Falling for life wave after wave- a blog


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Late Summer

Late summers in Coffs are often grey. The dumpy grey clouds cover the hills to the coast. This summer there's been a lot of no clouds, or clouds covering the sun, nothing in between. Not very conducive to landscape photography. Not a particularly cheery time of the year. Today was a lot cooler with drizzly rain at times. The sun almost poked through at one stage, but then the heavy grey clouds reclaimed the little patches of blue. It is the wettest part of the year. Warm and humid. Difficult to sleep, running is real battle.

When I go for early morning run, I often hear the melodius call of a bird that I couldn't name. I have concluded that it is a Pied Butcherbird.

My running is such a hopeful thing, my photography is such a good/creative thing. These things deserve better than all the battles I seem to face. I want to be positive, I want peace. How do I get there?

A massage therapist I saw a couple of times at the worst of my knee pain has been arrested by Police for alleged indecent assault. Pretty alarming really. Another therapist was much more helpful. I tried everything to help my knee pain back then. Sharks cartilage, calcium and chondroitin. The smell of voltaren reminds me of my pain.

Old house

I went for a walk down the Jetty. I thought the triathlon was on, but I had the wrong week.

An old house is being moved downhill from my units. There is a metal barricade around the house. And the yard has been cleared of trees shrubs and grass, down to bare earth. The large old wooden house with its faded yellow and green paint, has been raised up on wooden trays. A front window is slightly broken by the activity. The front lawn that was immaculately maintained by the former owner is now carved up by tyre ruts.

I'd often see the man out the front weeding the lawn by hand. A beautiful soft couch lawn. Later I saw him struggling to walk home down the hill from the Jetty shops. He stopped to rest on the steps on the footpath, plastic shopping bags on the ground by his side. The signs of losing a battle for independence. A sad sign that I recognised from my father's own battle. I didn't see the old man after that. Often cars would visit, probably relatives.

I saw a grounded paper aeroplane, white with bluelines, wet with rain.
Very interesting mate, you write very well. :thumbup:


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I am doing a vegetation map of a world heritage listed island. It is a such a wild place, so rugged that there are parts of it that people can't reach. In this place nature rules, and people are made insignificant by its scale.

Today I was looking at a part of the Island called the World's End. This part of the island is below a 600 metre cliff that falls to the sea from the highest point of the island. There are landslides 300 metres long, and 150 metres wide. The beach is made up of large boulders that have accumulated from landslides. I measured one of the biggest boulders, and it is 9 metres across. Almost as big as a house. Set back from the beach is a stretch of wind shorn littoral rainforest. And behind that a massive Banyan Fig. The Banyan spreads with aerial branches that root into the ground. This individual Banyan tree covers 6 hectares of the lower slopes under the cliffs.

There are offshore islands with hard basalt shores, criss-crossing contorted dykes and sheer cliffs rising from the ocean. These islands can only be visited in calm seas, and most involve dangerous climbs assisted by ropes or abseiling. The main residents are colonies of sea birds. Sheawaters, Petrels and Noddies. Some islands have curtains of guano falling from cliffs into the ocean.

The Petrels and Albatross glide and dip masters of their worlds of air and current.

The islands mountains are frightening in their steepness and ruggedness. Today I was looking at a aerial photograph in 2d, and at the point of the biggest cliffs, the photo melts into a blur of swirling lines of rock. It is unable to represent the slope. There is a ridge on the island called the Razorback. During a survey, a man fell, and the only thing that saved from a 500 metre fall into the ocean was grabbing a small tree. The inner pocket is so is hard to reach that it can only visited on the longest day of the year, to leave enough time to survey and get back down to sea level before dark.

The island is LHI, at the risk of giving way my carefully concealed identity.
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Memory is like a form of time travel. When sight, sound and smell align, memories of the past come welling up into the present, like a kind of hunger or longing. The experience can be good and bad, the limbic system also triggers the resurrection of the emotions of the time.

The cold morning air, the cloudless sunny blue skies, the still cold oceans of late July, bring back memories of 2008. A time of miraculous change in my life. I sense this in a almost physical way, like a kick in the guts, a hunger that rises from my stomach into my chest. I can relive what I was going through, I am almost there. I've returned to places and a kick in my soul of the sadness about what I was going through, winded me with emotion. Like when I returned to Esperance in 2003, after travelling there in 1997. I remembered how bad I felt, and as I walked the streets of Esperance alone, the memory overpowered me.

But that time in July 2008 was different to anything I have experienced before, the experience was of intense joy, I reached out and held onto happiness for the first time in forever. All the pieces fell into place, running, nature. I can sense that feeling, and I sense it as a longing to return to that time. The happiness was so intense that that memory swamped all the bad ones with its power. It lives on strongly.

I think it also the part of my mind in which my guide lives, that helpful voice, the one that told me not to give up. It is voice of the fighter in me. It is so powerful.


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Yesterday I took photos at Coffs Creek on sunset. The tide was very low, and I walked out into the middle of the channel. I disturbed some Spur-winged Plovers who flew off at my approach, calling in their agitated way. There were little circular globules of sand discarded by crabs digging out their holes in the sand. A high bank of clouds built to the west, from a dissipating storm cell. The sun had already descended behind the clouds so I wasn't sure what sunset would greet me. A thin crescent moon appeared mid sky, and some of the clouds began to change to orange and then pink. The reflection of clouds appeared in main channel and shallow puddles and cut off channels of the creek. A few stranded sea weed fronds lay discarded on the sand.

I really enjoyed taking the photos of the sunset. But with my anxiety, and the way the world closes around me with its disapproval and anger, makes my enjoyment seem redundant. There are some people who I am exposed to that really make me feel unwell and suck the life out of my day, even things like photography. If I listen to the strident negative voices, then my anxiety, the effort I put into running, the joy I get from nature, the money I raised for charity, isn't even real. All diminished, all discounted. What value does my enjoyment have, if it is only my own.

I had a troubling thought during the week. That I am not going to change, this is the me I am stuck with for the rest of my life.

First saturday in autumn

A stormy early autumn day. Dark rain clouds are building on the escarpment, a curtain of rain falling under the darkest of them. 28 degrees Celsius. The nights are already cooler, but I am still not sleeping well. There is a white noise of thoughts that interrupts even my sleep. I wake up, and feel a sinking despair. The things I enjoy are not even enough.


Lenny my cockatiel lets me know she wants a wash, by dipping her chest into the water dish. Then I fill a larger purple oval dish with water so she can have a proper wash. She stands in it and tries to immerse herself in the water, and to work it under her wings. Today she just stood in the water enjoying its coolness. She flicked little droplets of water of the surface. Last weekend I left her out in my courtyard and it began to rain. The droplets fell on her back, she loved it. She opened her wings and tried to let the rain get right into her feathers.

Half of the old house down the street is loaded up onto a semi trailer ready for moving.

I opened up my plant book again today. I feel better when I work on it, there is something soothing about seeing the images of plants.

I spend a lot of time near the coast, and I love to notice the changes in detail. Everyday is different, the coast is dynamic, forever changing. It's kind of meditative, my thoughts get lost in what I see.
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Often when I am standing at the traffic lights, I am alerted to the passing of a cattle truck off to the abbatoirs, by the thick stench of urine that hangs in the air after it is gone. I don't eat much red meat, and that seems to me to be a good reason why. Thinking of those animals in such a foul smelling truck off to be slaughtered kind of puts me off red meat.

My anxiety was OK this morning, I was fine talking to people at work and down the shops. I also felt a little bit surer I have a future at work at least for now. My involvement in some upcoming projects was mentioned in a work meeting. I also filled out a performance review, and I am confident I have made some achievements this 6 months.

On Sunday afternoon, I drove up to the Gibraltar Range. Thunderstorms skirted the plateau. Most of the afternoon I heard loud rumbles of thunder and watched dark clouds form overhead. Although the mountain plateau remained sunny, a bit of a sun storm. I photographed 13 plant species, not bad for the middle of autumn. The highlight was seeing Native Fuschia (Epacris longiflora). The waratah trig walking track is overgrown. Apparently it is a culturally significant site, and the public are not allowed to climb it. I wore my shorts and my bare legs got scratched by the shap leaves of Daviesia. There was also a few Banksia cunninghamii in flower. Devils Twine wrapped its thin stems around plants with tiny white flowers in groups of threes. White beards were the most prolific flowering plant


A small snake slithered off the trail at one stage. At the end of the day two rainbows appeared above the wet heath. As I made back to the highway the rainbow faded away.

I drove home after sunset, arrived back in Coffs after 9:30pm. It was a long but enjoyable afternoon and evening
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Sounds like a good day, Kiwong. I eat a lot of beef and never really thought about the whole slaughtering bit even though as a teen I worked on a beef cattle farm. Hmm :question:


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Sounds like a good day, Kiwong. I eat a lot of beef and never really thought about the whole slaughtering bit even though as a teen I worked on a beef cattle farm. Hmm :question:
Cheers Jc. The smell from these trucks on the highway is overpowering. I've also eaten plenty of red meat, but this makes me think twice.


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I find it hard realising I am nuts, and being intelligent enough to realise it. It's like someone who still has their mind, but are losing their physical abilities. I sit back watching the train wreck happen without being able to do much about it. And yes, my ego is big enough to admit that I am intelligent.

I've really lost motivation to run. It was the one thing that enabled me to escape my thoughts. But the world began to intrude on my running too. People who think they have the right to whout their ignorance at me, biting dogs, speeding clyclists.
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Took my photographs to be framed. The owner of the store liked them, and asked if I would be interested in having them on display for potential sale, in their gallery, they would take a commission. It would be great to sell some of my photos. To think that someone would like to have an image of mine on their wall would be a good feeling; that someone else might sense the joy and peace I felt when I took these photos. My photos might be good enough to hang on someone's walls. This afternoon I felt like a photographer, a seascape photographer. It is who I am, and no-one can detract from that.

I ran 10km this morning, my longest run for several months. I was really tired for the rest of the day. I didn't sleep well, I am worried abut work, I have a performance review coming up, which will be hard with my anxiety. I have this untested fear that they are planning to get rid of me.
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People have signatures, they are unique like fingerprints, the good, the bad, the ordindary. They leave an imprint of themselves, how they live, what they say, who they link with, their achievements, their struggles. It is so easy to give people labels, particularly those suffering mental illness. Weird, strange, lazy. People are more complicated than that if you scratch the surface. They are unique and so are the lives they lead, like a sunrise, like each new day.

I saw an interesting show on the ABC about Kerry Packer, an Australia billionaire. Many have labelled him, and not so flatteringly, with his reputation for anger and perhaps greed. I was fascinated to see that he was a complicated man, with much more depth than the media gave him credit. He confided to a friend that he had a black hole at the heart of him. That struck me most of all. He liked to give money to charity anonymously. He was driven by fears and desires.

I also read an interesting story about a middle-aged woman who suffered from Anexoria nervosa. She ran everywhere. She eventually lost her life to it.

They're the stories I am interested in. The struggles people have and how they react. I feel empathy to people like that, it makes them unique and ultimately more human. I also helps in trying to come to the terms with the battles I face, the signature of life I am leading. As unique and as human s anyone else. When I learn of other people's battles, often very similar, it makes me feel more human and less alone.
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Nearly every morning as I begin to wake up, I feel a despair spreading through me, about who I am and my life. And it continues as the day progresses. Worrying about what my neighbours talking about me, to scared to go out into the common property when anyone else is around. Trapped where I live, in a big hole I have dug myself into. Feeling that I deserve better, but not knowing where to even start to be able to change.

I bought a new pair of running shoes, my others where falling apart. All the seawater, I get into them had made the glue on the heel work loose. So I was at the shoe shop and the salesperson was a helpful guy, it turned out he liked photography too, was into time lapse photography. He even showed me some of his work on his I phone, of the moon coming up over the sea. He wanted a camera like the one I had. Even after a positive conversation like that I felt drained, analysing everything I said. I was impressed by the saleperson and his confidence to be open enough to talk about his interest. So different to the person I have become, where all forms of communication are fearful.

Later I went out with my 400mm lens to take photos of birds. As I was walking around the heaviness and despair was dragging me into the ground. A warm autumn day, no clouds, but very humid, and I was sweating. I walked into the Bot Gardens along the Creek trail and mangrove boardwalk. Then I saw a Royal Spoonbill foraging amongst the mangroves. I got my lens out but the bird was too far away to get a decent photo.

I kept walking and came out to a clearing near an artificial lake. A wedding reception was in progress. I could hear speeches being given on a microphone, then My Happiness, by Powderfinger played on the loud speakers. In the artificial lake there were coots, Mountain Ducks, Dusky moorhens, Black Ducks, White-eyed Ducks, Purple Swamphens. I saw a Darter its large wings held out to dry, its S-shaped neck moving around, a concerned yellow eye looking at me.

"Hurry, hurry, wings, come on and dry." It's body language was saying, so I can escape the human walking towards me. I got a few photos, and eventually the poor old Darter took heavily to the air, like a plane with ice on its wings.

The Coots and Ducks were reasonably tame and I got some decent photos of them. I really liked the late afternoon reflections on the water. Soft greens and yellows, deep blue of sky, the distorted blood red of a red bridge that goes over the middle of the lake. A group of Black Cormorant sitting on rocks eventually also took off at my approach.

Then I saw a whopping huge water lily, with a pink flower and big round leaves, almost a metre across, with the red edges upturned and the fleshy leaves on the undersurface.

As I took these photos my despair started to lift, my thoughts were distracted. I love doing this, it is a joy to me. There seems to be such a dichotomy between the labels people have for me, as weird and strange, and my love of things of beauty in nature. I may be as hopeless as some people think, but I love this, it brings me such joy. It is a good/creative thing to do. This is who I am, not the ****ing labels I am given. This is my battle and I want to keep fighting, for moments like this afternoon when my thoughts are distracted and I feel joy. That's what keeps me alive.

It is 7:30am. There is a local cross country race on soon. I have been lying awake worrying about how I can possibly cope with the social side of this, before and after the start. I plan on standing back from everyone, not saying anything, not looking at anyone. There are good people there, and they might want to talk to me, but I feel too fearful to be up to that. I've lost motivation to train so I will not race, only go for a jog at the back of the pack.

For weeks I have been thinking I will go to this race, and run it on my own terms. After that I can objectively decided whether running in local races is something I really enjoy or not.

Most people are OK, I just don't understand them, they cause me complication and pain. Or maybe it is the thoughts about people that cause me complication and pain. I can do without those thoughts.
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Yesterday there was some drama at my units. I had just finished my run and was walking down the service station to get a drink. A Police paddy wagon slowed down at the top of my drive. They saw me and sped up and kept on driving by. At the bottom of the hill, the Paddy Wagon pulled over and asked me what units I had come out of. I told them the number. They were responding to a noise complaint, and trying to narrow down were it was coming from. I told them on many mornings a young male starts screaming at the tops of his lungs for about 10-15 minutes, as if he was really angry at something. I used to wonder if he was locked out of the unit. They thought the noise was coming from unit 5 or 7. I am in unit 7. I said it wasn't me.

I got an orange soft drink and returned to the units. The Paddy Wagon was parked at the bottom of the drive. When I put some garbage out, I noticed an ambulance at the top of the drive. I guess the screaming was probably drug or mental health related. Perhaps psychosis brought on by amphetamine use.

It kind of made me sad that so much pain lies just under the surface of the suburban façade. The Police must see some horrible things during their job, dealing with people at their worst.

I was glad they didn't come knocking on my door, because I live in a mess. I've lived like a hermit for so long, and I'd be ashamed to have anyone see inside my place at the moment. It is one of my biggest challenges, I have begun to make an effort, but sometimes it seems like an insurmountable task.
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