Once again the allure of the sea has inspired a nature mat.This was a work in progress as the weather changed and wild seas battered the coast.This mat depicts a more serene aspect of the sea, a calm rock pool that invites imaginative play and story telling.
After the wildness of the weekend a rosy sunset glowed on a sea that was tame again.
Brisbane is growing rapidly. Like many cities worldwide the buildings are reaching up higher and higher to the clouds.
Our visits to the city centre have been few and far between, mainly driving past to the the airport. Rarely do we venture to the inner city. Even more rarely do we see it as a tourist, and then we head to Southbank Parklands which was the traditional home of the Turrbal and Yuggerah people. Now this area is the cultural centre of the city. It is here that the art galleries,museum, theatre, conservatorium,markets and eating spots are to be found, as well as the man-made “Streets beach”. It is also the location for various festivals throughout the year.
On this visit we discovered Epicurious, an organic garden established within the Parklands to enable people to experience and learn about gardening. Midweek free samples are available with volunteers on hand to assist with advice.
What a wonderful concept to bring awareness and connection to nature, and to encourage healthier lifestyle options.
Close by to Epicurious is a rainforest area, where a huge fig tree provides a tunnel though it for children to explore, and a rock pool is a haven for wildlife.If you look closely there is a bearded dragon on the rock to the right of the ibis.Perhaps best of all this area of the Parklands offers an opportunity to find peace in the very heart of the city.
Heatwave conditions have come to our part of the world. Going outside is like stepping into a fan forced oven. Fire is an ever present threat, already several have occurred in our locality, two this weekend. The wildlife is distressed, and that distresses me as all we can do is keep water out for them hoping they can find some shade and a little relief.
The birds sit with open beaks, panting and holding their wings away from their bodies, too hot to even find enough energy to take a dip in the bird baths. The brush turkey digs into the soil to try to find a level that is moister or cooler but all we have is hot, dry dust.
In fact it feels too hot to be in our own skin!
Crafting might seem impossible but in fact it has helped. Over this burning weekend I have been making mermaids. The palette of ice blues and marine greens combined with thoughts of oceans deep has been cooling .
Cooler in tone and effect was this small Sea Queen.
Once a month a market is held on Mount Tamborine. It has been some years since last I went. The idea is to get there early, even more so now as the market has grown and was crowded before nine a.m.
So many stalls are there now under the big shade trees and so many people embracing the day and the atmosphere of vibrant colour and delicious smells all wrapped in a glorious, summer morning .
The rise and popularity of markets, of buying fresh, organic produce, local grown and mostly local made seems to be growing in favour . There is no comparison to the strident, branded, environment of the big shopping malls. The market lives and breathes, interacts and inspires. Give me a market or small local shopping strip any day.
However, I do have a peeve, that one of the compound for small animal petting. The poor little creatures are so stressed. Now that it is racing into summer in Australia it seems cruel to have the babies in the heat all day. Baby animals like human babies need to sleep a lot, not to be constantly poked and pinched, exposed to constant,strident noise, and at times roughly handled and chased.
I wonder how we would like to be put in a pen or cardboard box ( or have our children in one) to be on public display, to be overfed, mishandled, frightened, stressed to the max and overstimulated. Just saying this is not a good thing and distressed me a lot. Kind of took the edge off the experience, so instead of leaving with the initial feel good vibe it made me all too aware of the cruelty we humans impose on all living things.
For many years I have been intrigued by a mural of The Lady of St. Kilda who sails over busy Carlisle street in Balaclava Melbourne. Her ocean is the sky, the sound of her waves the traffic hum. Why is she there? I wondered. What is her story?
Recently I found a photo I had taken on one of my trips south. I had to know more and started to do some research discovering that this public art work was created by Alex and Ruvim Nemirovsky, in 1993. The historic schooner this mural depicts was moored during much of 1841 at St.Kilda, a vibrant,beach-side suburb of Melbourne. The suburb, with a high Scottish population in those times, was named after the remote Hebridean islands of St.Kilda.
For me this rather whimsical art work brings to mind the voyagers and stories that make such a rich tapestry in myth, folklore and history, harking back to times when mermaids and sirens were believed to lure sailors to watery graves. In those times explorers thought the world was flat believing that bloodthirsty monsters lurked beneath the waters, yet they set sail in tiny vessels, to map the globe. These were the times when the oceans were a vast unknown that promised adventure and riches as well as danger and death.
Many stories with sea themes tell of endurance, courage and despair. Often in sea tales there is a haunting sadness and an ever-present fear of loss, like the crashing of waves, as hopes wash in and out of our lives. It seems that sea has inspired artists, musicians, poets and writers forever as an infinite source of wonder and yearning.
The shipThe Lady of St.Kilda, is named after Lady Grange, who was by all accounts a rather unpleasant lady. It seems that she was abducted by her estranged husband and some Scottish noblemen when she threatened to reveal their Jacobite conspiracy plans. Although she had nine children living no one in her family seemed to want her back. As a consequence Rachel Chiesley, the Lady Grange, was hidden and imprisoned for many years on remote islands in the Hebrides, including St.Kilda,where she was exposed to very harsh conditions as well as isolation. Abandoned she died in 1745, elderly, unwanted ,outcast and unloved.
The despair, loneliness, fear and anger that must have been her constant companions are not hard to imagine. The sea to her would have been a cruel prison. Denied her former life, cut off from family and acquaintances, her situation was not unlike a Selkie who has lost her skin so becoming trapped on land or who, on finding her skin has returned to the sea thus losing her human children.
At the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, there is a sculpture of a Selkie. Scarred and weathered now, she is by a lake. To see her at this location away from the ocean, emerging from, or perhaps finding her seal skin, was strange. Lonely, listening, watching and waiting, always waiting, dislocated like the Lady of St.Kilda.