Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #57: Taking a Break- Beach Walk

There’s nothing like a fresh sea breeze to help you clear your head and recharge. First get your shoes off and step into the sand. Then breathe in the salty air and let the sound of the waves surround you.

Feels like you have the place and the space to yourself. It’s so wide.

The wind blows away the clouds as you aim for the horizon.

Black-winged Stilts test the water.

             Other seabirds congregate at the water’s edge …

Some dance.

Others paddle.

or dreaming of crabs, they head for the Mangroves.

Others, like these Caspian Terns, just wait for a change in the weather.

Eventually, you get the feeling it’s time enough and you turn back into the wind, humming a little tune, stepping out gaily, as you go.

…and you’ll return.

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Thanks to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge from Tina

All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is Copyright © under Australian Law.

H2O Collage: Weekly Photo Challenge

Water covers three-quarters of Planet Earth and makes up two-thirds of each healthy, human body.

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Lily pond in Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens.

Our city council says water features and fountains boost the city’s attractiveness and develop its ‘green and vibrant character.’

Where would we be without this element in our ‘collage?’

We are all the waves of one sea.

We are all the leaves of one tree.

The time has come for all to live as one.

We are all the flowers of one garden

And the waves of one sea

And the leaves of one tree. © Naomi Baltuck

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All text (except quote)  and photos by Meg.

BALTUCK, Naomi. 1993, Crazy Gibberish and Other Story Hour Stretches (From a Storyteller’s Bag of Tricks) Hamden, Conn. Linnet Books. p.103

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This blog, of text and images, is Copyright © under Australian Law.

Vibrant light: Weekly Photo Challenge

Vibrant colours capture the light. Even on a rainy day, Poinciana blossoms shine.IMG_1089

Nature does a good job of using vibrant colours to light up this dark cassowary.

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We humans can do that too, working long hours into the night to finish a project.

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The Peruvian Arpillera, below, is a women’s traditional handicraft, a wall-hanging which tells a story using everyday fabrics appliqued onto a burlap backing . This one was in a display of thread work at the Linnwood Library, Seattle.

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One Peruvian Artist, Eleodora Salvatierra, who has made many Arpillera, said, “Every colourful thread I use transmits the reality of my community and my people.”

In 1974, in Pinochet’s Chile, an ‘Arpillera Movement‘ was begun by the mothers of missing children. They needed help and to let the outside world know what had happened. For 17 years these women created images, sometimes with an additional handwritten message, of what they knew about Human Rights abuses, and the disappearance of their children. Made by the poor, who had no electricity, they had to sew in the early dawn light. Some used the fabric from the clothes left behind. A branch of the Chilean Church, the Vicariate of Solidarity, offered to help and mailed completed works overseas in packets of 4 or 5. Amnesty International then became involved. Some mothers haven’t given up hope. They still wait for news. (For more of this story, click green highlighted words)

[See also the preceding post, reblogged from Cachando Chile with more illustrations of the Arpilleras.]

Does the creative intention of the work help make it more vibrant? Is it the emotional story behind it? Does it depend on who’s on the receiving end?

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Not only does Canadian Del Barber sing up a storm, he also tells (and sings) great stories. He blew me away when I saw him on the stage at The Woodford Folk Festival. No fancy shirt, just an entertaining solo performance – definitely an unforgettable, vibrant set.

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So we can see and hear what ‘vibrant’ is. What’s it like to ‘be’ vibrant?

This solitary, early morning mushroom seems to glow against the dark ground. It came up overnight, after rain … and it’s still growing. Hmm … glowing and growing?

Click here to see others’ interpretations of the idea “Vibrant

All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/vibrant/

I Spy Plovers

Cyclists hate the nesting season here. One speeding past with a magpie in hot pursuit once yelled out to me in passing,” Why do they pick on me?” He was in black and white lycra at the time so the birds probably thought he was a rival. Get too near magpies, or plovers, and they’ll dive bomb you! Kids often learn this the hard way.

Plovers don’t build nests … just scrape the ground and lay their speckled eggs there. They are, however, the most protective of parents.

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A pair of Eastern Plovers live locally. I’ve been paying attention to them for a couple of years. Their territory includes a bowling green and a soccer pitch across the road from each other. When I got a better camera, I was able to follow them more closely … they always kept an eye on me.

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This green keeper goes out of his way to let the faithful plovers raise their chicks. He doesn’t cut the grass too close, leaves ramps out so the hatched chicks can get out of the sunken green, led under the fence, encouraged across the gravel road, down the slope, under another fence and out onto the large field by their careful parents.
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This past year, though, in Nov and June, two sets of chicks didn’t make it past the puffs of grey, fluff stage. Saddened, I blamed nearby cats or butcher birds. Not a sign was left of them. I thought the pair would give up … but was delighted to see this in August.

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Walking along the fence line every time,  I finally caught a glimpse of three fluffy chicks, in the early morning. As soon as the adult spotted me, she called them back, under her,  with a clicking sound. I got to know what the different calls meant  like Come back quickly / Move out slowly / Don’t go too far / Hide – danger!

Eventually I was able to stop and photograph them.11092015c

A week later, they had moved their home into the middle of  the soccer pitch.

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Though, one chick had gone, the parents were never far away. One acted as scout, the other as shepherd. Soon I could get close enough to see how much they’d grown.

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They started ranging further afield and seemed to get used to me, this strange bird with a black beak and a green cap.

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They roamed together. Now, as big as their parents, the younger birds haven’t got their yellow wattle fully developed. I wanted to get a shot of them flying to finish the story.

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Months later, I’ve been willing them to fly. Several times, they’d wait till I’d given up with my camera, was walking away, and they’d suddenly fly past me, dodging like Spitfires. I noticed that the leader /scout would give three short screeches. (“Fly!”) then the family would follow. Sometimes, they were being dive-bombed by other birds like Magpies (and here, one Noisy Miner bird.)DSCF2854

Three short screeches … and I caught them taking off as a family, following the scout parent. That’s it. They’re on their way.

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The plover, also know as the Masked Lapwing, has many names in different Aboriginal languages. There’s an ebook called Pitthirrit the Plover for 9 – 11 year olds, available as an app on iPad / iPhone. Produced by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, it’s a traditional story of the Gunitjmara people, the Traditional Owners of southwest Victoria, Australia. Available for $2.99  –  Updated 22 November 2015.

  Click or more info on the plover

This Australian site is a great help – http://www.birdsinbackyards.net

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All text and photos, except where highlighted,  by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

Oops! I fell : Weekly Photo Challenge

MSCF2578I was walking along, minding my own business a couple of weeks ago when, at my feet a flurry of colour made me side-step. “Oops! What is that?”

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A fledging was staggering about beside me … probably got a bit too cocky looking down from a hollow, high up in that tall eucalypt nearby. My … there was a lot of squawking going up there.

Instant dilemma. (Thinks: I shouldn’t pick it up. How will it get back up to safety? It can’t fly! Is it hurt? What can I do?) While I worried, the creature took action.

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 It finally got started after two floppy, failed attempts and began to climb. I could hear my grandmother saying … If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I shakily took photos.

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“Breathe and hold, ” I muttered to myself and the bird, then pressed the shutter.

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The fledgling was a young Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, in a punk phase, totally unfazed by my presence. Other lorikeets were making a racket from bushes on both sides of the path. It’s not for nothing that the collective noun is a “pandemonium” of parrots.

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As the fledgling gingerly climbed higher, its feathers settled when it sat. There was still a way to go to get to safety.

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This all took about 5 minutes. The bird took a breather every so often and preened. There’s the tree I think it fell from, on the left. That pandemonium of lorikeets squawked continuously until the youngster had climbed out of my reach.

I stepped out, heartened by that plucky little bird’s persistence and determination. Boy, that bird taught me a thing or two! It wanted to fly … it was learning to fly! It wasn’t going to quit.

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I need to acknowledge a traditional Aboriginal story and popular children’s picture book here, called How the birds got their colours which features a Rainbow Lorikeet.  Pamela Lofts created the book of this story, which she heard from Mary Albert of the Bardi people of Western Australia. It was published, illustrated with children’s responses as paintings, in 2004 … a classic, widely used in schools and still in print,

This recent YouTube video (Don’t be put off by the 10 sec ad. at the start), directed and filmed by Teagan Spratt and Alannah Bryne retells this Aboriginal legend, as part of a Media Arts assignment in 2014. A significant feature is the explanation by Aboriginal elder Bill Buchanan, as he answers questions about the cultural significance of such stories, told to children.

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All text and photos, except where indicated, are by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

How The Birds Got Their Colours. Dir. Teagan Spratt and Alannah Byrnne. YouTube. YouTube, 1 June 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93UIsjYz75k&gt;.

Adult Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Adult Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Updated _ Scaly-breasted Lorikeet: Basic Information from Birds in Backyards. Web. Downloaded 3 Jan 2017.<http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Trichoglossus-chlorolepidotus&gt;

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Diving Into Life

There are certain times in my life when I’ve had to dive right in … can’t hold back  …  and with no idea of what will eventuate.

That feeling of trepidation reminds me of the Grimm’s tale, Mother Holle, a significant story told to children as part of their Steiner (Waldorf) education.

A woman had two daughters, a beautiful step-daughter who was helpful and hard working, while her own daughter was ugly and lazy.

I imagined I was the good step-daughter diving in to retrieve the spindle I had dropped down the well. Here I go head first.

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The good daughter wakes up in a beautiful meadow. And it is here in the story,  that a strong part of me, says “Enough! This isn’t my story. I’m nobody’s household drudge” Just like the ugly daughter! (See Grimm for the remainder of their tale). In truth, at this point of my life, I am feeling lazy; part of me has always loved to be lazy!

I want to stay in the simple pleasures of the meadow. I need to daydream.

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I have loved meadows and wild fields,  since I was a small child. Wading through swishing, long grass pied with flowers, to the sound of bird song, was like being in a dream .

IMG_2476 Spring was my favourite season: buttercups and apple blossom.

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I’ve wandered through clover and dandelions in different countries accompanied by an Exaltation of Skylarks.

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I have sighed over fields in each season of the year.

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I have delighted in wandering again along familiar paths made by other feet.

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I remember being thrilled to get really close to the ground.

IMG_2536Being close to Nature, makes me feel I’m home. I think part of me will always be a Happy Wanderer, no matter where I am.

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Where is it that you feel most at home?

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Sources

GRIMMS’ tales for young and old. Translated by Ralph Manheim. New York, Doubleday, 1977.

All photos, art and text by Meg

 Story Twigs …! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.