Tag Archives: serenity

Paddling Through the Clouds…

Paddling through the clouds certainly sounds idyllic, and indeed at was for me while Geoff was battling it out with the boat and trying to get it out on the water before sunset. Indeed, while I was gazing at the reflections of clouds glowing on the water, the moon was bouncing up and down like a tennis ball, until it disappeared behind the clouds. It was all very atmospheric for me, and frustrating and disappointing for Geoff who didn’t get any further than sailing in the park. That said, he did get out with me for a better-than-nothing paddle. Well, it was far better than that and it was lovely to spend time together. Indeed, you could even say that we went out on a date. How strange is that!

Map of Brisbane Water, New South WalesIf you look at the map above, we were kayaking at Tascott, which is located on left hand side of the blue pond outlined above. It’s quite a pretty spot, but not as removed from civilization as my walks along the Water Tower Walk or Patonga. We were paddling just off the main road and my serenity was accompanied by the unnatural hum of traffic.


I paddled out to check out this old boat with loads of “character”. There’s a garden seat tied on at the front and I was surprised to see people on board. 

It’s feels like we’re finally liberating ourselves from some of our parenting duties and can actually snatch some moments away from the kids together. Their activities have largely been cancelled during lock down, and that’s also freed us up. I don’t know if we’re going to be entirely happy when it all starts up again.

Yacht Tascott

By the way, if you recall my sunset photos from Patonga, I was facing West and capturing the sun’s fading rays in all their golden glory. However, from Tascott, we were facing East and as you can see, the colours were much more muted and had a Monet feel about them. Well, at least they did to me.


By the way, my husband doesn’t apologize for not taking any photos of me out on the kayak. When I asked him about it when he got home, he said he was too busy working on the boat. Just as well I photographed my feet. I thought it might come in handy. The photo of me kayaking up the top, was one “I’d prepared earlier.”


Tascott looking towards Woy Woy, NSW. 

I hope you had a good weekend, but looking at these photos what I experienced is very different to what so many are going through either fighting the coronavirus or dealing with the riots in USA and issues in Hong Kong and so many other things which are going on. I can assure you, our world is not as calm as it appears either. While my health is good atm, we have family who aren’t well and I’m very mindful of that. We need to snatch away these moments of serenity and sunshine to refuel us for whatever lies ahead. It all seems a bit up in the air at the moment.

Sunset Tascott 2020

A Muted Sunset at Tascott. 

I’m thinking of you whoever or wherever you are and praying that you know it can be okay and to hang in there.

Best wishes,


Beach Storm

Thunderous rains and cyclonic winds
batter the coast with savage fury,
sweeping through the streets
like a howling ghost.
Candlelight a necessity,
not mere romance,
we’re huddling together,
dogs on our laps.

Fighting for freedom,
the roof flaps up and down
like a bird in flight.
The entire house is now
almost airborne,
flying around the world
before it’s nailed back down.
A window breaks.
A tree falls down.
We cling to each other
in absolute terror.

Ocean Beach, Umina. The surf here is usually fairly calm so this churning mass is quite exceptional!

Ocean Beach, Umina. The surf here is usually fairly calm so this churning mass is quite exceptional!

Lashing out with violent force,
the surf pounds in the distance.
A woman scorned, perhaps…
She’s smashing the beach
with a vengeance.
Violent waves blast through
the slumbering dunes,
savagely ripping ancient tea trees
out by their fibrous roots.
Dumping their spoils
on the beach like useless junk,
there is no mercy.

Shade sail torn to shreds at the local park.

Shade sail torn to shreds at the local park.

With unrelenting fury,
the waves plough on.
The greedy ocean devouring
mouthful after gluttonous mouthful
of scrumptious sand.
All those glorious, golden Summers,
brutally stripped away
without a tear.
The beach is now a graveyard,
strewn with fallen trees.

Taking photos at the beach after the storm.

Taking photos at the beach after the storm.

My morning ritual,
I walk the dogs along the beach,
photographing the carnage.
Brutal, yet beautiful,
those gnarled and twisted silhouettes
glorified in 6 x 4.
oblivious to destruction,
the dogs feast
on a smorgasbord of sniffs
and persistently chases
another dog’s ball.

Bilbo wasn't too sure about the beach disappearing, after all!

Bilbo wasn’t too sure about the beach disappearing, after all!

Strong waves still devouring the shore,
more questions are now being asked.
Sand dunes are steadily disappearing,
the road now lies in its path.
Should we step-in?
Somehow reign in
this surging, unpredictable force?
Seal it tight in a jar
where it can’t move?
Can not escape?
Must sit perfectly still!
Convert it into a swimming pool,
with “No Running” signposted
around the edge?

Ocean Beach, Umina after the storms

Ocean Beach, Umina after the storms

I don’t know.
But as much as I try to rein in
the surging storm within;
build up my walls,
hold my breath in;
I start dying.
An empty shell.
The light in my eyes goes out.
There’s nobody home.

Bird in the Clouds

Bird in the Clouds

If only I could rewind time.
Learn how to ride the wave.
Step out taking more risks.
Move more intuitively,
with the rise and fall of the sea,
instead of fencing everything in!
Then, I could finally soar
above it all.
Be a bird flying free.
After all, even King Neptune
couldn’t tame the sea.

Miss in the dunes.

Miss in the dunes.

Yet, soon Winter will end.
Once Summer begins,
I know we’ll soon forget
there ever was a storm.
The sand will come back.
New trees will grow.
Surfers will hit the waves.
Thousands of feet will leave
their footprints in the sand.
Parents will nudge reluctant toddlers
wrapped around their legs,
to brave the waves.
Dogs will run along the beach
chasing balls and sticks,
feasting on fresh scents,
swimming, rolling in the sand
then dumping the beach in the car.
Melting ice creams and sticky fingers.
Someone is always getting sunburnt
and another freckle finds a face.

Aren't those incredible clouds so mesmerising!

Aren’t those incredible clouds so mesmerising!

Yet, as I look up into the sand dunes
searching for that patch of shade,
the storm lives on.

Our trees are still gone.

Written Thursday 25th June, 2015 in between appointments at Royal North Shore Hospital. It’s interesting what crosses your mind at certain times. There I was writing poetry about the beach in the middle of a concrete box in Sydney, which is hardly an inspirational space, even though they’ve done their best to de-hospitalise the place. I wasn’t feeling unduly stressed before the procedure as I’d had it before although I was justifiably concerned about getting back in time to pick up the kids from After School Care. Had to leave before I got the results and ended up having to self-discharge as things dawdled on.
Not that I’m intending to whinge but because of my lung damage and cough, they were too light on with the anesthetic and I was awake for the procedure, which was ghastly. No silver linings there else that it’s over!!

By the way, the storm photo which I’ve used for my featured image was taken at Palm Beach during a previous storm. There was no way we could take photos down at the beach at the height of the storm, although we did go down during a lull the next day.

After not being walked for two days on account of the procedure, the dogs are muttering about staging some kind of protest, even a revolution. Good job I keep them well fed and patted!

To read about the storm, click here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/a-drowned-rat-in-the-sydney-storm/ and https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/after-the-sydney-storm/

You might also enjoy a similar poem: “The Surfer’s Dog” here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/poem-the-surfers-dog/

xx Rowena

Walking Along the Storm Ravaged Beach.

A few months ago, I wrote about some terrible storms which ravaged Sydney and our normally placid, local beach. While you usually hear about the calm after the storm, there is also the carnage. Naturally, the  electricity is well and truly back on and the streets have been cleared and the fallen trees pulverized into mulch.However, the beach is another story. There is still ongoing  sand erosion and trees have been uprooted and devoured by the angry surf. Still on the rampage, the surf has set its sights on the road, as it carves through the dunes with determined persistence.

Trees have been uprooted and strewn along the beach and buried in a sandy grave.

Trees have been uprooted and strewn along the beach and buried in a sandy grave.

While the environmental impact of the storms has been quite severe, from a photographic perspective, it’s quite another story. The interplay between surf, sand and the trees is rather captivating.

Moreover, it’s also a magic wonderland for little hands, feet and eyes to explore.

Miss climbing up the decimated tree scape.

Miss climbing up a tree skeleton, which was buried in the sand.

Most days, I walk the dogs along this stretch of beach solo but given the glorious Winter sunshine, I encouraged the kids to join me. Despite her action-packed, sleep-deprived weekend at camp, Miss came along. I pulled out the camera and followed her, the dogs and an incredible bank of billowing, white cloud.

Aren't those incredible clouds so mesmerising!

Aren’t those incredible clouds so mesmerising! That’s the Palm Beach headland in the foreground and Whale Beach in the background.

After being outside while the vanished dried on the kitchen floorboards, the dogs almost flew into the car…not that I ever need to tell them twice!!  Actually, all I need to do is get my handbag and head towards my keys and they’re both standing at the front door tails wagging and then there’s almost a draft as they zoom out. There’s no stopping them!

A Dog's Life...isn'tt it tough?!!

A Dog’s Life…isn’tt it tough?!!

We’re in the middle of Winter here and although we’ve had some wet, damp and gloomy stretches, we’ve also had more than our fair share of glorious, sunny weather. When that magical Winter sun is shining , your soul starts to warm up and dance on the inside as you stick your head out the door.

 Even in the middle of Winter, you can muster a smiley face.

Even in the middle of Winter, you can muster a smiley face.

I don’t always take the camera to the beach and I’ve been a bit reticient since we recently updated the lens and it’s still “precious”. After all, getting sand all through your swimmers and your shoes is one thing but it really does nasty things to a SLR camera lens.

Miss in the dunes.

Miss in the dunes looking like an advertisement for some form of  miraculous stain remover.

However, that combination of girl, dogs,beach and sun was too hard to resist and I was thrilled to spot a bank of huge, billowing clouds on the horizon and the light was absolutely perfect as well…the magic hour!

I was in heaven.

Now, I hope you enjoy sharing a touch of our heaven too!

I could almost inhale the incredible beauty!

I could almost inhale the incredible beauty!

Never forget that even in darkest depths of a freezing Winter, the sun is always just behind the clouds waiting to come back out.

xx Rowena

Touched By the Light of the Moon.

Photography can be a lot like fishing. When you see that perfect shot, you’ve left your camera at home. Or, as has happened to me many times, the @#$% battery has been flat.Mind you, things were a lot worse back in the day when you could so easily run out of film and you didn’t have the privilege or looking in the back of your camera to see whether you’d got the shot. You had to be very particular and go through a lot of film “just in case”.

Well, tonight was our lucky night even if being able to capture the moment and save it for eternity might not be everybody’s idea of hitting the jackpot. Yes, indeed, I’m sure if you surveyed 100 people, most of them would take winning lotto over being able to take a photograph…especially a night shot of the moon, which, without a tripod and the inherent blurring camera shake,  is going to be a “mission impossdible” to perfect.


The moon rising on my father’s 70th Birthday tonight. What an incredible tribute!

But that’s not the point.There’s something incredible, spectacular, spiritual and beyond any kind of description about looking through the lens at something amazing and having your own version, interpretation or perspective on that. I also find that photogrphing something helps me to absorb it in much greater detail than I do watching it with the naked eye. There’s that focus. That intense focus where sometimes, I can almost feel myself merging in with the subject and becoming one.

Today is was my father’s 70th Birthday and it seemed quite appropriate that there was a particularly impressive, huge orange moon suspended in the sky as we droive home tonight.I didn’t even have to nudge Geoff to pull over at the lookout to take the photos. We were thinking the same thing and were pleased   that for once we had the camera in the car, battery charged and ready for action when such a brilliant photo opportunity was screaming out to be caught.

You can also get some very "interesting" effects taking night shots!!

You can also get some very “interesting” effects taking night shots!!

Being out there in the pitch black darkness staring at the moon through the lens and absorbing a sense of something so serene and beyond human comprehenion and understanding, was incredible. Time stood still for those few minutes and all the rush, bustle and “to-Do’s” melting away in the moonlight.

There was just peace.

Happy Birthdays Mum & Dad. Yes, Mum had her birthday during the week so it was a double celebration.

xx Rowena