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Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Whenever the yen for discovery returns, it is time to pack a picnic lunch and be off for the day. Not for us—the freeways with their endless lines of speeding traffic and sterile scenery. Instead we head for the back roads and byways, where many surprises are found.

Our own slice of heaven lies in the small semi-rural village of Samford. Situated in Queensland’s beautiful Samford Valley, its surrounding lush green meadows, rolling hills, two state forests and the majestic North Pine River, are offset by a counterpoint of four mountains, part of the D’Aguilar Range. High in the hills of remote Upper Wight’s Mountain Road rests an early treasure, Queensland’s last remaining Aboriginal bora ring. Thankfully this has been gazetted as a reserve, and the Queensland University’s Anthropology Section has accepted nomination as its trustee. The ring is maintained by the local Rotary Club.

Prior to European settlement, the Samford Valley and Pine Rivers area was home to a number of Aboriginal clans. These all belonged to the Turrbul, Kabi and Wakka language groups. The basic unit of Aboriginal society was a self governing clan of about 70 persons.  All were responsible for their own homeland. Their ties to the land were unique as they believed that each one belonged to their land—not the land to them. A tribe included several clans, all sharing a distinctive ceremonial and a common dialect.

The Samford Bora Grounds comprise a large man made ring 26m in diameter, enclosed by a raised earthen mound. From this central ring a sunken path, 700m long and known as the Sacred Way, is linked to a second smaller ring. The rings were dug out by hand with sharp sticks and stone tomahawks and the earth was carried on sheets of bark to the outer mound. Women took part in the ceremonies at the large ring but were forbidden to walk beyond it. If this law was disobeyed, the woman’s penalty was death.

In the ceremonial bora rings, neighbouring tribes gathered regularly to celebrate and perform important tribal rituals. At the Samford Bora Ground the boys, age 12 to 15 were transformed into young men—Kippas. Their noses were pierced with a small sharp spear and then plugged. The boys received tribal body paint markings and were given new names. This ceremony lasted for several weeks and marked their official graduation into manhood.

The Samford Bora Grounds were last used by the Aboriginal clans in the 1870s when the Wight family, living on the next ridge, heard their corroborees. Occasionally we still visit the large central ring as this is the only section now being cared for. Here a deep quiet always lingers, and I experience an eerie feeling when I stop to reflect here. Thankfully this archaeological site still exists to remind and surprise us of our rich, Aboriginal cultural heritage.

 

 

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“The earth has music
for those who will listen.”

~ George Santayana

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blue-corn-flower
(a corn flower, also known as the bachelor’s button)

At last, its finally arrived! Our long awaited spring has blest us with sun-drenched days, and a cacophony of bright blooms decorating gardens, shrubs and trees everywhere. While meeting with friends at a garden centre cafe, we exclaim over the palette of yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and white blossoms on display. Then one of us poses a question that makes everyone stop and think. ‘Why are there so few blue flowers here? Is it because nature doesn’t produce them?’

I venture a reply. ‘There are many blue flowers available for the garden from deep royale blue to a pale pastel blue. Do a Google search for “blue flowers” and you’ll be surprised at what’s on show.’

Below I have listed several blue flowers I really love. They include the blue hydrangea, the morning glory, the statice, and the iris.

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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blue-iris

Last but not least is my very favourite blue flower, the Himalayan Blue Poppy. Once you have seen it, you will never forget its heavenly shade of blue.

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sparks-outside-book-cover

Hello Friends, Readers and Writers,

The Amazon kindle store has just published my book, Sparks. This is the final book that I will be writing. Its contents include thirty six pages of short stories in the genres of flash and micro fiction. 

   What can one say when writing flash fiction (1,000 words or fewer) or micro fiction (500 words or fewer)? Sparks presents a collection of short stories in which five different themes are explored: relationships, the arts, nature, the seasons and travel.  To add variety, several pieces of non-fiction have also been included.

    Flash and micro fiction has been written and read for many ages. Access to the internet has also enhanced our awareness of this genre through numerous online journals, devoted entirely to the style. Its brevity makes it easy to download flash fiction into your computer, electronic reader or smart phone.

To purchase a copy of Sparks, visit either of the links below.

Australia: https://amazon.com.au/dp/B01L3G2H3M

the USA: https://amazon.com/dp/B01L3G2H3M

I hope you will enjoy reading these short shots during your moments of free time.

 

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Several  years ago I experienced the pleasure of participating in a 3 week workshop. The program featured Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. This art form involves so much more than simply putting flowers in a vase as it is steeped in the philosophy of developing a love of nature while working in a meditative way.

Ikebana, GGC, 2

Ikebana is finally being acknowledged as a form of fine art as it qualifies in the same sense that painting and sculpture do. This practice has a long recorded history; it is supported by articulate theories and is concerned with aesthetics and creativity. In my search for the workshop, the only place it was  offered was at the Brisbane Institute of Art.

 Ikebana, GGC

Ikebana unfolds in its creative process within certain rules of construction. Its materials are living branches, leaves, grasses and blossoms. At its heart lies the beauty resulting from colour combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the meaning within the total form of the arrangement. It is disciplined, refined, uncluttered  and fulfills the dictum that ‘less is more.’ And what a joy it is to work creatively with living forms of nature.

 

File written by Adobe Photoshop? 4.0

Mary IkebanaWorkshop, 4

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Native floral image 1

Although our late winter landscape may appear barren, the first new buds are beginning to appear. Trees, shrubs and flower stems are slowly shrugging off their winter blues, just waiting for the life-giving spring rain and warmer days to carry us all into a new season. But what can we do when neither a flower nor a bloom has awakened to spread its scent and colour throughout our homes?

Search no further than the magnificent spread of foliage that is always available and can look stunning when arranged artistically in a container. The early new leaf colour of the eucalypt, arrayed in bright red will eventually darken to become its olive green leaf , yet a single branch, displaying all its colours, creates a beautiful table decoration.

Native floral image 4

Stones, timber pieces, gum nuts and pine cones combine well with native plants to create a pot-pourri of textures and colours. Even something as simple as a collection of leaves and branches from the same tree, arranged in a striking vase, can lift the decor of a room. Many of my nature-loving friends carry garden secatures in their cars, to harvest the interesting greenery growing near the roadside. There is often great beauty in these plants that generally remain unnoticed, bypassed or unloved.

While we wait patiently for spring flowers to appear, nature still provides the materials with which to create an attractively decorated home. Branches and leaves displayed together in unusual containers also ‘do the trick,’ so head outside and become a creative foliage collector.

Natural foliage cropped

Next blog post entered on 2nd September.

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Bark and leaves

This tree may have been planted as early as 1917 when the first settlers arrived in Samford Village. A beautiful, very old eucalyptus tree, Eucalyptus mellidora, stood in the bottom corner of our land, bordering the street near our mailbox. It had a large trunk and many branches, always covered with shards of hanging, paper-like bark. Its dark green leaves were long and slender—typical of all eucalyptus foliage.

Eucalyptus mellidora

When our tree blossomed, short bristles of white stamens erupted from its green seed bulbs. It was an amazing sight when white garlands festooned the entire tree. In its prime the magnificent canopy must have been very large,  but when the overhead power lines were installed along the street its crown was deemed to be, ‘too high.’ Off went its entire canopy, leaving this mighty tree wearing what appeared to be a crew cut. With the passing of time more and more branches were trimmed away until the original form of the tree had been completely altered. By the time we purchased the property, our tree resembled a  wounded and shapeless warrior – one still clinging tenaciously to life.

Marked for death

During this past year a neighbour informed us that he had reported our tree to the local council. “Could be dangerous, as when I back my car out onto the street someone might hit me because they couldn’t see me. It won’t be long now until the thing is gone.” Several days later my heart sank at the discovery of a large, blood red circle painted on its trunk. Our proud, wounded warrior had been officially marked for execution.

It didn’t take long for the council trucks to arrive, to hear the the chain saws gnaw into its main trunk, and to watch the branches being sheared away as all was fed into the hungry maw of a wood-chipping machine. Whenever we collect the mail or leave home, passing the space where a once-proud eucalyptus tree had grown, all that remains is its stump. It still leaves a pang of loneliness.

Tree stump for the blog

I miss my tree.

From now on I will be publishing one blog post every two weeks. The next post will appear on August 19th.

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