Purple clouds in a dark sky

I have been fascinated by the moon lately. It is winter here in Australia, and the beginning of the eclipse season, which I haven’t paid much attention to in the past. There have been some chilly, but beautiful clear nights over the past few weeks but I have gotten into a habit before I go to bed each night, of stepping outside in my dressing gown and Ugg boots to look up to the sky. For a few nights the other week I could see a full moon, glowing in all its splendour through a fine mist of clouds. And one night the moon was setting off a luminescent ring which surrounded it, which I had never seen before. It was majestic. Other nights it is just purple clouds in a dark sky.

As I have shared in previous posts, working from home has allowed me to focus on what I would rather be doing with my day; spending time with my husband and dog, exercising, getting things done around the house and writing. There is nothing better than letting the creativity flow, following my fingers with my eyes as they dance around the keyboard, out of inspiration not out of necessity.

I also feel that being at home more has allowed me to be more in tune with the news and what’s going on around me. Sure, it was easy enough to have a quick glance at the morning news and scroll through my Twitter feed, but having time to actually focus has made me realised what a big part of my life the news has been lately; and how easy it is to get caught up in it.

Along with headlines revealing alarming Coronavirus facts and figures on a global scale, and news of riots and protests and upheaval, earlier this month there was some particularly good news in Victoria, Australia. An autistic teenager who had been missing for over two nights in bushland was found. It was so good to hear that he was finally safe and would be returning home. I also thought about the family and everyone involved in the rescue and how thankful everyone was to hear a good news story, especially when there is so much craziness in communities everywhere right now. It also drew some much-needed attention to autism and life on the spectrum. Would William ever share the full story about what happened on those cold nights? This rescue mission has shown us that anything is possible.

In other news, it has been revealed that probiotics may be able to save the Great Barrier Reef. This headline sparked my attention, as the reef is such an incredible ecosystem which as we know, after years of bleaching is being heavily damaged. Apparently, probiotics like those found in yoghurt will be used to restore the reef and help the coral survive when it is prone to stress if the current trial is successful. We can only hope for a breakthrough like this to repair the years of damage brought on by us humans.

One statement I heard the other day has stuck with me… we exist to coexist… an interesting truth in the face of a pandemic. Especially when coexisting is the problem.

Like animals, we humans are linked to a day-night cycle and although our routines may have been majorly disrupted in recent months, we have been forced to adapt and develop new habits.

Right now, I am preparing myself to step outside to look at the moon before I go to bed, when I will allow my mind to refocus and prepare for a new day as my dog and I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Preserving our environment

A couple of months ago I went to visit my dad who lives in the bush. By bush I mean total bush – thousands of hectares of it.

My dad and his wife spend a lot of time and effort working on ways to conserve their land. They don’t farm livestock (do chickens count?) and have a pet dog who loves the land as much as they do. Over the weekend we went for many walks around their property, which I had done so many times before, but never really absorbed the information. This time I consciously learnt about the many different things there were to appreciate.

Time to explore

On a walk with my sister, we got to a gate marked ‘Ogyris Gate’. I asked her what it meant, and she told me it as a species of rare butterfly, native to Australia and sighted on their land. I never saw one that weekend but was curious, so I looked into it some more when I returned home and I learned that the Ogyris genoviva is a large purple/blue coloured butterfly, found primarily in east and southeast Australia. Its wingspan is 50mm, and it is most often found in Eucalypt woodland.

Offsetting carbon with native flora

They have planted so many trees over the years – and due to drought, not a lot of them have survived. These are the challenges of living on a property like that, changing weather is inevitable. There is a patch of young eucalyptus trees not far away from their house, covering maybe 30 square metres. The trees are thriving, as they have been planted in a patch of irrigation. They are 30 years old – as old as me, and they still look so young and green, not your average climbing tree that’s for sure.

In their ‘front yard’ (an area of grass at least 2km squared), dad told me proudly that there were 11 different species of native grass. Most evenings, dad would walk around the ‘yard’ and pick out prickle patches, cussing the nasty weeds. I had brought only my casual runners for the weekend, and after every walk, I spent time removing the prickles that had embedded themselves into the soles.

A new perspective

I really enjoy staying at Dad’s place. The feeling of being with nature and (almost) living off the land makes me feel somewhat relaxed. Learning about plants such as Old Man Saltbush and taking time to watch the resident eagle through a telescope is not something that happens often for me back in Melbourne.

It has been a challenging start to 2020, first Australia was affected by the ravaging bushfires (while fires had only recently been extinguished in other areas of the world) and now COVID-19. Some good news is that with the majority of people working from home and travel being restricted, carbon emissions have reduced, and nature is slowly changing. While it has taken a global pandemic for this to happen, it will certainly be interesting to see what we learn from all of this; and how our perspective of the issue may change for the better.