daily post

female zebra finches

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P1200142These girls are a little shyer than their male counterpart, preferring the shade and anonymity of the tree and each others company. They are the same as the male in plumage, save they lack his chestnut ear-patch and his barred breast, instead opting for a more demure fawn-grey breast befitting to Ladies.

southern whiteface

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I’m a big fan of the little birds and this is the opposite end of the spectrum to the emu of the last post. Whitefaces inhabit dry areas of southern and central Australia and I captured this one in the hills east of Port Augusta in South Australia while free camping on a cattle property. The Southern Whiteface is a mere 10 cm, rather plain with grey underparts and flanks, but that cute slash of white across the face sparks them up. This little guy was atop a large succulent that was covered in these long red blooms.

Australian ringneck

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Another parrot spotted at Wilcannia, NSW. These are long-tailed green parrots with a yellow ring on the neck. This particular variety is called Mallee, different varieties having slightly different body colours but all with the distinct yellow hind-neck. They moved very quickly having a bath under the sprinkle but as it’s the only photo I have adding it to my log.

the lucky protagonist

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death precedes transformation
death precedes transformation

Recently a friend died.

Unexpectedly.

Quickly.

In his prime.

Sudden death shocks us. It takes us by surprise.

In its wake we contemplate mortality, mostly our own.

We speculate on what comes after.

We tell ourselves stories, we reiterate our beliefs.

We comfort ourselves.

But we cannot Know what lies across the threshold.

No one can, until they go themselves.

All the way, without coming back.

And they can’t tell.

 

An unexpected and quick death can be a lucky card.

The winner in an often bad deck, filled with bad, sad and ugly. Just for starters.

Death has one constant. All things succumb.

Death, as they say, is the great equalizer.

 

My friend was lucky.

He died quickly, in his prime.

In a house he loved. Surrounded by his acres of trees, native animals and birdsongs.

In an octagonal space,  with wide expanses of glass.

A mud brick oven and open fire at its heart.

Built with recycled materials.

With his own hands, sometimes in the jovial company of friends.

 

A huge slab of polished wood made the kitchen table.

He hewed that wood with a good friend, using the old logging rig in the yard.

A still wet oil painting sat on the easel.

He’d named it ‘Sailing Away’.

Premonition perhapes.

A little sailboat with big red, wind-filled sails, heading towards the horizon.

A boat in its prime.

Heading into the unknown.

 

A small alcove made a good music room.

An old stereo, big record collection, guitars, a borrowed keyboard and his treasured violin.

A man enraptured by melody and sound.

A friend had just written him a song.

About him sailing away (no knowledge of the painting), leaving the rest of us clods behind.

 

He talked of a trip to his boyhood home.

Down the south coast.

Wanted to take his woman. His companion. His soul-mate.

Kept saying he had, ‘a yearning to return’.

He went farther than anyone thought.

 

Depending on where we sit, death precedes a great adventure, spiritual fulfillment, or a dissolving into nirvana, into a state of perfect nothingness.

We can only speculate

But now Paulie knows

He went all the way, he’s not coming back.

So he can’t tell.

eastern bearded dragon

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This is a Bearded Dragon (eastern form), they are quite prolific in my area and can often be spotted sun-baking on the grass, or like this one striking a series of sculptured poses that make them look like bits of discarded tree.  I assume the ‘living sculptures’ are an attempt to fool insects or smaller lizards into wandering close enough for a quick grab, though the only thing I saw this fellow eat were the abundant yellow dandelion flowers that dotted the grass before his arrival.

 

sun kissed clouds

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At times I am privy to the most spectacular sunsets here on the north coast of NSW Australia. On this evening there were amazing low clouds doing all sorts of cloud things and when the sun set the whole sky exploded with incredible beauty, or as described by a very excited 6 year old grand-child ‘it’s a strawberry milkshake in the sky!’