…the ups and downs of life.
This weekend is also “Bathurst”. That is the “Bathurst 1000”…a 1000km race around Mt Panorama with such thrills as “Hell Corner” “Forrest’s Elbow” and “The Chase”. I don’t think any of this track is what you’d consider “safe”. It’s definitely a case of “maniacs only need apply”. Another aspect of Bathurst is the intense rivalry between Ford and Holden. Will Davison & Jonathon Webb won this year and yes they were driving a Holden!
So, how has your week been? I hope it’s been a good one and I’ll be trying to visit everyone for coffee.
It’s no wonder I “over-think” things. Strange things keep happening and I’m trying to work out whether it’s chance, coincidence or destiny. That’s why I like the word serendipity because it seems to covers that ambiguity. It was “meant to be”, and yet it was also brought about by chance.
Moreover, I should also add that it’s up to you whether you grasp that serendipitous moment (that is, if there is such a word) and run with it or let it slip through your hands into the wind where it could well be grasped by someone more daring.
Before I get to the audaciousness of the woman with the long camera lens (I tell you I’ve lost count of how many doors a long lens has opened for me over the years but it’s certainly been more influential than the sword!!)
As I said, before I get to the audaciousness of the woman with the long lens, let me just tell you that before I was strutting my stuff down at the beach and flashing my lens around, yours truly had a nasty fall. Not of the figurative kind but of the real, painful and ouchy kind. I’d ducked down to get my daughter a loaf of bread and for no reason whatsoever, my ankle flipped over, gave way and I landed smack onto the concrete.
As I’m lying there, pain receptors all over my body are flashing red and my brain is doing this desperate mantra: “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!” Meanwhile, inside I feel this desperate, crushing sadness. It’s almost been 2 years since my last fall where I broke my foot in equally pathetic circumstances and yes, I was feeling sorry for myself. I was wanting someone to rescue me and give me a hand up. I might have been at our local shops and I know a lot of people around here, but there was no one in sight. As much as it’s embarrassing to have a fall, it’s also a relief to have help getting up and some loving, caring stranger ask if you’re okay and bless you with the touch of human kindness.
However, as I said, there was no one in sight.
So, I picked myself off the ground and hobbled with my sprained ankle on one leg and my grazed knee on the other, looking like a mutant John Wayne. Bought my bread. Said hello to a friend (without mentioning my accident) and drove home.
Life as a parent…there is no off switch.
The kids were going to their first surf lesson this morning. I’d been really been looking forward to watching them, but now I was wondering how I was going to walk along the beach. I was angry with my foot. Angry with life.
By the way, as far as I’m concerned, it’s alright to ask: “Why me?” at these times. It’s just not good to dwell on it.
Anyway, I made it onto the sand and was taking a few photos of the kids and listening to their surf instructor, when I noticed a group of Tibetan monks wearing flowing robes on the beach. Immediately, instinctively even, my photographic eyes were starting to switch.
Obviously, a group of Tibetan monks in robes stood out on an Australian beach. We’re about 90 minutes North of Sydney and not what you’d call a multi-cultural area. It’s bikinis, board shorts and surf board territory around here.
Now, I have seen some interesting sights on the beach, and more often, I’ve been an “interesting” sight myself (what with taking photos of things at the beach…tea cups, Eeyore, kids etc ). However, Tibetan monks on an Australian beach is a first.
So being the helicopter parent that I am, I totally switched off from my kids’ surf lesson and started chasing these poor monks up and down the beach with my camera instead. Actually, unlike my kids they were there to be photographed, were only too happy to meet and greet and they also did a meditation to bless our beach.
However, these monks weren’t just there to look at the waves. Apparently, they’re going surfing. They’ll be having a surf lesson and I later saw them wearing wet suits and life jackets, although we left before they had a go. The TV station was there and an official photographer with a much bigger lens than mine. They were conducting interviews, filming and taking photos. However, I was able to mention 1000 Voices for Compassion and my blog. I also found out that they’re coming back in November for a series of talks in Gosford. I’ll be there!
It was remarkable timing running into these Gyutan monks from Tibet after my disheartening fall this morning. It gave me such a such a sense of yin and yang. There was the physical pain, shock and disappointment of the fall followed by the excitement of seeing the monks but also feeling touched by meeting them and being reminded about peace and the goodness of God and the need to look up instead of down.
Perhaps, I was meant to learn to trust God. That even when I fall and feel incredibly alone, that God is still there with me and carrying me forward to something better. And I know that if we didn’t have the rain, we’d never appreciate the sun and the plants would never grow.
That said, getting hurt still hurts.
As you may recall, I’ve mentioned in various posts before, about how I see better when I’m looking through my camera lens. That I see things I miss with my own eyes. Well, photographing and meeting these monks was confirmation and I really appreciated these added insights.
It turns out the monks haven’t had much, if any, exposure to the beach and, for example, didn’t know that the water would be salty. I noticed that they flinched as the waves rolled over these feet. Perhaps, the water was cold but I saw this as an unfamiliarity with the waves.
However, while they were meditating and the very same water whooshed over their feet, they stood completely still. They didn’t flinch.
That touched me. That gave me an insight into the depths of their meditation and its power. That it’s something deep and very real. Not only that, I would love to reach that level of peace in myself…especially in stressful situation. It was such a powerful testimony.
So, after photographing and meeting these inspirational monks, I was back to Parenthood 2.0. Watching the end of their surf lesson and taking them to Maccas for lunch on the way home…a special holiday treat.
Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, we have a way to go too!
By the way, you may be interested in a previous post I wrote where I reviewed The Pursuit of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Carter. You can check it out here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/the-dalai-lama-and-the-psychiatrist-converse/
PS Tonight my husband was catching the train home from work when he spotted our dear neighbours returning prematurely from the trip. They’re in their mid-80s and the wife had had a nasty fall and had spent the night in hospital. I received a phone call on my “death bed” and the next thing I was driving to the station picking them up and helping her back into the house… past their tribe of about 8 duckling and a single parent who were missing them terribly along with their “pet” magpie. It felt nice to be useful and to be able to help them and be part of community instead of sitting on the edge! This couple have been a bit like grandparents to our family and today it was our turn to look out for them instead.