The summer solstice has come and gone and as the days grow shorter our usual hot summer stretches ahead. What has become of the dreaded el Nino? We were led to believe that a big one was lurking just around the corner. Instead of experiencing a dry season we have been blest with bountiful, early summer rain.
Our surrounding bush land is thriving. Gone are all the pale green tips of new life growth. Instead, rich shades of viridescent green appear everywhere as the rain continues to fall and nourish the land.
What does appear different this year is the quality of the light. It seems to be clearer, brighter, and so intense that colours everywhere pop and sizzle. When I enter our home after time spent in the sunshine, my eyes take longer to adjust to the darker light inside. Is it only me that experiences this new phenomenon, or do others notice it too?
In the meantime nature is always filled with surprises, so expect the unexpected during this cool, wet summer. The view of our landscape signifies rest, regeneration and regrowth, and we can’t think of a better place to enjoy a coffee than from our back veranda.
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To see the world in a grain of sand,
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
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Posted in Nature, tagged flash fiction, travel on April 9, 2016|
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From time to time I will publish a piece of flash fiction on my web. Enjoy the following short story. Next blog post on Wednesday, April 20th.
‘This has been an absolute bugger of a weekend! Thirty-six hours without sleep, two days of tough negotiations and still no contract. Then I stupidly dropped my glasses down a flight of concrete stairs. When I collected them at the bottom, the frame was hopelessly bent and one lens was smashed. So here I am now—stumbling around—only able to see a metre in front of my face. Well at least I can go home and catch up on some sleep,’ I complained aloud.
Peter Bolcombe made his way to the airport departure desk, squinting as his suitcase moved safely through the check-out. Next he secured his boarding pass in his back pocket. Now his biggest problem was finding the correct departure gate; not a simple task when you can’t see very well. He walked for a long time trying in vain to find his way. ‘I’ve come too far or maybe taken a wrong turn. Better ask someone for help,’ Peter whispered to himself. Just then a small motorized travel buggy swerved out of his path.
‘Hey there, I almost hit you,’ called out an unfamiliar voice. ‘Watch out where you’re going!’
‘Sorry!’ Peter called back. ‘I’m travelling to Oakland, but I’m nearly blind and I think I’m lost.’
‘You’re in the wrong terminal,’ the driver answered. ‘You want the building beyond this one. I’m going that way so get in. I’ll drive you down there.’
Peter breathed a sigh of relief, but the driver sounded worried as he said, ‘I think your plane may have left. Let me call in and see if we can still make it.’ After a short, excited conversation he turned to Peter.
‘Buddy, you’re in luck. The plane was ready to go but they are holding it for you. I told them you were cleared for take-off and you are partially blind. They’ll have a wheelchair at the ready. As soon as you get aboard you’ll be off and in the air.’
‘Am I glad I met you,’ Peter answered. ‘Thanks so much for this.’
‘Not a problem. Take care and have a good trip.’
Moments later Peter was wheeled into a huge plane then strapped into his seat. His relief was so great he immediately began to relax, to doze and suddenly he dropped blissfully into the arms of Morpheus―deeply, totally and soundly asleep.
When Peter awoke everything seemed very strange. The entire plane was in darkness. All the passengers were wrapped in blankets, sound asleep. His Oakland flight should have taken only a few hours, but here on board it appeared to be very late at night. He caught sight of a stewardess and waved her over to him.
‘I’m confused,’ he whispered. ‘Where are we?’
‘We’ve just passed over the Fiji Islands and our pilot has changed now to his southerly flight pattern,’ she replied. ‘You’ve been sleeping soundly for nine hours. We couldn’t even wake you to check your boarding pass or to serve your dinner.’
‘Miss, I think I’ve boarded the wrong plane. I was travelling to my home in Oakland, California.’
‘Oh Mr. Bolcombe, I don’t know how to tell you this, but the plane we’re travelling on is heading for Auckland, New Zealand. We’ll be arriving there in another four hours.’
Peter spent the next few minutes in a complete daze. First he moved into denial and then a deep and terrible shock set in. Stunned and shaking he said aloud to himself, ‘Well here I am now, halfway around the world without my glasses, a ticket, my luggage, or a passport. This has been an absolute bugger of a weekend!’
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The Twelve Apostles – oh, what a view!
From a vantage point high on the coastal cliffs, Australia’s Great Southern Ocean stretches away. As the ocean heaves, it smashes mighty white capped waves against the limestone cliffs. A fierce wind, straight from the Antarctic continent, carved these cliffs into razor sharp formations. Centuries of strong gales have sculpted weathered inlets, small islands, and archways that frame amazing views of the turbulent sea. To my left, a rolling bank of dark clouds announces the arrival of a coastal scud. This sudden, localized storm sheds grey curtains of rain that blend the sea and sky into a pewter coloured horizon. The water-washed sky above the cliffs offers no relief either, as it may be days before the warmth of the sun can lift the heart again.
Above this coastal drama, the Great Ocean Road—a two lane highway—threads its way along the Victorian cliffs. Stretching from Port Fairy in the west to Moonlight Heads in the east, a strip of beach known by all as the Shipwreck Coast, meanders below. The wreckage of some two hundred ships rest here beneath the waves. Dense fog, strong gales, high seas, human error, and even foul play, have caused the destruction of these vessels. Sadly only a few survivors lived to tell their stories.
To the east of the Loch Ard Gorge a group of famous limestone stacks appear—the Twelve Apostles. Carved into grotesque shapes, they stand offshore in the pounding waves. These magnificent structures were formed when the raging sea undermined the soft sand and wet limestone foundations. One by one they separated from the cliffs only to shrink and finally collapse. Once there were twelve of these grand vertical structures until erosion, the elements, and passing time, reduced their number to eight.
Here in the wild heart of the coast, tourists travelling down the Great Ocean Road toward Port Campbell can follow the Historic Shipwreck Trail. This has been marked by twenty-five signposts of the best known wrecks where deadly weather, strong seas and a rock-lined shore created a perilous journey. Even the early Australian explorer, Matthew Flinders, has declared, “I have seldom seen a more fearful section of coastline than this.”
If you have not visited the Shipwreck Coast yet, put it on your bucket list. Once this magnificent scene is viewed it will never be forgotten.
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