Thursday, 21 February 2013

... Be Grateful for Volunteers

for Volunteers
If you stop for a moment and think about the work volunteers do in your community, you'll realise just how many organisations and clubs and societies use volunteers in all sorts of ways.
  I am particularly thinking of some people in our little country town who have been heroes this week. You see, we are in drought conditions here, with no rain forecast and windy conditions. The countryside is scorched brown, there are water shortages and feed for the farm animals is scarce.
  Three days ago a scrub fire broke out on the shores of the harbour near here. It took hold in the night and swept through conservation land. Since then, many hectares have burnt. Helicopters with monsoon buckets were brought in to drop water on the flames. Fire fighters had been actively fighting the fire for two days, and once it was brought under control yesterday, they've been dampening down hotspots, dealing with flare-ups and keeping watch over the area. 
   The fire fighters in our town are all volunteers. When the emergency siren goes, they leave their jobs or homes, whatever time of the day or night, to rush to the fire station and go where needed - to a vehicle accident, to a medical emergency, to a fire.
  These last few days for them have been extra hot, stressful, tiring and dangerous. I am so grateful that we have such volunteers in our area.  

Sunday, 17 February 2013

... to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Port Albert on the Kaipara Harbour
I often go down to Port Albert to sit and read or write. I like being beside the water and it's not far from home. And there are huge flocks of birds there - oyster catchers and pied stilts especially which I like to observe. 
   This photo looks lovely, doesn't it? But it's not always so picturesque. When the tide is out, it looks like this:

Low tide at the wharf

And that's when I step out of my comfort zone. You see, I hate heights and the long wharf stands high above the mud flats at low tide. And I have this silly irrational fear that I'm going to have an Alice in Wonderland "Shrink me" type moment & fall through the gaps between the boards! Which was not helped by an official hazard sign on the shore stating the obvious - that you could fall off the wharf and drown!
  But today there were kingfishers at the end of the jetty, landing then flying and diving for fish, going round and round from the handrails to the water and back again. And I wanted to photograph them so, clutching the rail tightly and stepping ever so slowly, I made the long walk from the shore to the end of the wharf.
   By which time the kingfishers had seen me coming and abandoned the area completely!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

... for Words of Comfort

It has been a very sad three weeks with the death of a close friend. I have found it difficult to write while I grieve for her, and confront my own mortality. 
   Today I found a quotation, in the poem 'Auguries of Innocence' by William Blake, that, in a strange way, was oddly comforting.

    Man was made for joy and woe;
    And when this we rightly know
    Through the world we safely go.

I hope these words may be a comfort to you if you need them.