(it’s not just old age, either)


Echoes from Emptiness: Backyard Bauhinia

Under a new moon, at the turning of the earth towards summer, I sit at my table out on the deck, the candle flickering as the last stragglers of the bat community head over east, and I, a being once so addicted to “everywhere-but-here”, a global gaddabout of the first order, so easily seduced by salubrious memories of living and working and loving in Europe, North America, India, the Homeland (Aotearoa New Zealand), always ready to go – go – go now, am wallowing in a ridiculous contentment that consumes all desire to spend precious energy fleeing the inexplicable luxury of just this.

How, when my inhalation blesses me with the fragrance of Jasmine, Lavender, Wisteria, Orange and Mango blossom and I am giddy with double delight* at the excessive glory of the huge Bauhinia in my backyard, could I pine for any other clime?

How, when Kookaburra, Currawong, Magpie, uncountable Lorikeets and a host of unidentified cheepers and warblers chorus so insistently at 4am could I wish for a dark, cold, silent dawn elsewhere?

How, when greeted, like this morning, with a sky of powder-blue that throws the Border Ranges and Mount Warning into a chiaroscuro of subtle tones of silver, could I long even for those beloved Alps of my childhood?

I bless the land life has brought me to. It wasn’t my call, and it hasn’t always been easy. But I know beyond a shadow of doubt, it was, and it is, exactly where I need to be.

I am at last able to say – I love I love I love this sunburnt country.

And the weird thing is that it’s not about Australia at all.

I am simply and hopelessly in love.


Image by yours truly: Bauhinia blakeana – also known as the Hong Kong Orchid Tree. More info here.
*Treble delight actually – the tree is a dynamo of insect activity, and the Rainbow Lorikeets never draw breath.

“sunburnt country” – lifted from Dorothea Mackellar’s poem: My Country.

on christmas day in the morning


The Southern Cross and The Pointers


when you reach crinkled cronehood
days are as good as nights
as far as sleep’s concerned

I get up to pee

then I’m distracted by
the song of the Southern Cross
and lose my way back to bed

The Pointers are crisp and clear
SIT! they command
and who am I
to argue with the Cosmos?

oh joy and glee –

where else to be

but on a zafu



Image source – Sydney Observatory

One of the wonders of the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere (and greatly missed by its natives when they travel north of the equator) is the Southern Cross with its Pointers. In the image above, the Cross can be seen to the right, and the two Pointers to the left, indicating the position of true south.

three haiku for the road ahead

Leaving Cloud Mountain



How to heal a heart:
stand alone, drop your stories,
fall in love with this.



When my aloneness
smiled with simple contentment
love loosed its wild song.



Now that I’m clueless,
emptiness dances naked
wherever I gaze.



Life moves. It’s taking itself off the mountain and into the marketplace again. Who knows what will unfold? The only thing I’m certain about is that gratitude and fulfillment go with me – one’s my left leg, the other my right…

three haiku from cloud mountain hermitage


spidermind at the clothesline


Echoes from Emptiness: St Andrews Cross Spider from www.thisisaustralia.com.au


three dark nights she toiled
throwing a silken mooring-line to the backyard clothesline

three bright mornings she watched it break
as the washing was hung out to dry

next night she cast her thread at the picket fence
and in the morning, strong and secure
raised a cocky eyebrow as I came with my basket

I laughed and I bowed to her –
eight-armed embodiment of the mind of creativity



Instructions for Living A Life:

Pay Attention.
Be Astonished.
Tell About It.

– Mary Oliver


we need rain


Echoes from Emptiness: Jacarandas, Kiels Mountain, Queensland


a violet shower cascades
from the tops of the jacarandas

the kookaburras are shaking the canopy,
breakfasting with glee

what can you say about a giggling tree
a smiling cloudless cerulean sky
and a bunch of birds
with beaks-full of cackle?

just this:

emptiness is fulsome and fabulous
and shaking with laughter

while we, on our tinder-dry mountain
sniff the whiff of early bushfires
and wish it would wet itself soon


Photo – Miriam Louisa Simons

three haiku from cloud mountain hermitage

At the beginning of this month I moved into an old (but beautifully renovated) farm cottage on Kiels Mountain, on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Queensland, Australia. It is high enough to attract rain and mist, which are welcome visitors so far as the rainforest and its inhabitants are concerned.


Echoes from Emptiness: Kiels Mountain rainforest hermitage


And in spite of being only a few kilometers from local villages, the beach and coastal busyness, it has the feel of remoteness. It is my Cloud Mountain, and I am a happy hermit. In my morning scribblings, haiku begin to appear:


Mistiness in close –
drowning out my loneliness,
a Currawong choir.


Lost; an innocent
here, in spacious aloneness –
something Wild finds me.


Alone in the bush,
befriended by Beingness,
I stop asking why.


Image credit