Category Archives: bush walking

Of Each Other

Camaraderie – Word of the Day

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Westonia Mine 2013 viewing deck. Afternoon of the weekend road trip and Jon’s bucks weekend full of dinners, toasts, rock climbing, campfire, BBQ, late nights and more, a great time of camaraderie, a veritable esprit de corps. It was one of those weekends where conversations were both surface and deep, fun and meaningful. We were so relaxed and enjoying each other’s company, as it should be. There were no rules, no expectations, but we all managed to get along fine, even joking at each other’s expense on occasion, because, as we acknowledged, no one is perfect.

Camaraderie doesn’t just pop out of a packet (if it did it would be on the market by now), it comes as a result of humour, tears, anger, intimacy, trust, love and more. Camaraderie is the result of raw life, people learning to be with each other, learning about the other. Great feats can result from camaraderie because there is a strength in it that enables us to excell. But more than that, there is a tenacity too, there are many stories of people who survived amazing trials and struggles and who credit their friendships as the reason they got through. Stories of surviving the Holocaust, war, the Killing Fields, famines, earthquakes, cyclones … not just because certain ones were strong individuals (and they were) but also because they had networks, circles, friendships that enabled them to get through.

Simon and Garfunkle sang “I Am A Rock”, although on the surface it seems to be glorifying indivduality, the last words are ironic “And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.” In that song there’s a sadness about lost friendship, the rebuttal of friends in preference for painless solitude, neutrality, yet gaining a particular loneliness and isolation. The poet John Donne wrote in the seventeenth century:

No Man Is An Island

No Man is an island,
entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or thy own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore necer send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

 A sensational poem that speaks today (despite its masculine language), that no one can exist as singular, no one can flourish alone. The last line (which Ernest Hemmingway borrowed as a title for a book) simply means that the bells toll to announce a death, and at the same time they also announce that a part of us has died as a result, such is the connectivity of all living things. Camaraderie is honouring a natural connectivity, a vitality, of human thrive and flourish. We are stronger for it, less arrogant, more rounded, appreciated, accepted and accepting, given voice, given place. Identity is not lost in camaraderie, it is sharpened, matured. I often dream of a world where that connectivity would be the true mark of humanity.

A distant bell chimes
you have gone through the dark vale
but you are my cloak

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Light Pleasure

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It’s the simple things that bring lasting pleasure. Dawn at looking out from Big Swamp. Too good not to stop and take the shot. It’s not a swamp it’s a wet land. European settlers misunderstood, these are not waterlogged land, but authentic wet lands. To use the term swamp is to identify land as degraded, but this is not degraded it is an ecosystem. The city council won’t change the name. Fortunately this one is protected, but many have been lost because they were viewed as swamps and filled in by developers. This one has a variety of bird life as well as other creatures.

“Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”  Samuel Johnson

Paul,

pvcann.com

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You Give Me Fervour

Fervour – Word of the Day

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When the bush comes alive it is with fervour! The colour is rich and varied, the smell is glorious, the hum of insects and the sound of birds is divine. We are currently in winter here, this was taken a few years ago in spring in the eastern wheatbelt after the rains had been the best for a number of years. Hoping the rains are good this year so that we get a repeat of these wildflowers.

Seasons come and go, in order, and generally predictable. But our personal inner seasons are nothing like that. I’ve had long internal winters which have given rise to colourful, intense springs of growth. I’ve had long summers of basking in joy and contentment. I’ve had autumns where transition and change have prepared me body, mind and soul for new experiences. They never come in order, they are never fixed in duration, they are unpredictable. If they were, then life would be dull.

Our inner seasons are indicative of our lived reality, the stuff of relationships, love, joy, pain. It is the complexity of body, mind and soul as a receptor of a multiplicity of experiences. It is gift and loss. It is the giddyness of aspiration, and the sober nature of graft and heft. It is our senses open and engaged. None are negative. Winter is essential, a season of withdrawing, waiting, refreshing, washing, grieving gives way to spring. Winter waters spring. As we befriend our inner winters, we become wiser, integrated, stronger for the journey. Without rain there is no blossom, no juice. As we rejoice in our summers we store up memories that give back to us over a lifetime. Each season is lived and embodied, a respository of awareness. Nothing is lost. Each one gives me fervour, fervour for life, love and purpose.

Currently I’m in an autumnal time of reflection and revision and I’m seeking that next step into spring. I wonder where you are at?

dark clouds surround 
the rain falls inside of me
cherry blossom glows

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature, seasons

A Friend

Introduce – Word of the Day

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I hardly need to introduce Augusta, and this particular part, the Blackwood River, as it is a constant reference in my writing. It is my favourite place and our true home. I first came here with a close mate, Nigel, in 1981 on a sudden whim, the same road trip which ended in meeting lyn, who would later become my wife. Lyn and I ended back here on our honey moon road trip in 83. And for nearly every year after we brought the kids for the summer holidays. Finally, we knew we wanted to live here so we eventually bought our home here, a place where we feel at peace, and where we feel that affinity with nature and community. This shot is the jetty where the river walk begins to pass the shire caravan park, and looks across the Blackwood to East Augusta. We were on a walk, as we regularly do, and I just loved the winter clouds and how the light played with them and the water, and the colour tones were unusual to the eye, hence the photo.

To return to the theme of affinity with nature, I find that my contemplative stance is richer in nature. I also experience nature as a soul friend, one who awakens my eyes, my heart to the deeper things, a spititual awareness, and one where I begin to feel more whole. Here my senses are engaged and I feel stimulated. Here I am content. so in that sense, I’m introducing you to my friend.

“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” Gary Snyder.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Ramble On

Gallivant – Word of the Day

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I’ve travelled and rambled a little, but I would say as Bilbo said to Frodo (and later Frodo recalls it) “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  J.R.R. Tolkien (Fellowship of the Ring)

But unless you go out that door there will be no adventure. One doesn’t need to ramble far for adventure, there’s enough going on in every local community to constitute an adventure of sorts. Adventure isn’t always about excitement or danger, it can be enterprise, chance, venture, to take a risk.

For some the risk is maybe even just going out the door, or, having to talk to people, taking the time, travelling even a short distance, being out of your comfort zone, going into new experiences … but to think, there may be conversations, sights, colours, wildlife, history, events, or the beauty of solitude in nature, whatever the outcome, there’s always an experience to be had. It may not be earth shattering or exciting, but yet it may well be profound. And, does it matter where you’re swept off to? Predictability and over thinking are kindred spirits to ruts. A true adventure has to have surprise and spontaneity somewhere in it, and you can’t plan that.

But isn’t that life? Life is an adventure (that’s my experience), life is an invitation to ramble on, you can’t nail the whole of your life down, you can’t control every day of every year. We need to open the doors of our hearts and minds, even to just leave the window of opportunity open to entice us. Strangely enough, all the ifs and buts become a faint memory once you’re out the door.

The tales of the “Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” are all about rambling, adventuring gallivanting, but also a tale about life itself, as most fiction is. The band Led Zeppelin were steeped in Tolkien. If you peruse their lyrics there are phrases from Tolkien all over their original works. But the emphasis is always metaphysical, always rambling, always love and adventure, hence the song “Ramble On” on their 1969 album Led Zeppelin 2. Below is a sound track of that song where the accoustic guitars have been separated out – so no heavy guitar on this one, and the lyrics come to the fore (simple as they are).

Ramble on!

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, community, life, Literature, mindfulness, music, quote

Paperbark Writer

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The paperbarks (Melaleuca – one of the 300 Myrtaceae family) are shedding a little later this year. Another theme of winter is shedding. Some animals shed a summer coat in order to prepare for winter, many plants shed their blooms and slow down in some part, some of our birds fly elsewhere for the winter though we get visitors from other shores. We, perhaps, can live unaware of our own needs. What do we need to shed in order to prepare? Mind you, the converse is also something that we need to attend to, what do we need to gather in, soak up, put on in order to prepare? Self care and nurture are fundamental to well being, body mind and soul. For me the continuity of writing and meditation are part of that nurture. How about you?

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Albert Camus

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, environment, life, meditation, music, nature, quote, seasons

SAD

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The last days of autumn, and the beauty of river and cloud along the Blackwood.

The days are shorter now as autumn gives way to winter. I am grateful for the change in season even though I don’t like the cold, somehow nature needs this, I tell my self, but I know deep down that I need it too.  But there is an impact that the seasonal change makes known as SAD (an auspicious aconym) or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

As winter progresses it is quite normal to feel tired and unmotivated, it is a form of the ‘blues’ but it now has a name – SAD. I think it’s probably an ancient hibernation process we are fighting, but that’s just a witsful guess, perhaps a latent desire to sleep in and ignore the cold air. However, exercise, dietary changes, sleep, meditation and a change in habit can recharge and motivate us. To do something different rather than force a summer routine into a winter context might be truly barking up the wrong tree. I note that several local young men are still clinging to shorts, t-shirt and thongs, and even though this week it has dropped to 3 degrees overnight, they are hanging on to summer as if to say, nature won’t force me to change. Yeah, right! It will.

SAD is best embraced and refocussed, a reframing of inner thought and responding energy, and to make friends with the season, and to live into it mindfully.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under beach, bush walking, life, mindfulness, nature, seasons

Twisted

via Photo Challenge: Twisted

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Taken near Denmark W.A. Twisted and bent by the winds, this gnarled tree shows tenacity and determination. I hope to follow its example 🙂

let's twist again
the wind crafts and molds
like it did last year

©Paul Cannon (with apologies to Chubby Checker)

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under beach, bush walking, Country, environment, Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature

Out Of This World

Out Of This World

When I think of out of this world I think of the stars, beyond our galaxy, but in another sense I think of places of transcendence like Uluru. But his morning there was something else. At Flat Rock the dolphins were absent, even the birds, but frogs were singing their song, the water was still, and then, as you will see in the top left corner of the video, as a tiny insect flew over the water, a fish appeared. I might not have been there, but I was and it happened. It was ordinary, simple, normal, yet in another way it was transcendent, it took me out of this world, just in the moment, wonderful.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, mindfulness, nature, Philosophy/Theology

Liquid Life

Liquid

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I love the ocean, I love rivers and lakes, but there’s something about a country creek, especially the sounds of the running water as it sings over rocks, such a glorious song.

Which reminds me of a line from a poem by Wendell Berry: “The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

Paul,

pvcann.com

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