Alone on a sandy beach. A leisurely walk on a sunny afternoon.
Suddenly, spot a stranded starfish.
Two weeks later. Another beach.
Another leisurely walk on a sunny afternoon.
This time, with our son (Let’s call him Fred).
It’s hot. 34C. Wear flip-flops. Burning sand, too hot for bare feet.
See washed up coconuts, dried seaweed, assorted shells and sticks and twigs.
A fallen tree trunk, now a giant, sun-bleached log, rests on the sand.
I rest on the log. Fred walks over and rests beside me.
We watch a man on a paddle board glide into shore. Three small children run to meet him whilst their mother waits in the shade of the trees.
Suddenly, Fred gets up from the log and takes several steps. He stares at something on the sand. I get up and look too.
A blue-ringed octopus?
No. Only five legs. I thought it was a snake at first.
The stranded creature looks hard and dry. Using a long, thin rock and a flat rock, Fred carries it to a shady part of the beach. It looks brittle and we don’t want to break it. Fred places it gently on a brown leaf. The mystery creature is beautifully preserved, I assume by the sea salt and the sun, flat and hard like a pressed flower.
We find out later, it’s a Brittle Star – in the Starfish family.
We also find out that marine scientists are trying to rename ‘starfish‘ as Sea Stars – because they are not ‘fish’.
Ahhh… beginning a new day
and beginning new lives…
To see how others interpret ‘Beginning’, click here.
Grandma and toddler sharing New Year’s morning at the beach.
‘One travels more usefully when alone because he reflects more,’
said Thomas Jefferson.
What is this hitch-hiker thinking
as he heads towards Missoula, Montana?
Is he feeling loneliness or solitude in light of Paul Tillich’s words:
‘Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone
and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.’
And, is he a solitary person as in Paul Theroux’s statement:
‘Solitary people make the best travellers’
And, as we all know…
‘The one thing that matters is the effort,’
(Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
as we ‘…climb every mountain!’
For more interpretations of ‘One’ see here.
Leisurely Saturday. Revisit Palm Cove.
Walk along the jetty. Look over the sea to Double Island. Look back at the shoreline at the sand, sea and rocks.
What’s that? A white bird stands out against the dark rocks. Zoom in with my camera lens. See the white bird more clearly. A white heron?
A white bird with a fish in its beak. A largish fish but a long, thin beak on the bird. How did these two come together? Was the fish in the water? Did the white bird pierce the fish with its long sharp beak?
Was the fish dead in the water or on the sand and the white bird found it?
Did the fish drop from an osprey or hawk flying overhead?
Take more photos and watch … it looks like a big fish. Sometimes the bird has the fish in its beak. A free lunch. And a solitary lunch, except for us watching from the jetty…
Sometimes the bird stabs at the fish and tries to pick it up again.
I haven’t seen this bird before. Exciting… New… Interesting… What is happening now?
What bird is it? Not an ibis – they have black on them and a different shaped beak. A white heron? An egret?
Later. Look up online and find out the bird is an Eastern Reef Egret (Egretta Sacre) Also called a Pacific Reef-Heron.
Wonder how much fish the Egret ate…
Was it enough for lunch?
And… how did the Egret get the fish?
‘The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere….’
John Muir reminds us…
and what better way
to start the day
than with a grand sunrise…
this one, over Beaver Lake, Ontario
Meanwhile, Ansel Adams points out that,
‘Both the grand and the intimate aspects of nature
can be revealed in the expressive photograph.’
Grand rock formations
in the North Dakota Badlands …
…and this grand rock
at a highway pull out,
in North Queensland,
invites us to touch the iron-red rock face,
and the fine, intimate grasses.
Then there’s the grand view…
from grandstand seats
and a grand vista…
of the horizon
where big sky
meets open spaces
of vast American prairies,
making us feel small and insignificent.
Or, as Jill Ker Conway says of an outback Australian horizon, ‘On the plains, the earth meets the sky in a sharp black line so regular that is seems as though drawn by a creator interested more in geometry…’ and where, ‘Human purposes are dwarfed by such a blank horizon.’
See here for more grand pictures…
Ker Conway, J. (1989). The Road from Coorain. William Heinemann Australia
‘Every moment of light and dark is a miracle’
says Walt Whitman…
and the spectacular transition
from dark to light never ceases to amaze…
Meanwhile, Dylan’s ‘big, fat moon’ is up there…
and like the owl and the pussy cat
in Edward Lear’s rollicking rhyme,
we can dance ‘by the light of the moon,
the moon, the moon…’
‘Light…’ also reminds me of Ezra Pound’s words:
Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hands.
But that’s another story….
For more ‘Let there be light’ entries, click here
Books and music:
Berg, R. (1984). Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussy Cat. Richmond Hill, Ontario: Scholastic.
Dylan, B. ‘I’ll be your baby tonight’, in Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
A bird on a wire: a colourful bird, on an ordinary electrical wire, on an ordinary suburban street – unlike Leonard Cohen’s ‘Bird on the wire” song of 1968.
But what bird is it?
Internet searches come up with ‘No result found’. I can’t insert information like ‘bird type’ or ‘common name ’ because I don’t know them. After viewing dozens of bird pictures, I cannot find this bird.
Fortunately, it stays on the wire for several minutes enabling me to keep clicking. Two more birds, just like this one, visit on nearby wires, but don’t stay long.
Aahh – nothing like a good wing and tail stretch…
and now, a head scratch.
“I missed that yellow butterfly,”
I whisper to my friend.
“Hey! Who are you?”
I shout to that intruder over there!
Any help in recognising this bird happily accepted!
And one more thing…. why does it have two feathers? strands? below the main tail?