Cavalia

Passion

For every little girl who dared to dream of that prince on a white stallion, or of flying free on the back of a galloping horse with her beautiful dress trailing in the wind; for every little boy who ran across open fields with a stick in his hand, dreaming of being an explorer or warrior, or who hid under the bed and lost himself in a storybook of romance and daring; for every lost or lonely child who imagined dancing to music that gave them wings, or whispering into the warm hide of their own horse, its curious breath blowing promises and secrets onto their neck……

This is for you….

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There’s a secret place inside each of us, hidden from the world, where every time we have a dream or entertain a heartfelt wish, or even feel a ray of hope or desire for that special something in life to kindle the spirit or arouse the heart, it gets stored away.  No matter how elusive or intangible, or how quickly our conditioning denies or rejects our secret hopes and dreams, this space inside us saves them to become part of our unwritten story.

Most of us are not even aware we do this or where we keep our dreams and wishes locked away.  Most have had them buried deep for too long, or darkened and dulled by pain, grief or stress and the tedious nature of our everyday lives.  As children we dip in and out of this inner treasure trove, a kaleidoscope of the imagination that our hearts know so well how to turn, yet sadly, by the time we reach adulthood, most of us have forgotten how to access that place or even that we ever had such a library of the soul’s joy.

But what if the key was found to unlock that collection of dreams that we have carried forever, and set them free to play?

What happens when you open your heart to release all of the dreams you had as a little girl or boy, together with the wishes you have collected along the way into adulthood….the moments that caused your heart to swell, your dreams to awaken, your spirit to rise up and remember?   And you paint these dreams and memories with colours and light, and set them free to dance to a drum beat and some music?

One word – Cavalia!

There on that stage – the passion, the dance, the music, the colour, and the very art and magic I inhaled, became the keys to unlock the true joy in every cell of my being  – and I exhaled my awakening in the form and grace of Equus.   When human hearts and horse hearts express themselves together, there is an alchemy that releases all the collective dreams of the human soul.   You cannot remain unmoved, you cannot be untouched when held in the vision of a horse.  The thunder of hooves, the beat of a drum, the rhythm of awakened heartbeats, weave together the cadence of life’s journey.  It was so simple and yet so powerfully effective.

As I stepped into the darkness of the tent, my heart quickened.  And fell in time with the drums…. And the lights played seductively across the stage and from the shadows the first horse appeared, with his rider…. And the door to my secret collection of every wish or dream I had ever known, blew wide open.

So I relinquished the world outside and its cares, and I became all I had ever dreamed ….

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I stared into a horse’s dark eyes, and became the dream.

I am the manes and tails flying, the eyes flashing and the galloping hooves; I am the beautiful woman in a flowing outfit, scarves and silks swirling, floating through the air, suspended in aerial grace; I am hanging precariously from my charging horse, hair wild in the breeze, freedom in every wave that ripples behind me, divine, feminine power surging before me…I am confident and I am loved …
I am entwined with equine majesty that lifts me high above all else; I am the strong, agile man, leaping onto my horse and smiling with humour as I guide my steed with firm hands and capricious manner…I am the warrior, the cowboy, the lover, the clown … I am the love letters blowing in the breeze behind dashing hooves, the chivalry, the honour … I am the romance, the spark, the passion that sails between hearts on an endless tide…

I am the music, the sweet high notes and the lows, the rise and fall, the longing, the heartsong reverberating in unspoken promises and long forgotten dreams…. I am the tenderness, the connection, the silent language of the spirit that is life’s gift to itself…  All this and more – I become, awakened and released from that dream sanctuary within.  I am the noble hearts of horses dancing with humans like an ancient rite of passage – and in all this, I reclaim what the unforgiving world has almost stolen from me. 

My inner Cavalia is illuminated.   Reflected soul deep in a horse’s eye … I rediscover who I am.

 

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Stories – Everyone has one, Everyone IS one….

Stories

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Life is a story, emerging, unfolding, evolving.

In the relentless hand of time

The words are written on the landscapes of our childhood

And flow beside our footprints ever after.

Words are not necessarily written on a page but etched into time… OUR time.   Our story, our time, nobody else’s.

They are the breaths we take, the moments we absorb, the thoughts and feelings we express and the awareness that we have for our existence, our being, our presence.

Each of us, is a book unwritten,

We are living stories, and these stories will remain long after our last breath fades…

More so because we have shared them with another.

But the existence of our story is real and valid, regardless of who else might get to hear it…..in fact, it exists because we do, and not because of anyone else who reads it.  We are both the writer and the reader.   No one else is required.

Really.

(but of course, while not necessary for us to write, the reader or listener does help to clarify or even justify our storytelling….. because we are after all, sharing beings….)

And where once we might have sat around a communal campfire with family and friends and told our stories by the firelight, today we sit alone before the glow of our computer screens and share our stories around a cyber campfire that extends to all corners of the world and directly unites and warms countless members of the human race.

Fire, Urban and Commercial development, Dieback, Disease and Climate Change

So today I had the grand privilege of being interviewed by a woman wishing to write my biography as part of her university degree.  It felt a little strange at first – “who am I to be written about for such an important project!” – then we began to talk about our experiences, recognizing a common thread within each other’s lives as well as the unique and colorful threads that entwined them and made them distinctly personal, and so the joy of sharing and chatting freely became the order of the day.  Then the concept of stories unfolding lay on the table between us like an open book, and a new chapter emerged along with the words and pictures of that evolving book.

It was both confronting and enlightening to try to describe my life – WHO I AM – to a stranger who had never met me before.   And to use those stories to explain my journey as an artist, to illuminate the meaning of my existence and the ongoing exploration of who I am and what I am here for, became as much, if not more, a gift to me, as it was a contribution to this lady’s work.

My childhood, the patterns that weave throughout my life….. while so unaware at the time, now with the clarity of hindsight, I see so clearly how these storylines are so strong and powerful and such  a part of who I am.   My love for nature, for animals, for Aboriginal and ancient culture, for writing, music and visual images……. These are the things that intrinsically define me, explain ME and place me firmly in this life – they are at the core of my being.   The patterns emerged during the interview, and became more clear through the telling to another.

If traditional culture, writing and imagery, as well as an affinity with nature, were my longitude, then my children, my relationships and my life lessons wove between them as the latitude that made up the dimensions of my world.

Marking my place in time and space at any given point in my journey, was simply a matter of searching out the coordinates of what was happening for me and the discoveries and joys I was immersed in.   A virtual GPS for my existence!  And today I got to explore, and remember and share some of those points and dimensions.

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A moment in the Tearooms….

“That was a nice welcome!” said the man who had just entered the tearooms with his wife.

“We always welcome everyone here,” said Brenda, “We laugh and shout and chat.”

“Have you seen our menu?” she added as they viewed the cake fridge.  “It’s out on the verandah….”

“Oh we’ll have to go back out to view it” said the customer.

“Well then,” laughed Brenda, “You’ll get another welcome when you walk back in!”

I love being in this place!

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Art on Display

4th april 2013

 

The quiche was very rich(e)

The frittata was a starter

But the Caesar salad was a little pallid

The egg and bacon pie was never shy

But I had a hunch about the ploughman’s lunch

The classic BLT would be tasty by the sea

And the leg ham and mustard sandwich

Would have done some damage

If I’d come from Putney I would have enjoyed the cheddar and chutney

But I skipped all that AND ATE THE CHOCOLATE CAKE!

Paul

Sorrento

 

We always look forward to our cosy little interludes at this very quaint little place.

Friendly faces

Fabulous food

We will return to the Old Post Office Café

Vin and Jude Dawes

9 april 2013

2 april 2013

Scones, jam and cream – excellent

Coffee and tea the same

Music even better.

Better than anything in Melbourne

Terry and Jenny (Phillip island Vic)

 

2 April 2013

The “Old Post Office”

What a find!

There we both stopped off and dined.

What a place to go and see

Great “Darjeeling” and a “tasty BLT”

We’ve far traveled and nothing did it lack,

Hope one day we can soon return back.

Most enjoyable

Jim and Isabel Laird

Hamilton, Scotland

 

 

5th april 2013

 

Very relaxing outlook – scones were delicious –

Could sit here all day and watch the world go by!

Ben and Pam (Perth)

Siblings Week Busselton 

9th April 2013

We came to Busselton to stay awhile

Let’s have ice coffee with a smile

Then along the jetty for a walk

Where we will laugh, joke and talk.

Brother John will be on his phone

Either with son Mat or wife Julie at home.

Sister Beth knows she is alive

Having a rest from her children, five.

The big sister – that is me

Always making a cup of tea

Waiting for Deb to arrive from Perth

Then we’ll be here as we were at birth.

John, Ruth, Deb and Beth

 

 

Story Week

10th April, 2013

Came to Busselton for a quiet break after babysitting 3 and 4 year old Grandchildren.

We are weary and need relaxation.

1st night I fell down some stairs, grazed arms, banged head, great start.

2nd day, pain and bruises in places I didn’t know I hit.  

Thanks so much to hubby for looking after me.

Give back the babysitting.

Sitting outside The Old Post Office enjoying a milkshake

And the cool breeze helps.

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Strawberries may come

And in jam they go

A coffee and love shared

Like the tides and life

Ebb and flow

A.S.

 

If you woke up in a bed today,

With a roof over your head and

Food in your fridge,

Then you are very lucky!

Maybe it’s time to think of someone in need!

How about putting a smile on someone else’s face today.

N.

Travelled all the way from Geraldton

To visit Busselton, to have nice sunny days.

So then to visit this nice lovely, inspiration, darly gorgeous café shop

Well worth the trip.

See you again

Tracey

A Place of My Own

Sweet!!!

SWEET!

As if it wasn’t sweet enough, the Old Post Office Tearooms just added a new dimension of interest ….
hmm……here’s a few lines to point you in the right direction…

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down……

You’ll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar…..

A wise woman puts a grain of sugar into everything she says to a man, and takes a grain of salt with everything he says to her.  (Helen Rowland)

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.  ~Jim Fiebig

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.  ~Judith Viorst

Frankly, I don’t trust any diet that doesn’t allow sugar .  (Bethenny Frankel)

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans. ”
― Ronald Reagan

“Really I don’t like human nature unless all candied over with art”
― Virginia Woolf, The Diary, Vol. 4: 1931-1935     (thanks Virginia, that one seems pretty apt for where the Tearooms is situated)

“Whoever thought a tiny candy bar should be called fun size was a moron.”
― Glenn Beck

(credits to the website  quotegarden.com  and goodreads.com for some of the above quotes, credit to my parents and my own memory for many of the others!)

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You’ve no doubt heard these lines before, but they sprang to  mind with the latest evolution of the Old Post Office Tearooms.    Brenda has taken a little of her own history and brought it to light in the tearooms, by opening an old fashioned “lolly shop”.

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The idea came about with this beautiful old photograph showing four generations of her family (Brenda is the baby in this image).   Her great-grandmother had a sweet shop back in Ireland, and the original scales from this shop are a treasured possession in Brenda’s own home.   Lovingly polished, they have now taken up pride of place in the new “lolly shop” (or should I say “Lolly Shoppe”) and are put to use weighing out the candy just as they were all those years ago.

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So who remembers all these old fashioned “lollies”?  ….the “Big Charlie” bubble gum sticks…?   Musk sticks?  (or “penny sticks”)…..  or Choo Choo bars?

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Just the sight of these old favourites takes me back to my primary school years….. I can remember the days we bought our lunches in town instead of having sandwiches from home.   Who remembers the old bakery next door to Busselton Primary?   Both are long buried beneath a big shopping centre these days.    We would take 20 cents for our lunch (yes, twenty cents!)    (today, some folk need $20 for their lunch in town!).   And with that 20c we could go to the bakery near the school and buy a meat pie, an apple pie, a soft drink AND still have a cent or two left over to buy lollies.   And for that meagre cent or two, you could get a whole bag full of  lollies like Brenda now sells!   A “five cent mixed bag” was a huge score, more sweets than one kid could eat in an afternoon, even if you did sneak them into your school desk and eat them when the teacher was not looking.

Oh I can still remember my best friend’s mum lecturing us…. “A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” … ha!   well I am not about to confess to you whether she was right or not but I am sure you have done the research for yourself.

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The more I take,

The more I leave behind…

What am I?

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For a special young possum named “Goo”

Her trip to WA was nearly through

Chardonnay, shiraz, cheddar and blue

And great company – yes it’s true!!!

Happy holidays

Beautiful spot

We enjoyed your pearcake and coffee

Lovely food, setting and set up!

Thanx (Table #2)

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Under water observatory

 

Under the waves that reflect the red and yellow light,

Only blue remains

Though hints of colours flash

On fish that dart by,

Curious eyes peeking into

The land above

Things that grow

On things that grow

On wood

Gaping mouths that filter

Tiny particles of life,

Currents warm and cold

Bring together friend and foe.

(Sarah Davies 24 april 2013)

To my sweet Valentine

If after all I have no hope

Send me back 8’ of rope!

Harry

(now there’s a sense of humour!)

Life is a vivid bouquet of colours

If you choose to use it

Life is like anything…

If you don’t use it

You lose it!

Sweet is the word of the week

As we eat and give Brenda cheek

We’ve tried it all

And can’t decide which is the favourite

So we will have to come back

And try gain to see which

Ones are sweet next week!

(Anne and Carol)

 

“Sweet”

As we sit here by the sea,

We think of something sweet.

A food to share amongst us three,

A lovely sugary treat.

 

As we ponder this our quest,

Our tummies start to rumble.

What would satisfy us bewst

Something that would crumble?

 

A little taste of something sweet

Like scones with jam and cream

This is the food we’ll buy and eat

Till bursting at the seams.

 

A drink we’ll have, to pass the time

Right here on “coffee street”

To while away our day sublime,

And dream of something sweet.

(Jasmin Watkins)

 

Yep!  Delight is a coffee at Brenda’s unique establishment – with or without company (that happens).

The welcome is always warm and the food out of this world!

Wot a treat!

JE  26/4/13

Windows … Do You Look? Or Do You See?

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“Church of My Father”

Colours bleed in

Painting the walls and souls

Of those who wait

In hope of redemption.

Humility sits with Patience

Steadfast, beneath windows

Lovingly created

By hands of man

For the glory of God.

Colour weeps softly on weary shoulders

And burdened souls,

Compressing the pain

Of implied imperfection

Between stone walls and

Ambiguous lines of ancient texts.

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Life pulsing reds

And the dignity of purple proudly

Adorn in folds the human suffering,

Anguish of the ages

Etched into glass faces,

That await absolution with certainty, in the

Vibrant shades of faith.

The greens flow with time,

And the blues sigh and whisper,

Muffled stories that

Speak still,

In reverent moments.

Hands wrung in hope,

Clasp for strength, pray for understanding,

Tithe the price, await the law…

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Gold towers in judgment

And looks down amidst the brown hues

Of a rod for a back

Or a place to kneel.

Cream and orange chastise

with tenderness

Where pink caresses with love and

The lure of forgiveness.

Reverence disguises

The fear of a Father’s wrath.

Pomp and circumstance

Rites and rituals,

The longing for understanding…

The burden of humanity…

The artist paints the journey of the soul

The martyr and the victim,

Bound by walls of stone

And hardwood frames,

Steepled ever upwards in search of the divine,

Like manmade hands in eternal prayer,

Fingers pointing away from the truth.

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“Church of My Mother”

Colours drift in

From all sides

And paint the space and souls of those

Who seek their own redemption.

Gaia dances with Time,

Artists enduring, through windows

Lovingly created

By the hands of God

For the glory of mankind.

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Colours rain on weary shoulders

And unchain the spirit,

Releasing pain

Illuminating perfection

In pools of vain prayers dissolving.

Beyond aspiration,

Understanding awaits,

With no walls,

No constraints, no expectations.

No words.

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The art of the seasons,

Unframed by doctrine,

Life giving reds, glory skies,

And purple sunsets flowing,

In folds of nature’s creation,

Where time forgives and heals

What man struggles to understand.

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Glass faces shatter and melt

Rigid no more,

Revealing moments of truth.

Green flows with life,

And the blues whisper and sigh,

On the breeze,

In stories that ripple across time,

The threads that weave a trembling horizon

Into a circle of belonging.

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Reverent moments offering

A glimpse through windows

Past and future.

Hands release and fall

Free at last to give and receive.

Gold lines the heart instead

Without judgment,

As earthly hues with feet commune

And invite knees and shoulders to rest.

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Cream and orange delight with tenderness

Where pink and crimson caress the senses,

With love and the realization that

Forgiveness

Is the gift you give yourself.

Reverence emerges from within

A Mother’s love – moments and magic

Music and vision – the gift of understanding.

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The artist paints the journey of the soul

Unbound by walls or lines,

Sans martyrs or victims,

Only seasons, ebb and flow…

A cathedral transparent and alive

Like an open heart,

Pulsing,

Breathing

Inviting, the tithe to creation

Our very breath

The communion, inhaled,

Flowing ever inwards to reconnect

With the divine.

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The poems above were inspired by some quiet time spent in a little local church, one of the oldest and most beautiful in the region, where the light flooded in through magnificent stained glass windows, telling stories of old and inspiring thoughts anew…… I could not help but compare the two churches in my life – one the traditional structured set of ideals that we are given from birth by those around us, and the other, an unlimited sacred space we discover in nature as we continue seeking along life’s journey….. two spaces where the colours and the truths emerge to annoint and liberate us ….  it’s a personal choice which church resonates within us…..

Perhaps it is all about the windows and how we “see” through them….

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“Seeing”

They were the eyes of the church

Like windows to the soul

Staring flat and dark and lifeless

No light within at all.

There was no invitation

No promise, warmth or grace

Just blank, unblinking windows

On a stony ancient face.

But still I felt a longing

To search and know some more

I breathed in deeply, then gave a sigh

Opened the old church door.

I stepped into a different world

A whole new point of view

For the cascades of incoming light

Painted stories in every hue.

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The windows that seem so empty

From the outside looking in

Held the most vibrant blaze of passion

That I had ever seen

This revelation of colour

When seen behind these eyes

Revealed a beauty that outsiders

Could never realize.

A rainbow wash illumines

This sacred alchemy

The light through stained glass windows

Awakens colours here in me.

I breathed in all the silence

Yet my heart could hear a choir

My spirit danced while my artist heart

Knew inspiration’s fire.

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I felt those ancient secrets

Whispered in the solemn air

Shifting from witness to belonging

Between the there and here.

Looking out through other’s windows

Might seem difficult to do

But I felt the gifts as I embraced

Another’s inner unique view.

I stand outside the old stone church

And gaze back at those eyes

Somehow a light glimmers within

A secret knowing, calm and wise,

And though the windows appear the same

Something has changed for me

The more I look through other’s eyes

The more that I can see.

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Communi-tea … Thoughts on Community

Community

–          “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common”

–          “the people of a district or country considered collectively, especially in the context of social values and responsibilities; society:”

–         “the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common”

(from the Oxford Online Dictionary)

Welcome

The past few weeks have brought the thought of “Community” to me.   What do you think of when you hear the word community?

Do you define community by your involvement in something, your immersion, participation, understanding, recognition, belonging?

Do you see Community as something distinct and separate to yourself, to be aspired to?   Is it possible this is due to a lack of connection, where your sense of place has you on the outside looking in, yourself a discrete entity who from the perspective of distance, can only witness, yearn for and hope for belonging?  Do you feel something within the concept of community that touches a chord within each of us, that intrinsic human need for “home”, for family, to belong?

Characters parade at Balingup Medieval Fair

Characters parade at Balingup Medieval Fair

 

I’ve thought a lot about this…. Communities are like circles…… we belong in some, we are outside of others, and many are overlapping or shared.   But all are there for our understanding and learning, about who we are as individuals and who WE are as human beings, …and as opportunities to reach higher or be better or more, or simply reach out and find the courage to share.  And all are created and driven by those who are a part of them.  A community is defined by the people it is made up of….

The idea of community is a powerful, much valued, but elusive quality.  Governments and Councillors cannot create, guide or legislate for it (though I personally think it should be a priority to promote and protect all aspects of “community” at any cost), corporations cannot buy, invent or generate it, no matter how crucial it might be for their fiscal wellbeing.   It starts with each individual and the connection they make with another.  It is not taught as a subject in schools, though some discerning establishments foster the spirit of community as a child or student’s first experience of what it means to belong and participate.   Like personal honour, and integrity, it is an intangible quality that no matter how subtle, we all aspire to it, yet there seems to be no value placed upon it by the shabby systems our societies dwell within, and no classrooms are dedicated to it – only the examples received in life and the gifts of our conscience.   A Community is a living breathing, evolving entity, greater than the sum of its parts, and yet only existing because of the individuals within it.

The Queen and King and their entourage enter the village...

The Queen and King and their entourage enter the village…

Many years ago, I went to the Balingup Medieval Festival for the first time.   I came away from the event with the most overwhelming sense of Community, to the point where I decided if there was one place in this state I wanted to live, it would be Balingup.  It was the Community spirit that danced and shone throughout that amazing event showing me what a group of people could do, when they worked together with passion and purpose.   The creativity and imagination that saw the town transformed into a medieval village, with lifesize jesters, colorful characters and icons around the streets, vibrant flags, bunting, real enactments of medieval ceremony and society, dragons, kings, queens, knights and fair ladies, created a sense of community beyond any I had seen, especially in the artistic sense.   For a town to come together with a common goal such as this event, captured my imagination and made me long to be a part of that.   To me, that is the lure of a true community.

However, I did not have to look too far from home to recognize a community that I am already a part of, one that offers many of the same qualities.   Here at the Artgeo complex, a thriving community of real people who share a creative spirit and pride in all that they offer, is already a circle I am grateful to be involved in.

ArtGeo Courthouse Gallery

ArtGeo Courthouse Gallery in Queen Street

For starters, you will find here, a sense of history entwined throughout the creative process and acknowledged openly.   Set in buildings that have played a critical role in this region since first settlement, initially as the local courthouse, police and gaol complex, then as a home for local artisans, buildings that hold many layers of stories from every angle of these human elements, you will also find the history of art for the region entrenched within these walls.  The Busselton Art Society, now over fifty years in the making, is rich with colour and stories and real people – generations of artists creating, sharing and teaching what they do with others.   On any given day, you can witness the women of all ages who turn up to paint and share a cup of tea with their peers, or the men who seek to share their woodturning skills, or those who volunteer to run the gallery and sell other artist’s works, or to help teach children’s art classes.  Many of these members of the art community have been doing this for over forty-five years and this is a primary part of their lives.  My Mother is one of them.   She has been a part of the Busselton Art Society for virtually all my life, and there was never a time when my image of “Mum” did not include the creative woman heading into town one or more times a week with her art supplies, her imagination and her generosity in helping others in the art rooms.  Women, people, like my Mum, form a part of the community that at times is neglected or overlooked, especially when a younger city planners or lawmakers alter landscapes, move parking or access away from the area and make life difficult for the Elders who are the backbone of this artistic family.   They should be treasured and cared for, not ignored or pushed aside in the rush for gentrification and image.   Then you will find a vibrant selection of artists, both professional and amateur, all who have stepped up to express themselves through their chosen mediums, contributing to society in subtle but essential ways through their diverse artistic statements.   New artists arrive regularly, shyly mustering the courage to offer their work for display and sale, or to enter exhibitions, and seasoned artists greet and welcome them, encouraging and inspiring them to follow their passion.  I have witnessed this first hand, the exchange of creative ideas and inspiration and encouragement, not to mention human friendship.  It is what makes Artgeo so very special and most deserving of the tag “community gallery”.

Passageway Past the Cells

Passageway Past the Cells

I remember the first times I entered the gallery with a view to share my work, and how it could have been a negative encounter that turned me away from my art, had the people there been different.  Instead, it was a positive and welcoming experience, one that made me feel accepted, gave me the courage to take my art to the next level and beyond.  And the community feel has always been enhanced by having those special people working behind the scenes, organizing, planning, promoting and hanging exhibitions, who know what it is to be an artist, who have art in their heart and recognize that the wellbeing of their fellow artists is a priority to the ongoing spirit of the complex.  These are the people who live, breathe and share art on a daily basis, another element of humanity that cannot be taught in universities, or gained from studying, but earned by a way of seeing life, a way of feeling, a way of being.   These people never criticize or crush new and emerging artists nor disrespect the older ones, they believe in inclusion, respect and acceptance, knowing art is something we all share, something beyond monetary value, something that connects us as human beings.  And their spirit rubs off on those they deal with constantly.  If you have had anything to do with Artgeo over the years you will know exactly the special people I am talking about…. these are the people who should be valued more highly than paid bureacrats, ego suited professionals or those who seek to create a high end image for the complex to the detriment of the real people within it; these are the people whose presence defines the true meaning of community…. and without such people, “community” would not exist.

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Main Gallery during my solo exhibition – Cinefest Oz

Nothing epitomizes this more than the little tearooms where I come to sit and write each week.   It is a smaller community in the heart of the larger one at Artgeo.   Here creativity is expressed through the baking and preparation of real food to sustain and nourish real people. Visitors to this little café are treated as guests in a family home.  Brenda greets them all and welcomes them to her “kitchen” as do her specially chosen staff.  There is chat and banter and smiles and always the offer of kindness.  It is as guaranteed as the garnish or rose petals on the side of the plate.  And the team in Brenda’s kitchen deliver heartfelt food and goodwill first and foremost to all who enter this community.   Behind the scenes, the energy of this little café extends over into everyday lives, just as it does within the Artgeo community.   Many who have walked into the café with a sadness, or an emptiness or a longing, walk out fulfilled, and I don’t just mean in the belly sense!  Brenda makes sure that volunteers at the gallery are always offered a free cup of tea or coffee for their time spent helping, something she does of her own generosity and as a contribution to the family feel of the place.     It is a kindness, simple and pure, a gift of the heart, to keep the human element alive, and this symbolizes the community feel that emanates from The Old Post Office Tearooms and the wonderful lady at its centre.

Quiche Smiles

These are rare qualities that are not found in many people or places any more…. they most certainly should not just be found in historic places as a symbol of how it once was or a tribute to the past!   These are qualities that must be protected and enhanced, in all areas of life.  The aspects of kindness, generosity of spirit, creativity and acceptance should be part of every community so that the members can drink freely and be inspired to perpetuate those qualities.

(from the notebooks on Cafe tables…)

Seventh of march, two thousand and thirteen

As I sit back I remember when expression was not limited by lines of ink or fountain pen.  My mind then charts across the ocean my vessel upon which I search for my perpetual Ondine.  There where I sit and the blessed easterly winds blow warm doth do I find the girl of my heart and mind, my faithful Ondine.

(Anon of the Oceans)

School visit mum

Visit over and done,

now for something in my tum!

Take one day at a time

Especially when the weather is sublime

Sit, sip some tea

Never forget to absorb what you see

Remembering that every moment counts

Enjoy eating your cake in small amounts

Talk to friends in the community

You will reap the rewards, just wait and see.

 

13th march 2013

Lovely food

Beautiful crockery

Excellent service

What more could you ask for in Busselton

And the music tops it off

Thank you

Lorna, Alma Heath

 


 

Close to the sea

On

Main street

Making the most of our day

Using our talent to enjoy

Nectar of caramel and pear and rose

Infusion of tea

The word of the week – community

Yes we will return to try again

 

 

I will grow old but never lose life’s zest

Because the road’s last turn

Will be the best  (Henry van dyke)

 

Never make anyone unhappy

Only when you say goodbye

June J

A Place of My Own

Communi-TEA or Coffee?

Birthdays

coffee

After a long silence and many Café Poet months, or should that be Wendy’s word-Wednesdays at the Old Post Office Tearooms, it is time to restore the blog and get some new stories and poems happening….

It is full speed ahead at the café, bigger and brighter than ever, with an extended menu, many new faces, and a few regular favourite ones….. but the theme of lovingly prepared fare from Brenda’s heart and home, amidst the vintage surrounds of the tearooms, set in this beautiful old courthouse building with artistic and historic energy rippling all around, is as unique and true as ever.

This year I decided to have a “word of the week” theme…. The word will be written on the Café blackboard, hopefully inspiring the café patrons to pick up those pens on the table and start creating thoughts, poems or images in the little notebooks provided.  Whatever creative crumbs, written or otherwise, I find in those tabletop notebooks, I will share here on this blog.

I started rather selfishly with a word that held meaning for me, on my first Café Poet Wednesday this year.   It had been my birthday the day before and that inspired me to write about it.

So the word of the week was “Birthdays” and while most patrons ignored it, there were a few mentions….  And my inspiration was drawn on memories and thoughts of my own particular natal anniversary.

The Friendly Team at The Old Post Office Tearooms

The Friendly Team at The Old Post Office Tearooms

It’s my birthday and today – anything is possible.

Today is the anniversary of my beginning, my breaking forth and gasping that first breath of this air we all share….. and today I will symbolically repeat that fresh start, knowing full well, that just as I emerged all those years ago with a blank canvas upon which to paint anything my heart desired, today I still have that potential to paint my masterpiece, afresh, regardless of all the lines, smudges and marks, and the colours and stories that have already been etched across it.   They may not be erased but they are the primer, the foundation, for today’s new creation.

Today it begins.  At least, that is how I see it.

Is it a personal thing to secretly look forward to and at the same time dread your birthday?   Is there a remnant of childhood that embeds a certain excitement in the days or hours before a birthday, where you feel that anything is possible because that day is yours, all yours.   Did your childhood lace your idea of birthdays with such expectation that the conditioned response is to look forward to what the day holds for you?  What are your memories of birthdays gone by?  Did your family treat you more special on your birthday, did you allow yourself to accept more, love yourself more, celebrate what you like about yourself and your life more so that over time, the approach to your natal day rekindled those positive feelings?

Do you, like me, have memories of family gatherings, special presents or hidden surprises, smiling faces, the easing of sibling rivalry for just one day, candles on cakes, the excitement of planning a party in your own honour?  I remember the traditional “birthday calls” on the local radio…. Where unbeknown to me, my Mum would phone in my details so that the on the morning of a birthday, while we were getting ready for school with the radio playing in the background, the announcer would suddenly be telling the airwaves that it was some lucky person’s birthday and if they went to look under their bed, or in  a certain place, they would find a big surprise.   I loved hearing my name mentioned, as if I was famous for the day, though have to confess the frustration at hearing “today is Wendy Flea’s birthday!”.   You guessed it, no matter how hard my Mum tried, over the phone, Slee obviously sounded like “Flea” to the faceless person at the radio station, and more often than not, got written down wrong.   Oh yeah, there were a few tears back in my younger days, when I felt they had cheated the real Wendy Slee out of her birthday by that slip of the tongue!

I found an old diary some time ago, from when I was 11, and read in the pages the lead up to my 12th birthday… the planning, the invitations, the friends I would invite, the handing out of invitations and the crowded school bus on that exciting afternoon…. The sight of the kitchen table filled with party food, made by my Mum with such love – the cupcakes, the little red sausages doused in tomato sauce, the sausage rolls and home-made cake, along with the rustle of paper and laughter and surprises, and the crazy games that no longer get a mention in today’s generation – drop the hanky (oh dear, how old does that make me!), pass the parcel,  blind man’s bluff, pin the tail on the donkey, and good old hide and seek, farm style with the advantage of all those amazing places a farm can offer as hiding places…. As well as those intense moments when candles got blown out and many voices sang your name and you cringed or blushed but secretly loved every moment of it!   At the time I read this old diary, my youngest daughter was about to turn twelve and the irony was not lost on me – how some things have changed so much, but other things remain steadfast and the same.

Alternately, did your upbringing burden you with a residue of numbness because birthdays were not celebrated or even remembered, and you were certainly not allowed to feel special because of them?  Were birthdays thereafter denied because of the hollow absence of any joy or acknowledgement of you attached to them, a feeling to be avoided at all cost?   One of my greatest sorrows is to hear or know of some one, whose birthday is spent alone and unacknowledged, especially a child.   For that is almost like saying their existence is not worth celebrating.  Unless of course, they have arrived at the fact that their existence is their own responsibility to honour and observe, an awareness that often arrives too late for many.   Overwhelmingly, when children grow up without knowing the cause for celebration is their arrival in this life, that is both a tragedy and a challenge – a huge lesson set for them right from the beginning of their journey.   Will they believe in themselves enough to rise above that denial of their birthday and learn to celebrate themselves? Or will they succumb to a lifetime of unworthy beliefs or lack of self love?

Is there a element of our conditioning that also overshadows that day with expectation and a tinge of fear, as the years are marked in their passing and we are reminded that instead of just one day older, we are one year older?   Do we run a quick comparison of where we were the year before, or where we hoped we would be, one year from now, and berate or chastise ourselves and our existence because we fall short?  Do we look in that wretched mirror for signs that we are okay and find only things to fault or mourn?   There should be a rule that on birthdays, at the very least, no one is allowed to look into any mirror but they eyes of those who love them.

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Do we fear that our birthday might go uncelebrated?  Or that we might spend it alone?  And just what is it about being alone that truly scares us?  Do we relive other sadnesses, or losses or grief that the day might evoke or accentuate?   Do we try so hard to avoid the responsiblity for our own happiness, striving to ignore the reality that we are both the celebrator and the celebratee of our own anniversary and the reality that our birthdays start and end with ourself.   It is up to us to choose how we will face this natal anniversary and how we allow it to shape our day, our year ahead and our being.

cover for marie s

3 march 2013

This has to be the best tea-room I have been to (and we have traveled extensively in Australia, New Zealand, America …)

The attention to detail is second to none – the home-cooked foods, tea cups, milk bottles, sprigs of lavender and the friendliness of the owner ….

A world away from mass production!!  Thank you

Peta and Jack (UK)

One slice of Banoffi pie, two forks,

To share, or so I thought

I took a mouthful, reconsidered

And had to eat the lot!

Irene  3/3/2013

I love it here – it’s the best tearoom!

Are you allowed to have birthday parties here?

6/3/2013

It’s a place to sit and ponder about life’s wonders

Just sit back and let your mind wander

The surrounds of our beautiful town.

There is so much to see and do in Busselton,

Have a wonderful day – keep smiling  🙂

Coffee, toffee,

Yummy in my tummy!

Rumble, tumble

High – fly – whee!!

Birthday – NO!

No more aging,

No more wrinkles,

No more aches…

Just coffee for me – wheee!

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1/3/2013

Who needs birthdays

To celebrate

The Old Post Office

Is born again

Into a new café.

Homemade cakes in the counter

Cup cake pics on the walls

Scrumptious “light as a feather” frittatas and quiches

Not hard to enjoy at all!

 

We had soup in a teapot

Once when the place was all full

No more bowls left but lots of teapots!

Teapots for doorstops

A versatile innovation

There’s fun and creative

Happy and kind people here,

You’re an inspiration!

Janelle Pollock

Not About Birthdays!

There was a little daschund

Who had so little notion

How long it took to notify

His tail of his emotion

And so it was with eyes so

Full of woe and sadness

His little tail went wagging on

Because of previous gladness

1/3/2013

(this is not an original poem but it IS fun!)

2/3/2013

I was driving to the jetty.

My eyes flashed on the outside tables for guests.

I saw the best ever plate that had scones with strawberry, cream and jam.

I stopped at a parking (space) and ordered.

My wife’s reaction – Oh my goodness!

This is a treat.  Thanks guys – you are great

(Darren and Lorraine)

The Temptress

Little café

How tempting you are

Scones, cream, jam and even pink rose petals

To feast the eyes.

On a diet

NO!

It was the “Adam” this time

That made me give in to temptation

And here I am.

Little Eve

Feasting at the table

To feed my desires

Who can resist

The look and the taste

Have fulfilled my desires

Mostly those of the eyes

Lorraine 2 march 2013

ArtGeo Courthouse Gallery

ArtGeo Courthouse Gallery in Queen Street

Art precinct

Orange, red, pink, purple,

Squares, circles, dots, dashes,

Soul of an artist

Dreams treading the boards

Creative spirits abound,

Here in the heart of town.

Summer Days – The Old Post Office

Time’s hurrying but has stopped for a while

Beside the post, beside the pier

And then I had some tea in style

As I, with you, sat here

(Stanton,  Qld)  5/3/2013

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Birthdays are our “first days”

Our first day here was like a birthday, and every subsequent visit is just like our first.

Karen and Des

My birthday this year, when asked by others how it was, became difficult to describe because of the expectations placed upon such days.  It did not go as planned, or even as I had hoped, but it was a day none the less that I would not have missed for the world.

You see, my birthday this year was full of hidden blessings.  The challenge was to find them.   Once the kids got on the school bus, I spent the day alone.   Initially in the early morning rush, they both forgot it was my birthday but before they left, I got the best hugs – the kind of hugs a Mother stores up in her heart to sustain her forever.  No one had called me with plans to meet for a meal or a coffee as it was a week day and people were understandably busy.  I was too broke to go out for the day and sit in a nice café or restaurant so that was out of the question even though these days I am more than happy to take myself “out” for a meal or drink and enjoy the solitude for creating or reading.    My pain levels were high, the fuel tank in both the car and the body, was on empty,  and so going for a drive out into nature was not an option either.  I had housework to do as guests were coming over the weekend, so I spent the day vacuuming, dusting, mopping, sorting out the usual crap that accumulates in my home without an extra effort from me, and digging out the septic drain to unblock the old toilet.   Nice one huh?  That evoked a warped smile at the joys of living in an old farmhouse.

I decided I would cook and share dinner at Mum and Dad’s house for everyone so I made sausage rolls and a desert for my extended family. My Mother, who had suggested we all have tea together, had been delayed in town, was not well (which was concerning for me) and could not get home in time, so I ran around getting things ready for everyone at her house, and even ended up doing all the dishes afterwards.   Not for one moment did I sit down and have someone wait on me.   So yes, you could say I had a fairly uneventful if not, a potentially “I feel sorry for me” birthday.

But….
But here’s the thing.   I would not have missed out on those hidden blessings for anything…   Even with the stench of the septic drain, the heat and humidity of the end of summer, the sweat of housework, the empty hours of my day, or the exhausting final hour doing dishes before falling into bed or the nerve pain that dogs my every moment.    I have never felt more grateful for being alive.

During the morning, I heard the slow putt-putt-putt of the motorbike which meant only one thing….my dear old Dad was driving down the hill to my house.  At 83, he is not able to walk much, but he can hop on that bike and get around the farm.   And he stopped out in the front driveway, unable to get off the bike but wielding a bouquet of flowers from my Mother’s garden and a birthday card.  It was a beautiful moment because I know that I won’t always have my Dad around to visit my home at anytime, let alone, on my birthday and the sound of his old motorbike will one day only be in my memories … nor will I have my Mum to pick me a bunch of flowers from the garden she creates with love, and has done every day of her life.   These were treasured moments indeed.  And I had a few phone calls and the space to sit and enjoy them, friends from all parts of the world, not necessarily aware it was my birthday, just having perfect timing and calling on the right day.   Then, without leaving my house, I had a barrage of lovely wishes on facebook, and whatever you believe about the internet or social networking sites, I can assure you that energy and intent is very real and the wonderful vibes I received all day from around the world gave me a lift and buzz that was tangible…. And lasting!   It was like a solid wall of kindness and positive thoughts that I could sense in the air around me.

During the day, Laura had insisted on coming home to be with me for my birthday.   It is not always easy to have my special needs daughter around as she never relaxes or stops talking and constantly needs attention.  But she has a heart of gold, this special daughter of mine and I love that she wanted to be here with me, no matter how we might juggle things to fit.   Her ability to find the celebration in the mundane, was a gift I truly wish I could emulate, and her words “this has been the best day of my life!” – a common catch-cry throughout her life, held great significance this day, a reminder about making it count, living in the moment.   I missed my oldest daughter’s presence too, as she lives away and was working, but her early morning phone call was a special treat – our conversations are always heartfelt.

Then I had the dinner with my family….my Mum and Dad, my sister, my brother and sister-in-law, my niece, and three of my four kids.   And I got to offer something to them.  Which for me, is always a bonus.   It was special to be together like that.  It may not sound it, especially when you consider we all live here on the same farm, and can see each other any day, but somehow, for me, I sensed that the times when we could gather like this are numbered, and it would not always be this way – there will come a time when I look back on these gatherings with longing in my heart and only memories around me.   SO I soaked up every lovely part of having family surround me.   And my Mum brought me a cake, as she has done (or baked herself) nearly every year of my life, and upon it placed a candle, so that we could relive birthdays of old, with a puff and a chorus of mismatched voices and a whole lot of laughter.  Add to that, the antics of my two youngest children, who know how to entertain, and I know that in years to come, these memories, this day, will be so precious and cherished, even more so than now.

So weary, I was in tears at the end of the day, because there is always a small voice that tries to sabotage joy.   And that voice sneaks in with exhaustion or pain as the open window that beckons it in.   I thought of things I missed, elements in life I did not have, people I have lost, the pain my body constantly feels and my inability to do the things I long to.   The overbearing feeling of “age” weighing me down….. But then I stood outside in the night air and knew that I was happier, and more blessed than anyone else I know, because I was right here, right now and fully aware.   I could breathe in that cool air, and feel that breeze on my face, a relief after the heat of a summer’s day.   I could feel the Earth beneath my feet and the almost silent symphony of nature around me.   I could taste the rain that would come in the days after my birthday, that sweet perfume of a grateful Earth embracing the essence of life as it came home to start another cycle.   I knew that the people I loved were asleep in their beds, and they were safe and well, here with me.   And those I had lost, I felt them nearby, not so distant at all, just a thought or memory away.  The nightbirds called and sang, and the music in my heart echoed back.  I took some photos and there in the sky the orbs gathered like brightly coloured balloons, more and more as I stood quietly, as if they were drawn to my presence.  It appeared like a cosmic celebration.  I was grateful for the simple awareness that there is more to this universe than our 3D minds can imagine…..and that my mind was wide open to the possibilities, not narrow or closed.   And I knew, that if I was dead tomorrow, I would miss all of these things and so much more.

orbs l

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By the time I walked back inside, even though on feet that were in so much pain I could barely stand, my heart was full… so very full.
So I celebrated my birth, and my rebirth, and the end of the old and the beginning of the new…and made a plan that every day, in the guise of an “unbirthday” would be the fresh start and the celebration of my life, just as this day had been.