Wishing you and yours a
Very Merry Christmas!
If you're at home and in lockdown, or ill, or unable to connect with loved ones please know that I'm thinking of you.
|The King Parrots always remind me of Christmas|
The Alice Springs Desert Park is a fantastic 'zoo' experience. It's spread out across quite a space, but has gorgeous, well-maintained walking tracks, lots of native 'scrub' and lots of information. There are a lot of bird aviaries, a nocturnal house, lots of other critters to see, and zookeeper chats.
We went in the afternoon when it was 42C and the woman at the entry tried to talk us out of paying our entry, and coming back the next day when it was cooler. But it was day 1 and Mr E was still in go-go-go mode, we had plenty of water, we have been used to the heat, so we went in. We were the only people in the park, aside from staff, and I'm pretty sure they watched us on CCTV to make sure we didn't die! The woman who let us in, met us as we were leaving (like, joined us for the last stretch before the exit)!
One of the joys of the bird aviaries was that they had a really light mist fall at random intervals and there was plenty of natural and man-made shade for the birds.
Another aspect was that with no other people, and it being so hot, the birds sat pretty still!
So here are some pics:
(I'm missing some IDs - I'll try to fill them in later on)
|Red-tailed Black Cockatoos|
|A variety of birds, including budgies|
|Australasian Grebe (I thought it was fake!)|
|A bunch of zebra finches|
|Western Bower bird (with pink blotch on back of head - that's real)|
|Port Lincoln Parrot|
I attended court as a support person for a woman who had been assaulted in a domestic violence situation. It's a harrowing experience for her, and I wanted to offer my support - not knowing what I could do, or what I was expected to be, but being there anyway.
The court was an Australian local court, and first up, let me say that it was nothing like TV. The Aussie justice system is nothing like that of the US. And although I had been in regional court houses, this one was nothing like that either. I mean, the basic set up was the same, but the size of the room was vastly different. The room we were in was quite small and almost intimate.
As it was a domestic violence case, and the victim was testifying, the court room was closed. This meant the barrister, his off-sider and the defendant were there. The judge and his staff of 2 were there. The police prosecutor was there. And I was the only support person allowed to be in the room, along with the victim.
Protection of the victim, and making sure they were as safe as possible, was paramount. We were met outside court by Mission Australia's Court Support Staff. A staff member and her volunteers. They were lovely - friendly, knowledgeable, and reassuring. They helped us navigate the entry into the building (like an airport security check).
Then the Sheriffs had to determine how many people were allowed to support the victim. The men doing this were brisk, but the Court Support Staff were supporting multiple victims, and although they entered with us, made it clear that they were not to be counted as our numbers. There was a female Sheriff, who ensured a 'safe' room was opened for us, so we could walk briskly in and be in a safe space. This meant no inadvertent contact with the ex.
The police officers and prosecutor visited us in there and let us know what to expect, and what time frame this may take.
Other women and children were in this room - this safe space that attempted to make us comfortable. It had a small kitchen facility, no windows, and a locking door. Lounge chairs, plus hard chairs. Paintings and pictures by local schools and artists.
After the evidence-giving, the female Sheriff, rushed to re-open the room so we wouldn't be have to see anyone associated with the case as they left. The police prosecutor came down to the room to give thanks, to let the evidence-giver know that she did well, and to explain the next part of the process.
At every stage, the Mission Australia Court Support Person remained with us. She gave advice, answered questions, reassured us, and chatted to us like a friend.
It was a long day from 9 am to almost 5 pm. Much of it spent sitting and waiting. It was by no means a pleasant experience. BUT the women involved in this made the experience the best that it could be. Each person empathised, did extra to ensure safety and comfort, took time to explain and ask if we understood. At times, I felt as if we were encircled in a huge hug of feminine care and love.
This wasn't what I expected. This was so much more than I could have ever imagined.
I've struggled with the masculine-feminine balance (or imbalance) in our society. But this week, I got to see women changing the balance. Women working hard to support and protect other women. Women who are largely strangers to them, but they've made their career one about creating safe spaces for other women. That was such an incredibly powerful event to witness.
Violence against women should never happen, but unfortunately, it does. For the women who are reporting it and taking the matter to justice, thank goodness for the incredible women in the system who are helping, assisting, supporting, and trying to make things better.
I'm just back from a most marvellous holiday to the Northern Territory - Alice Springs and Uluru.
We're so lucky in Australia to be able to travel. I'm so lucky to be in a position where I can afford to travel. And I'm incredibly lucky to have the health that allows me to travel - and for the first time in at least 15 years, I travelled without complete and utter exhaustion (with a few mega-walking days too!).
Going to the Territory in December isn't the smartest thing if you're not a fan of hot temperatures. Most days were between 38 - 44C. We had a couple of days under 38C which was fantastic. Nights were in the mid to late 20s. But we knew we could do the hot, dry heat of the centre. We used to live in the centre of NSW, which has similar weather conditions, so I was hoping I hadn't become 'soft' living on the coast. And I'm pleased to say I'm not too soft!
Travel when here are only domestic tourists, and in summer when people don't generally want to go to hot places without a beach, is BLISS for people who don't like crowds. Most of the McDonnell Ranges' sites we had to ourselves - except for the birds, insects, mammals, reptiles (and a Park ranger we kept bumping into - even in Woolies!).
So, here are some of the wildlife we encountered around Alice Springs. It was so incredible to see so many birds and be able to snap them. Some were right at the edge of my zoom lens - they seem to know to keep their distance! :)
Next week, I'll pop up some of the bird life from the Alice Springs desert Park. If you're ever up there, that place is incredible!
|Crow escaping the heat|
|White-rumped Miner - adult and juvenile|
|Port Lincoln Parrot|
|Zebra Finches having a drink|
|A blur of a rainbow bee-eater in flight (just above mid photo)|
|Rainbow bee-eater (back)|
|Magpie Lark (pee wee)|
|Sacred Kingfisher (back)|
|Sacred Kingfisher (side)|
|Another Crested Pigeon|
|Another Brown Falcon, watching me carefully!|
|Spotted (or Western) Bower Bird|
Sometimes they feed in flocks, but mostly they're seen alone or in small groups with each bird having it's own space to dry.
I was on a roam, and I'd been stalking out a white-faced heron perched in a mangrove tree for a while. Then I got distracted by some crabs on the river bank, tiny fish swimming and then leaping from the water in a choreographed ballet (and no, I wasn't quick enough to capture that!), and then a crow flying by caught my eye. It was squawking in that 'look, look, look" way.
It looked like cockatoos in a tree some distance away. But they were big. So, maybe an egret. I wandered over.
I spent far too long standing beneath that tree taking photos of the majestic Royal Spoonbill. I'd never seen them anywhere but on the river flats, and then only occasionally. Without that crow telling me to look, I would have walked right past this tree. It was in a yard and across the road from where I was, so I had no reason to go there, and I'd been too busy focussing on the river!
I wonder what else I miss every day?!
Our patriarchal society has long bred this extreme form of masculinity by minimising/belittling the feminine. As the power of the feminine is rising, there is going to be some who wish to quash this as they still see feminine qualities/traits as secondary, lesser, less than them.
I think this is some of the force behind the changes in the world as I'm seeing it today.
COVID-19 has made the world stop. It's taken away a lot of structures that held the global economy (power) in place. It's highlighting aspects of society that aren't working. We are being forced to think about people (caring), health (nurturing), supporting those in need. These are all quite feminine traits (in the strict sense of the dual/polar society we live in). In the past, these traits have seen less pay for those in nursing and care professions. As a result of COVID, will we now begin to value these professions, and make changes to pay structures accordingly? It'll be fascinating to see.
The USA is another hotbed of issues. Minority groups are finding their voice. A man who I think exhibits many of the toxic masculine traits is refusing to accept loss, after years of having a place of power...where some believe he abused that office. It's an interesting power play to watch from afar - even though global repercussions may occur, and in that way I'm not so distant. To me, this situation embodies the global power play where masculine and feminine energies are reaching a new area of balance.
In the 1990s, I worked with a Canadian who was here to do her PhD or post-doc research. I remember her saying that in Canada, the power imbalance between men and women was not as obvious as she saw it here in Australia. I was shocked by that, I thought we weren't too bad. Then she said that it was far worse in the USA, which was one of the reason she'd come here. I didn't really understand what she was saying, never having spent any time in the USA and not having been to Canada, but 30 years later, I wonder if others have seen what she saw so long ago, and are trying to change that imbalance, not just in gender inequality.
I watched an interview (https://www.leeharrisenergy.com/podcast#section-1605132491191) recently with a woman (https://suzymiller.com/) working with autistic children. The data she gave about autism blew my mind. She said in the (I think) the 1980s, autism affected 1 in 10 000 children. Today, those figures are 1 in 54.
1 in 54? How did that change so drastically?
She said that generally, autistic children are more perceptive and intuitive (both traditionally feminine traits) and yet many are male children. She thinks that these children are here to help change the world. And I have to agree with her. If there are THAT many children who aren't 'fitting in' to societies' structures, then society structures will have to shift and change.
If these children are exhibiting more of the shunned feminine traits, then the masculine-feminine imbalance in society will need to shift to accommodate these drastic changes in the population.
I may not see this in my lifetime, but I hope I do. I think it'll happen quickly. These kids will need the world changed as they grow up and try to find a place in the world (within the next 20 years)... and there's a virus that's affecting the whole world and making us change how we work. How coincidental :)
I think this outrage we're seeing from so much of the toxic masculine energy, may be it's death throes. Although, it's persisted for a long long time. I hate saying it, but I think there may be more of a fight before the feminine can be balanced better. And yes, putting this in text, "out there" makes me a target, I know. I don't want to be a target. I don't want to poke my head up to be seen. But I also want to speak my truth, say what I see, have a little light shining from me. So these words are here.
I love this world. I love all the incredible, fascinating things about nature, the earth, people, animals, birds, insects, etc etc. I love the feel of the sunshine, the rain and the wind, of energy changing, of shifts and adjustments. I love the intellectual challenge of working out how and why. This is my little space to share myself. I love having it...even as it challenges me!
Our area has a "Bird Airport" - a park that has signs to inform people of the migratory shorebirds that frequent the area.
These birds have long been an exciting feature to me...but I haven't been able to document them with photos. They're not people-friendly. They keep their distance. If I take down binoculars I can see them in enough detail to work out what they are, but only if I write down what I see, or have my bird book with me (because by the time I've walked home, poof! all those details have gone from my brain).
This camera has allowed me to get photos so I can come home, open my bird book, and compare details for identification. And I've loved doing that!
So, I've been spending time with the Bar-tailed godwits (which had always been "maybe a godwit, maybe a sandpiper, I don't remember the details enough to know.")
You can read more about them here: https://birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/bar-tailed-godwit
It makes me realise how much I take my muscles and body for granted. I don't spend much time on ensuring my muscles can do all I need them to do, but take them for granted. I have been better in the past, but I need to do better.
|Godwits with a supervising seagull!|
Yoga is great and I've done a heap of 1-on-1 sessions during COVID lockdown. So I know what I need to do. I just need to do it. Stand in the crowd and do my preening, just like the gorgeous godwits. And here they are, preening and eating, bathing and enjoying the mudflats of the NSW south coast.
And we do have international tourists still arriving :)