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Winning the battle

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WINNING THE BATTLE

~Nicole Martin

I am sitting here in silence and darkness and strangely I am still alert.
It’s very rare that this happens at this time of night without me instantly fighting sleep-life is never predictable.
It’s like the hammer has ceased banging my head into the ground, and I am able to reflect without distraction.

The boys are all asleep-it’s been a long day for them. I ran around earlier and put clean sheets on the beds, closed all the windows and turned on the air conditioning. There is something about making the environment nice for my boys, that is quietly satisfying as a wife and mother. Not sure what that is, or where it comes from. Instinct?

Perhaps it’s the feeling of tucking them in, and knowing they are safe and resting comfortably under my modest little tin roof, that draws out the deepest, most raw sense of security and relief within my subconscious me.

Relief that we’ve all been blessed to get through another day.

Relief that I’ve managed to drag my way through work and school lunches and dishes and school bags and dirty clothes just well enough for all to be content, whilst they rest under warm doona’s in the crispest of sheets in the coolest of aircon, in a blissfully unconscious and unbothered state of sleep.

I stare at them.

Look at how tightly closed their eyes are. Look at their little heads soaking up the softness of their pillow below. Look at their hair, all young and thick and all over the place, falling as it pleases, and resting exactly where it lands.

They breathe softly whilst their now big boy bodies concentrate on growing into men. I bought them that bed, and those pyjamas, and that pillow. I am proud that we as parents have managed to do that, when we had no idea what we were doing-at first. I am relieved, that despite the challenges we have faced as parents, and all of the problems we never managed to solve, they have grown up anyway, and they’re ok.

And now I will join my boys and share in their journey of subconscious bliss until tomorrow. When it all starts over, and the wheel once again groans and then quickly gains momentum, turning in time with life. All are forced to jump aboard and fend for themselves dodging obstacles, passing through fields of yellow daffodils, collecting money as they pass go, and heading to jail in times of bad luck.

But the wheel will always stop. Giving us time to reflect on the chaos, and allowing us to realise that the peace that happens every now and then, is the result, of winning the battle.

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The Love Of A Fisherman

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THE LOVE OF A FISHERMAN

I caught sight of his hat, but only fleetingly as he was on the move to find the perfect spot. I followed patiently, hoping this ‘perfect spot’ was somewhere close by as the hike over the ocean washed rocks was beginning to wear thin…for me-but the journey no matter how rough, was clearly, not a bother for my fisherman.

I stop, and re-evaluate my position.

There he is, standing one hundred metres away, bare foot, holding the brand new rod he’s been so excited to try out, appearing to be content with his carefully chosen fishing spot…or not? He moved on, once again.

It’s funny, we can’t converse, yet he’s in my sight, so I feel like things are ok.

I followed him here, to this new place we hadn’t explored before. The idea, was that I could take photos and he could fish, but he took off in the excitement and yelled back at me-

“I’ll be on the rocks somewhere”

I simply replied

“Ok”

…but I followed him.

I struggled to keep up. He was a good 5 minutes ahead of me, it was hot, and the rocks were sharp, their edges poking into my rubber thongs. Gosh if I hadv’e known, I would have worn decent shoes-on second thoughts, how boring. I have much more fun when I don’t plan. When I just end up somewhere and attempt to negotiate my way through whatever presents itself.

The sand was course and scratched the delicate suburban skin in between my toes. A few little white waves dumped sand on me as they washed over my feet in an attempt to make it to shore, just as they had done, over and over for a million or more years. They did not care about my precious feet.

My mind drifted back to the sign on the beach.

‘Achtung!’ -Beware of the crocodiles, stay well away from the waters edge.’

Well I clearly read THAT sign, as I was currently IN the water, but only for a moment. I read somewhere crocs have to watch you for a while first, make sure you’re not going to move, and then plan their attack. Right? The water was nice, and somehow didn’t seem the place for a crocodile.

Quickly, I leapt onto the next rock ledge escaping the breaking waves and apparent reptilian danger, and once again scanned the foreshore for my fisherman.

He was over thereeeeeeeeeeeee.

I caught him peering in my direction, and immediately took the opportunity to send a message. Unfortunately, my little human self kicked in and I threw my hands in the air as if to say-

“Well are you ever going to stop so I can catch up or are we walking to Tasmania?”

He gestured back-

“Well I’m fine, what’s YOUR problem?”

My heart smiled for a second, one hundred and fifty percent subconsciously, but I caught the thought mid-flight and realised-He was being him, and I was being me, how blissfully normal.

The unrelenting wind was not my friend. I had a new hat on which was determined to fly away, hence one hand was occupied dealing with IT, and the other was flat out just trying to balance on the cliff face. I was also beginning to wonder how long my rubber thongs would hold out on the rocky surface, fully expecting to feel a knife like jab into the underside of my foot at any second, but sometimes our $5-00 little gems never die. An expensive pair wouldv’e snapped instantly, guaranteed.

Content my fisherman wasn’t going anywhere for a while, I decided to stay put and focused on finding shelter from the elements.

Two large rocks a little climb away, filled that job description nicely. They provided a little patch of shade and a small wind break. I threw my towel down as floor covering and sat, and took in the sea air whilst waiting for him.

Not a bad spot, if it were’nt for the ants who rapidly invaded my territory, the heat, the wind, the danger of reptilian attack, and the inability to reach my fisherman, that stood on the rocks, bare foot, with his fishing shirt and his hat, only 100 metres away, thinking of nothing other than whether or not the fish were biting.

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Behana Gorge-Tropical North Queensland

I compiled this slideshow from my recent trip to Behana Gorge outside of Gordonvale. My strongest recollection is of the temperature of the water, something out of character for the waters to be this cold, this far north. It took me almost 20 minutes to get in, but when I did, it was invigorating. Why I do not do things like this more often, I don’t know.

 

 

 

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The Challenge of Storytelling

Do artists-musicians, writers, painters, designers, intend simply to portray an accurate version of their own personal interpretation?
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Or do they create to inspire? To evoke a whole rainbow of new visions and emotions.
It is difficult to portray the feeling of a place through a photograph.  I have attempted here to capture a small dimension of the wondrous natural beauty of the Australian bushland surrounding Lake Tinaroo, and the luscious farmland set within a bed of fertile soil, abound by rolling hills.
A two dimensional image however, fails in many ways to do a scene justice,  for it relies on only one of our senses-sight.
The scent of the rich earth after the rainfall we had overnight, made me want to taste the ground and when I wound down the window of my car, the cool breeze felt instantly vibrant, something my habitual utilisation of air conditioning disguises. How nice to smell the country air, and to feel the breeze on my skin.
The sounds, everywhere and nowhere, were what really relaxed me. A combination of deathly silence, and then the beautiful musicality in the trees above. Birds sang and flipped and flapped around doing their thing, completely oblivious to the fact Donald Trump is all over the news-what a pleasure-I soaked up all that surrounded me, like it was medicine…yet a photograph does not tell this story, now does it?
It simply gives you a starting point. It’s akin to the front cover of a novel. It leaves you with an impression, which either triggers interest or indifference-the potential to lose the true meaning-originating in the mind of the photographer is high
as it’s quickly lost in the viewers individual interpretation.
But does it really matter?
Do artists-musicians, writers, painters, designers, intend simply to portray an accurate version of their own personal interpretation?
Or do they create to inspire? To evoke a whole rainbow of new visions and emotions.
When I took these shots on the banks of Tinaroo, it was about 6:00 pm. There was a cold breeze, yet I chose to wear a flimsy shirt and allow myself to feel the wind run through me.
It was darkening quickly. There were clouds threatening to drop rain, settling above the Lake. The usual music of the bird life was playing in the background, but my focus was on the howling wind, and the associated loneliness that came with that. There was not a sole around. Just me, and the rippling waves of what water was left in the parched Lake.
I hope you enjoy the photos I have prepared, if only the cover page of a story untold, yet a story that lives in the mind of a solitary soul.

For Photos Click Here

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The so-called imperfections you see in your face are some of your most alluring features-because they are you.

Faces

‘I love its vulnerability, it’s impossibly human position. I love how it reaches out, willingly or not, sucks the breath out of your lungs and pulls you in…’

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They carry on their surface, the angles, shapes and colours that collectively unify to create an outward appearance;

yet the story

The unique, impossibly raw and beautiful story

is embedded within it’s character.

Faces cannot lie.

Can you see who is the person that lies behind the face when they meet your eyes?

Can you see their powerful individualism that is their reality?

I love a happy face

One that has warmth and sunshine pinned to its smile. One that smothers you with its bright yellow rays and wraps itself around your every breathing cell

Every happy face, is a beautiful face.

I love a sad face

I love its vulnerability, it’s impossibly human position. I love how it reaches out, willingly or not, sucks the breath out of your lungs and pulls you in

Every sad face, is a beautiful face

Perhaps one of our failings as a human race is our perception of beauty

Our perception that character, and the insuppressible beauty of uniqueness is imperfection

Overwhelmingly, the most alluring quality in a face is its powerful mystique

It’s honesty, it’s visible reflection of the soul, it’s unquantifiable energy, it’s stunning uniqueness, it’s story

The character in a face is the epitome of human perfection-beauty beyond definition,

for it cannot be measured.

Faces blooming with emotion, life and character have endless depth and come with infinite interpretations and possibilities, unlike the finite form of perceived physical beauty.

In the words of Amy Bloom-

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed.

And you are beautiful.”

Portraits

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Opposites

As the mountain darkens with the dimming light of day the skeletons of the past emerge from behind the trees that cover it’s surface as black as night it hides yet it’s eyes are wide op…

Source: Opposites

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Morning

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Morning

This was my morning yesterday.

It was not my usual introduction to the day-coffee, toast, shower, work.

Bravo, something different from the daily routine-a little rock climbing, a lot of mosquito swatting, an accumulation of sweat on my brow, and an elevated heart rate as a result of balancing my camera equipment, my car keys and my phone whilst positioned literally a millimetre from the edge of this stream.

All in order to

Get the shot”

The images captured this morning are by no means new to the world, or a unique activity to anyone else’s morning, but in my own words…

 

There is nothing in this world that hasn’t already been done, or photographed, or thought of, yet there are many, many, brilliant new perspectives. A myriad of unique pairs of eyes and differently configured neurons, that ensure we are stunningly different from every other soul on this earth.

And that is the secret to an increasingly colouful world, with light and shade and fascination and sustained interest in outdated tricks-

Authenticity,

New perspectives,

New eyes…

 

More photos from this morning’s shoot here

 

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Through your eyes…

 

Through your eyes…

I don’t remember being informed at any stage in my life that to achieve optimal results as a photographer, one must not only be a contortionist, but several other things as well.

One must be spiderman.

I mean today for example, it was necessary to be in a partucular place that required me to literally stick to the rocks and balance with no hands as I attempted to haul my camera equipment down a tortuous path. I can see how easily an expensive camera could be smashed into smitherines in one miniscule lapse of concentration.

One needs to have the patience of a Tibetan monk.

Let’s face it, there are so many variables. Light, co-operation, the perfect f-stop, iso, shutter speed and shooting mode for the scene…and when shooting wildlife, lots and lots and lots of luck.

One needs to be mozzie proof.

When out in the bush near a river, the bitey things love to sink their teeth into one’s skin whilst one is trying to remain still-this is a no brainer for me-I’m out of there like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Today I decided to shoot a little waterfall by the name of Crystal Cascades in Cairns.

Yawn, I hear you say. Who hasn’t seen a million, zillion photographs of a waterfall? I know I have, and generally I am totally bored by them.

Yet the flip side, is that nobody has seen a photograph of a waterfall with my eyes behind the lens.

There is nothing in this world that hasn’t already been done, or photographed, or thought of, yet there are many, many, brilliant new perspectives. A myriad of unique pairs of eyes and differently configured neurons, that ensure we are stunningly different from every other soul on this earth.

And that is the secret to an increasingly colouful world, with light and shade and fascination and sustained interest in outdated tricks.

Authenticity,

New perspectives,

New eyes…

So when you yawn, and view these two dimensional images of an over photographed waterfall, remember, I had to wear a spiderman suit, to capture them…

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Paws

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Paws

🍃

Two feet

sleep

in peace

and despite their stillness

divinity is…

because, 

they carry one family

by simply existing.

There are no offerings

of money

or magic words

or promised tomorrow’s 

 but within them

lives

a potent essence 

of the 

purist 

simplicity…

a sentiment like bees to honey

in this wicked 

complicated

world. 

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Triathlon

 

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The Triathlon I did on the weekend…

Every step of the run felt like sandpaper slowly scraping the skin off my toes. I thought seriously about stopping, taking my shoes off and wiping away the grains that were responsible, but wasn’t keen on losing time, and then there was the risk of losing all motivation to continue…

I competed in an Olympic distance triathlon today (1.5km/40km/10km) ‘Twas a bit of a rash decision to say the least, no training for 7 weeks post the Cairns 70.3 Swim and Cycle legs (1.9km/90km), but I was interested to see just how much fitness I had lost in this time, and of course I was adding in a run.

The shower was hot. Nice, but the sting inside my blistered, nicely sandpapered toes was something comparable to childbirth-That may be a slight over exaggeration, but I think you get the point. My sun tinged shoulders and face screamed the moment the drops of water cascaded across their surface-and then I exhaled.

It was a spectacular Far North Winters day. Sun, blue skies despite some patchy rain, and warmth that was conducive to casual dress-but it was the water temperature that was worrying me. I despise swimming in cold water. Makes me feel like I’m in Antarctica imitating a seal or something-I am NOT a seal. Or a penguin for that matter, but the water was ok…in fact it was the least of my problems.

“Mum. Let’s go for a cycle” Xavier piped

Now let me just say, he never says that.

It’s like ripping out his appendix with no anaesthetic to get him to ride, but today, he chooses to ask when I am a shattered woman.

“Are you serious Xav?”

“Hmm. No not really, but can you take me to the Esplanade because I need to catch some pokemon’s.

It is very windy on the Nade today. Windy August I call it, so I’m hiding in a nice little sheltered spot, writing this, whilst the ‘lighty’-translation for non Zimbabweans-young child-runs around with a small square object in his hands, dodging all the other Pokemon hunters, trying to avoid collisions with trees and dangerous moving objects, pressing random buttons and apparently catching little teddy bear things that give him points and the uttermost satisfaction with life-I’ll never understand how this game has become globally viral with millions of people across cultures, nationalities, and races, transfixed. It makes international political warfare a total joke-just give them Pokemon.

…whoever knew the secret to happiness was that simple-well kids of course, that’s who…and dogs, who do similar things with tennis balls-run after them and don a smile so big you’d swear their tongue was going to fall out.

The swim was lovely, a few waves, a bit of nausea, but I hadn’t lost that much, and I was grateful. The cycle was another story.

Me and my $500 buck second hand Aluminium bicycle had arguments with the headwind, although having said this, I thought I was fairing quite well, considering. I did notice that there were less and less cyclists on the course and I began to feel suspicious that I wasn’t as fast as I thought I was.

I approached the last turnaround and the marshall lady person, was standing in the middle of the road…

“Are you in the race?”

I was flabbergasted.

“Yes?” I yelled

“Oh. Well then are you in a team love?”

“No?” I yelled again.

What is with this lady? I mean it wasn’t as if I was the only competitor left on the course. There was one man, he didn’t quite fit on his seat properly, but he was there, and there was a bloke having a little rest while he replied his tyre, then there was the lady. Plenty of people left, I thought. I have no idea who she was, as I couldn’t see her face. It was covered. With her hair. Her visibility must have been appalling.

It’s a massive reality check when all one wants to do is go home, lick ones wounds, feel sorry for oneself for a while, beg for sympathy, shower and curl up in bed, but instead, the ball of life keeps rolling and one ends up enduring gale force winds, in the sun, buying cinnamon donuts and milkshakes for the love of a little Pokemon hunter and his happiness.

I only have one word for the run leg;

Sandpaper.

No, I can think of a few more- I am not a one word person, except when I’m extremely tired (sometimes not even then) or extremely grumpy;

Snail pace, hot (Cairns residents are lying when they tell you it’s winter. We never have winter, just less of a summer), strangely satisfying-in a kind of painful sadistic kind of way, and complete.

Yes. I completed it, which is what I was aiming to do.

The time is largely irrelevant to me, but humans generally don’t understand words…what they want is numbers.

Final time?

2:43 Hours.

Thank goodness it wasn’t over 3, and thank goodness I trusted myself enough to enter, regardless of my fitness status quo; for the experience, the camaraderie, the fresh ocean air, and the sympathy I am hoping to receive for the blisters…they really are quite big…huge, no they’re huge.

Thanks to all my friends who supported me.

XN

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What I learned about what’s ‘Normal’, and what’s not…

What I learned about what’s ‘Normal’ and what’s not…

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I was thinking to myself the other day-Now this could’ve been a couple of days ago, or it quite possibly could’ve been a couple of years ago…’the other day’…usually refers to a day in the ‘recent past’, but to me, it’s just

〰some other day other than today〰 🤓

So I was thinking…the other day, that I was a little different. A little different from the happy days socially desirable housewife who cooks and cleans and irons and smiles her way through a perfect welcome when everyone comes home from work and school.

I reflect upon this often and ask myself regularly why I don’t seem to have the emotional energy for the vacuum cleaner, or the ceiling fans or the window sills. Sure, I give them attention from time to time, but they’re about as important to me as those little dust collectors I’ve accumulated over the years that stare at me everyday from my mantle piece, begging to either be noticed, or put out of their misery and thrown to the bottom of a deep pit.

I ask you, does it make you a shmuck if your hobby is to stare out the window, rather than clean it?

I don’t know the answer to this question, however I suspect it’s subjective nature would welcome a myriad of colourful replies.

I found myself living ‘the day after’ ‘the other day’…and I was enlightened by the wisdom of a great man.

He said-💬

“You know there is actually no such thing as normal or average. Those things only exist in books. There is only YOU and Me and Fred and Mary…and normal is total bollocks, and thank God this is so, or we’d all die of commoners disease”

So I’m not going to box myself in as ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ or “bent” or “misbehaved” or anything else that has a dreaded name or label that perpetuates expectation or lack thereof, and I’m simply going to call myself Nicole.

It is what it is…

Right?

 

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Don’t tell me I can’t

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She writes,

yet her writing does not appeal to her year 12 English teacher.

“English is not your subject”

…and so, she follows the path of Science

“because you’re better at that”

and yet, 20 years later, when she no longer listens,

she writes anyway.

Because that is what is inside of her

because she has ‘stuff’ to say

because she has ‘stuff’ to share

and because she has a heart for it.

Literary brilliance, literary magnetism, literary success,

is about passion, and truth, and reality.

It’s about perseverance

and  belief

and sharing

and  risk

It’s about throwing away the rule book

…and daring to be free

It’s about blocking your ears to the entire universe

in order to unlock the gates to yours.

It’s rebelling against the world with prose

It’s making peace with one’s thoughts

It’s about you

and no-one else,

and having the strength to expose yourself to vulnerability, and failure, and fear and judgement.

It’s about believing, that if your year 12 English teacher says you can’t, it’s not the end.

Because it’s never over, until YOU say so

and if you truly, truly, want it…

you absolutely can. 

…and so she writes. 

 

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A pen and paper is all I have…

The power has gone out
a pen and paper is all I have.
My phone is dead, so that’s out.
I am hungry, yet the toaster doesn’t work-no power
I feel like a coffee, yet the kettle has no charge.

So I kick start the gas-to boil some water
…for coffee
But the ignitor is not working.

Matches

I run for the matches.

One, two, three strikes and I’m out.

The matches won’t light, they must be wet, from the rain.
Darn it.
I try another box, and another, and another, and another…

Bingo.

The rain pours down outside.
I snap a shot or two, but the camera gets wet.

Steam rattles the pot lid,

Tink, tink, tink…

My coffee is hot, I add condensed milk-smooth and sweet.

It’s dark today, and it feels lifeless without the usual subtle sounds that electricity brings.

Now. To cook toast on my gas stove.

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Facebook or not?

FACEBOOK OR NOT?

It’s a question that’s crossed my mind on several occasions over the years, and even more so recently.

Many of my friends have let go of the Facebook fad, in favour of either a social media free lifestyle, or the more refined versions such as Instagram, which tend to contain less ‘shared’ media streaming and adverts.

I guess people have had a gut full of sharing into others lives and in the meantime, not really living theirs.

Is that it?

A quiet, more private life, like it used to be, certainly has its appeal, however I’d miss the interaction with those that know me.

…and I’d never, ever, know how my dear old friends were, or even, where they were. I’d never know my extended family who live abroad, yet now, I can hear of their adventures.

So what keeps me IN then if almost everybody has left the table whilst some of us are still dining?

Connection.

I guess, it’s important to find one’s personal balance that suits one’s personality and lifestyle, and it’s important to recognise, when it’s suffocating our opportunity to get out and live.

One thing’s for sure, we are all different on that front!

So until next time,

Cheers fellow diners…who’s for dessert?

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Opposites

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As the mountain darkens with the dimming light of day

the skeletons of the past emerge from behind the trees that cover it’s surface

as black as night it hides

yet it’s eyes are wide open.

 The fluffy crimson sky that floats freely above it’s apex however,

provides comfort inside fiercely beating hearts

by lifting ones eyes from the solidified deadened black,  up into the endless scarlet wonderland and beyond into the infinite blue.

~Nicole Martin

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Why I Don’t Write Anymore

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WHY I DON’T WRITE ANYMORE-The rise and fall of the flame

-Nicole Martin

It’s been a very long time since I’ve put pen to paper-or to be truthful, keys to iPad screen.

I used to love to tell a story. I still do, I guess…yet I’ve discovered over the years, that if the words are not there, they are not meant to be written. Forced writing is bloody aweful. Reading it, is not dissimilar to enduring a boring speech written by someone other than the speaker, and delivered by a less than willing participant who’s connection with the topic is zip. There’s no resonance, it’s unauthentic, and it’s dishonest.

If I believe my writing is not honest, if it’s not truly me, then it’s not storytelling and it’s not truth. It’s just worthless words that mean nothing, and a serious waste of the reader’s time.

So if I have nothing to say-It is what it is.

In the interim, I am delighted to adorn my canvas with the images of a Tropical Paradise-a peacefully silent method of storytelling. A potentially powerful means by which to connect the viewer to their heartstrings and memories in their own unique way. This relatively new journey of imagery has highlighted the need for me to refine the art, and challenge myself further in order to achieve the outcome I so passionately desire-connection.

For the real magic in life is all about connection is it not?

That raging passion, that unconscionable excitement, that unwavering drive to attack the previously believed unattainable, is all about connection.

Ultimately, if there is no connection, there is nothing but an empty space that lingers, and the impossibly human need to fill it with something more meaningful, subconsciously gnaws.

I have decided, that despite my wavering interests, I will go with whatever my heart tells me to do at that particular moment in time. Life is not a prison. We are free to change our minds, lose interest in what we previously enjoyed, adopt a new challenge, connect with new friends, and birth new goals, with no need for justification, but simply an acceptance and a fresh appreciation for the new.

On the flip side, I have been known to fumble around vaguely for decades, continuously searching for what drives me, continuously searching for a magic connection, or whatever the phrase is…only to discover I have unknowingly circumnavigated my universe and ended up right back where it all began-My unique connection to the outside world-and yours-has always been within me-yet in disguise. Disguised by the freedom of youth, disguised by not having suffered yet, disguised by family values and beliefs, disguised by societal expectation, disguised by limited understanding of self.

So where does that leave me today?

Well, who would’ve thought. I’m writing again…and as I continue to dream and tackle the world, in peace with my dog, all is good and all is exciting, and scary and new and old and uncertain and connected.

Here’s to a pushing the next boundary!

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Creativity-The Pathway to Peace

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The Spectacular Cairns Esplanade, Australia

‘Living creatively is to burn the demons that plague us’

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WordPress Photo Challenge

-Nicole Martin

In my spare time, which is rare these days, I throw myself into creating imagery. Whether through reflective prose or photography, creating resonance between image and reader in a way that is special to them, is paramount to the success of my work.

It’s a hobby-I guess you could say, although it’s how I would love to spend the rest of my days, drowning in my creative mind, and enriching my life experience.

Living creatively is to burn the demons that plague us

-the direct result of living in an impossibly insane world.

 

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You Can

 

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-Nicole Martin

It was a long, slow walk to the soccer oval tonight.

‘Twas dusk, easily my favourite time of day. Birds skydiving from tree to earth, to earth to tree-nattering happily-pleasant colours in the sky, a drop in temperature, and a plethora of happy people playing sport, socialising, walking their dogs, or simply taking in the fresh air before they settle in for the upcoming evenings agenda.

Dragging my feet, I had to concentrate on placing one foot in front of the other, if I was to make it to where I wanted to go. My legs, it seemed, were on strike.

Usually, I strut down the footpath, in view of making it home as quickly as possible.

Not today.

I noticed a park bench and turned in its direction, with the immediate thought of taking a seat. Now that’s unusual-I caught myself thinking-as I rarely sit down anywhere, let alone on a piece of uncomfortable wooden furniture in the bushes-but today I considered it.

Exhaustion was overwhelming me.

Sometimes I wonder why we do it to ourselves. Why we push our bodies to train and train and train.

Often, I find myself thinking-never again…but there always seems to be another ‘again’.

I’ve come to the conclusion, that it’s the challenge.

The challenge, to get back on the bike, or get back in the water, or run a few more kilometres when one is totally broken.

When one curses the headwind over and over with absolute resignation, and the potholes, and the long, windy road that never ends.

When one feels they can’t possibly make one more arm revolution-but then they do.

When the sweat pours off one’s face and falls to the bitumen below, only to be left behind as we move forward,

When we struggle to consume enough water to quench our dying thirst.

When the shortness of breath under the water, convinces us we’re obnoxiously unfit and will never make a swimmer-and we’re a complete idiot for even thinking so, but we talk to our mind and our rhythm returns, and we leave the cursing self doubt in our wake.

It’s about kicking the butt’s of our doubtful minds, and traveling beyond our limits.

It’s about being proud of ourselves for not allowing the best of us to be over.

It’s about convincing ourselves, we’re not dead yet.

It’s about ignoring the critics, the downers, the history books, the self doubt or whatever is stopping us and tapping into our deepest pocket of self belief and will and extracting the enormous desire within us, to finally win.

To win the battle of ‘I can’t’… When really…

‘We can’

WordPress Daily Prompt

Purpose

Featured

The Best Of You

 

 

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“She felt she was nothing more than a consumer, nothing more than the sum of her daily obligations and duties”

-Elizabeth Gilbert

-yet it didn’t have to be that way.

After a lengthy period of internal struggle and desperation, she snuck one toe across the invisible line. The line separating fear and courage. The line separating conformist and individual.

Here, she discovered she was so much more than she believed she was.

She gave herself permission to nurture her passions despite her fear of judgement. To do what she needed to do to despite her guilt or her perceived lack of ability.

-and the flood gates opened.

The flood gates that were cleverly concealing a universe of possibilities that were alive inside her, yet not realised.

She crossed the line. She went to the other side that society said was only for the talented, the gifted, the wealthy and the beautiful-but she crossed it with her eyes open, carrying fear on her back, yet shielded by a steadfast armour of determination and courage.

At times, she catches herself peering over her shoulder, looking back at the comfort that was-but she remembers.

She remembers this comfort was the devil that was stifling her ability to truly live and to grow, and to be free, and to love herself and to feel like a human being that’s unique and worthy of a contribution.

So try.

Give yourself permission to uncover the gems that already lie within.

Run across the line, and take what you truly deserve to have.

The best of you.

Inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt

Purpose

Featured

Under a Cairns Sky

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UNDER A CAIRNS SKY

The red almost burns my eyes but I can’t look away. I stare at it, excited…square to sitting quietly in the dark admiring Christmas tree lights when I should be sleeping.

Flabbergasted.

Flabbergasted at how quickly the colour collapses below the horizon.

It’s on show stopping hearts, bringing souls together, inspiring young dreamers, in all it’s heavenly glory-and then it’s not.

Just like that.

‘Please stay’ my inner child pleads…

-but as much as I long for its extended presence, I know it has to go.

But life’s like that though isn’t it?

My shoulders sink, unknowingly, as the red world before me, is replaced with the familiar grey of night, and I automatically turn to continue the routine of life. It’s just an involuntary reflex-the sunken shoulder thing-in response to the anti-climax of a disappearing sunset.

Perhaps tomorrow, It’ll be my turn again, to sit in the front row and watch.

Watch the colours change, from yellows to pinks to reds to greys to blues and then, to the black of night.

Perhaps not.

If not, I’m ok with that-because I can always say

I’ve been privileged enough, to see this one.

Sky

Featured

Bedtime Stories

BEDTIME STORIES

Honestly, I know I’m tired when I jump into bed at night, teeth brushed, earrings out, pyjamas on, mouth guard in, perfume applied…pardon? Perfume applied? Did I imagine I was on my way to work? Did I imagine I was going out on the town? Did I think anything at all? -I think not. I simply splashed a couple of pumps on my neck of the old ‘little black dress’ , dilly daddled for a bit, organised myself nicely, complimented myself on how sweet I Was smelling tonight and then the cogs turned. Are you serious Nicole? What the heck? Why in goodness’s name did you just put perfume on?

It scares me that I can zone out so easily. Autopilot kicks in on my way to work some days also. I’ll walk in the doors and it will suddenly occur to me my concentration had been on planet boonga
for the last half an hour, and I had little recollection of the journey to work. I always feel I’ve forgotten to do something vital at this point…like brush my hair, or put on a bra-you know that kind of rush into work thing and then discover your phone is at home, or you left the dog in the house….or the kids :))

Featured

Beyond 40-Honestly, the best is yet to come.

I’ve been spending some relaxing yet remarkably challenging hours on my photography of late. 

A new lens has inspired me to tackle portrait, yet I’m not certain it’s my forte. It’s funny how things change. Twenty years ago, I never would have imagined I’d be heading in a creative direction. I studied Science at University, and then Intensive Care Nursing. I had no interest whatsoever in writing or story telling through imagery-yet now, creativity is the air that I breathe. It came to me,  I did NOT go to it. I often wonder how and why an interest that was previously so foreign and uninteresting to me, became what it is today-A lifeline. 

As I’ve matured, my increasing awareness of the world around me and the deeper relationship I have developed with myself, has greatly altered my perception of self contentment and satisfaction. 

The innocence of youth relies on grandiose dreams, great achievement, the hope of financial success and stability and engagement in self interests in order to bring about contentment, self satisfaction and pride. Those whose youthful years are approaching water under the bridge, place less emphasis on the big and more and more on the small. Call it reading between the lines if you will or  a slightly broader minded perception on what’s important to them.  

So do we change as we mature?

In my experience, absolutely yes. 

As do our specific tastes and interests. 

I guess the take home message here, is to live your life as it is TODAY, by sucking out every last bit of energy and pleasure it fruits. Every experience is valuable, and every age must be lived, in order to one day discover…where you really desire to be. 

Here are some images I created last week.

Thanks must go to the subjects:

Staff of the Tobruk Memorial Swimmimg Pool- Belgravia Pty Ltd.

Olympic swimmers Chris Wright and Melanie Schlanger, and a select group of elite age-group swimmers from FNQ regional Swimmimg association.

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Inspired by the Daily WordPress prompt

Pensive

Featured

My Words are Lost

 

 

 

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Inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt Survival-

My words are caught in a net, this month. The net of life-and it’s stifling my ability to create.

I love to write, the urge to splash stories and thoughts onto the blank screen remains annoyingly-this is how I would describe it-in tact. Why annoying? Because they are like a yawn that desperately wants to come out, but just won’t. So I bide my time, enduring the discomfort, hoping, they will eventually flow forth, and not disappear for an eternity.

Perhaps I am not sad enough? Or perhaps I am too distracted, or too tired, or my bucket is full, with no room to ponder and dream.

The solution?

I will sit in this little chair of mine whilst sipping sweet coffee and listening to the shhhh of the breeze in my trees, outback.

I will listen to the sweet song of the bird that’s saturating the air- it is dancing elegantly with it’s words and thoughts in this moment. It’s words are not stuck in the same binding net as mine, so I will keep quiet, for a little longer, and simply listen.

See you on the flip side, my dear writing friends.

May you fill in the gaps…on my behalf.

x

 

Featured

The Magic Of Imagery

 

More Than A Photograph

Attempting  to capture the beauty of Nature holistically, with the  click of a finger seems an impossible task.

Why?

The result is simply an image that impresses upon the viewer the superficial form of the subject, is it not?

From this, the viewer draws upon their own personal tastes and formulates an impression if you will- which will almost always innacurately depict the character of the subject. 

Beauty is multi-faceted, photography is linear-true?

Nobody can claim to truly understand the duck in the photograph and nobody can claim to truly know the ducks character. 

It has pretty feathers. It has a beautiful bill, it floats on the water with spectacular ease, but that is all we can determine from the image, is it not? 

I hope not, because the second this is believed, story telling is dead.

We must make room for magic. We must make room for dreaming. We must make room for hope and inspiration and belief and admiration and creativity.

We must make room for emotion.

The point of the photo, and the magic of the image, is in it’s broader interpretation. It will be, whatever you want it to be. It will represent, whatever your unique interpretation decides. It simply serves as a key with which to unlock emotion, a flame to ignite passion, and an alarm clock with which to awaken inspiration. 

Long live the multi-faceted, emotion filled potential of the photographic image. 

 

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Colour is everywhere
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Pink and Yellow in a bloom
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Delicate Faces
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Perfect Red
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Home in the forest
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Purple Smiles
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Decorative Grasses splashed with Colour
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Heaven is at the top
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Luscious Fields
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Winding Journey inside the hills
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Is this the end? Or the beginning?
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A model fence with a grass blanket
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The rains are coming
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A lilac sky

 

 

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Fairies with blue wings stand still

 

Featured

You will survive, it’s your destiny

WordPress Photo Challenge

Abstract

Pride
Jetty, Cairns Australia

Survival

It was born disadvantaged, but it entwined itself through cracks and crevices, a tortuous path indeed.

Through ever uncertain territory, it continued it’s journey to reach for the sun, despite the odds against it.

Now, blessed with Nature’s wisdom, it flourishes like never before, as it discovers how disadvantage is never the end.

Featured

Attempted murder, a toaster and six ugly legs

Inspired by the WordPress Prompt

Locked or in this case STUCK!

 

Attempted Murder, A Toaster, and Six Ugly Legs

 

 

I awoke this morning in my usual fashion-barely able to balance on my feet-stagger, stagger-rubbing my eyes to achieve some kind of focus, grumpy that I was required to exit my bed at all and with a solid plan to avoid anything that resembled a human in case they attacked me with jobs and just stuff, during grump hour.

The kettle was there, waiting for me-same place as yesterday…and the day before…to assist me in dragging myself out of slumber, and into the day ahead. As I approached it, I was given an almighty jab of adrenaline when sitting casually in front of me, spread out completely relaxed on his banana lounge it would seem, was a King cockroach.

Now when I say King Cockroach, I mean King Cockroach. The half bug half cow variety, have you seen those? The feral thing was playing around with its feelers and sussing out my Kitchen bench.

As I knew the littlest kid was up, I proceeded to yell.

“Xavierrrrrrrrrr”

The response, no more than a grunt, was not promising. I didn’t muck around and ran into the lounge room.

“Xav, please come and kill this cockroach”

He looked at me as if it was way too much to ask of him, but decided to assist all the same.

“Oh, that’s disgusting” he said

“You’re telling me. Get him”

I’m not sure what he did next, but it resembled a stiff piece of plank, edging it’s way, less than a millimetre closer and launching a hand towel at it.

“What are you doing? It’ll run away, you’ve got to squash it.

He stood frozen for a second, staring at the creature, and was absolutely no help to me whatsoever.

As I was about to grab the other child, Xavier screamed…

“He’s run into the toaster”

 

“Oh good God” I blasphemed.

“I have no time, and now the thing has made home in the toaster…I need to cook my toast”

Xavier’s response?

“Well I can’t get him now, he’s in the toaster” -and just like that he wondered off, unfussed.

I immediately skipped plan B- grab the second kid-and implemented Plan C-out came the big guns.

“Michaellllllllllllll”

Now Michael was out walking the dog, wasn’t he. Typical, although, strangely he replied.

“Ya”

He was outside.

I bolted out the door.

“There’s a cockroach in the toaster, and I’m hungry. Please can you get it out?”

“Are you sure?” He questioned

“Yes, We saw him run in there”

Twenty minutes later, after thoroughly inspecting the item, bashing it on the grass outside, pulling it apart, and staring at it for ages, Michael looked at me.

“It’s not in there”

“It is”

“It’s not”

“It is”

…and then we heard it. It was wriggling around inside.

“Told you” I said.

Michael thought for a bit.

“Let’s cook it”

“Noooooooo! Oh that’s gross. I’ll never eat toast out of it again. That’s disgusting” I could literally feel my stomach churn at the thought of toasted cockroach.

He pushed down the lever and the toaster began to glow.

I couldn’t stand it, so I left the room, but the burning smell was evident.

“Oh geez Michael are you serious?”

TEN MINUTES LATER

“Did you get him out?”

“Yep. Got him”

I could sense something. I don’t know what, but something in his voice smelled of lies.

I closed one eye, lent toward him…and whispered

“I want evidence”

 

“No really. I took the toaster outside….and ”

“Eeeew, was he cooked?”

“Nope, he was quite chuffed. He crawled out and ran away. Then I stomped on him on the road”

I didn’t believe him for a second. Not for one second. I could smell a rat. Excuse the pun…

“Where’s his body? Prove it” I said

I followed him to the road…

 

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Featured

When our rights are forgotten, and our choices are stolen away

 

 

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Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lauramott/

I often wonder why.

Why some folk are blessed with a plain sailing life, and others appear to be born into never ending struggle.

My daily exposure to those who battle poor health, has brutally reinforced my morbid belief that human suffering has absolutely no benefit, as some may believe, and it does NOT make one stronger-another common theory.

In my experience, it shatters what once was, a whole human being, into many small asymmetrical pieces, and if lucky enough to be slowly repaired, the mended being is never completely the same as the original whole one.

Cynical?  Perhaps-or real, maybe.

I would like to tell you a story about a man. A man, who is indelibly entrenched in my mind. The meeting he and I had was several months ago now, and I have thought about sharing it many, many times, but the words when written down, felt so weightless that I let go of them, in favour of preserving ‘the moment’ in the form of a memory-of course that was then, and this is now. 

‘Just another patient, I initially thought, or perhaps I didn’t actually think, perhaps I was on automatic pilot as many nurses are, just to survive the day. I observed him, waiting for his turn to be scanned, patiently, with all the others in the crowded X-Ray room. Just another patient, he was.

Half an hour and several jobs later, he was still sitting in his wheelchair, quietly, not annoying anyone, not asking for assistance, hands cradled inside each other.

I walked over to him, smiled, and queried his delay.

He was middle aged, greyish, tall from what I could tell, kind eyes. A red bandanna decorated his neck, an artistic touch, I thought, to match his blue denim shirt.

“Hello, I’m one of the nurses here. I have just noticed that you have been waiting for quite some time. Have you had your scan yet?”

He smiled and nodded his head.

“Yes. I’ve had it”

His voice was muffled. He held his hand to his throat when attempting to mouth the words he was clearly having trouble with. I listened carefully and leaned toward him a touch.

“Ok. Is anyone coming to get you?”

He hesitated and dropped his head. He didn’t speak, and I allowed him the silence, for a moment, until he was ready to continue.

“The doctors have told me to wait here. They won’t let me go home.”

“Oh. Ok. Is there a problem?”

He lifted the bandana slightly. A large tumour engulfed his neck…I nodded my head to indicate I understood. He smiled at me, as if to say, ‘Please don’t worry, I’m fine’

“There are a new set of doctors. They don’t know me. They are concerned I am too unsteady on my feet to be safe. I have been unsteady for years, it’s no worse, and it has nothing to do with this ‘thing’.” He pointed in the direction of his neck.

“They want to admit me to hospital. Then they will do five thousand tests…”

He cleared his throat, swallowed heavily, and continued.

“I’ll have needles, and infusions, and blood test after blood test and scan after scan, and medicine I don’t need will be prescribed. Then they’ll involve every other health professional in the hospital who’ll all be on leave, and I’ll wait and wait and lie in a bed, when I could be sitting at home on my balcony, with my fish and my dog. I am palliative. I have limited time…but they will not let me go home”

He smiled again. Clearly not angry or bitter…and I felt for the first time in my career, that as a profession, we were in fact, prolonging a man’s suffering. We were violating his right to make choices concerning his life and how he spent the remaining days of it.

Is hospital a prison?

Perhaps sometimes we are so caught up in trying to fix everyone, that we forget, death is very much a part of life, and we should all be given the chance to say no to medical treatment.

I placed my hand on his shoulder…

“I’m so sorry”

“Oh don’t be. I’m happy. I’ve had a good, full life…”

-and then he looked at me for one extremely intense moment and lifted both arms to the heavens..he closed his eyes and said:

“I want to be free”

I have never felt so helpless as a human being. So trapped in the bureaucratic bull dust of policy and protocol, of red tape, of rules and regulations and illogical reasoning.

What about the person?

What about the broken human being in front of me, who effectively was being kept against his will, who was soon to be a victim of the system?

The man in the wheelchair disappeared that day, and I never saw him again. Rumour has it, he walked on out of there, with the assistance of a random few.

I do hope he never lost his smile.

I do hope he lay on his balcony until the end of his days with his fish and his dog, and I absolutely thank him, for reminding me to remember, that a ‘person’ lives behind the mask of the label ‘hospital patient’.

 

Disclaimer-I would like to make clear the intention of this post is not to defame the medical profession, who I might add work harder than most, and put their heart and soul into their career, but simply to highlight the fact that there IS such a thing as dying happily, by choice. We must remember when treating patients, to respect these basic human rights in order to eliminate any further suffering we may be impinging upon them against their will. 

Inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt

Breath

 

 

Featured

I am John

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I Am John

‘I first saw him, sleeping in the front seat of his car, impossibly squashed, with his weary head resting on a pillow balancing on the window sill. It was almost 9.’

 

🍀

 

His name is John, and he lives in his car.

I walk past him twice a day in my usual hurried manner on my way to work.

For months, I didn’t notice him. For months, I walked straight past, consumed with my own thoughts, and my own life.

and he never made himself known.

He never, ever, asked me for anything, he never told me his story, he simply existed.

I remember seeing him once, cooking some beans on a little gas stove. I thought he was a backpacker, on a lovely holiday.

“That’s a clever way to see Australia if you’re on a budget” I thought.

I noticed a bunch of clothes neatly stacked in a white washing basket, others dangling out of a half open window, drying I guess.

Sometimes he would sit in his camp chair, with his personal things around him, you know, gadgets, cooking utensils, an old fashioned transistor radio, and appear to be busy, as if he was trying to organise himself.

Another time, I saw him sleeping in the front seat of his car all squashed up, with his weary head resting on a pillow, that was doubled over balancing on the window sill. It was almost 9.

He must have wondered why I never said hello, why no one ever said hello.

-and then one day, a friend of mine, told me his name was John.

“Do you know John?”-He asked

“Should I?”

“He lives in his car, you know, that little old red one?”

“Oh yeah, I’ve seen him. He lives in his car?”

“Yep. He came over to talk to me once, and I was busy, so I fobbed him off and he quieltly walked away. I felt really terrible as that’s not me, so the next day, I took him a bag of oranges and some bananas. He stared at them for ages, looked at me like he was confused and said-

‘I haven’t had fruit in 5 months’

He had a career, and a family, until something went wrong and he lost everything. He hasn’t seen his kids in 12 years.”

He was there, the very next day when I passed him, this time, with a purpose.

His head was down, not wishing to engage in any way, busily preparing breakfast.

“Hello, John” I said

He stopped what he was doing and lifted his eyes in my direction, but his head remained down.

“Hello” -he said faintly

He was so quiet I could hardly make out the words. There was something wrong with his eyes, I don’t know what but they had the potential to create fear in some.

I don’t think he was prepared for conversation, as he didn’t seem to know what to do with it.

I kept walking on my Merry way, I thought it best to keep moving.

The next day, I once again walked in front of his car to catch his attention.

“Morning John”

“Hi”- He instantly responded.

If I wasn’t mistaken, he almost smiled this time, and his response was clear and more definite.

For a week, I greeted him and acknowledged his presence. It was difficult to tell whether this meant anything to him or not, but he always responded with an element of surprise in his voice.

Before I knew it, annual leave was upon me, and I consequently hadn’t seen John for a couple of weeks.

I wanted to prepare a Christmas hamper for him, so I bought a little basket and filled it with essential items. Fruit, tinned food, biscuits, some sparkling grape juice, bread etc.

He was one of those invisible people.

You know those?

The ones that nobody knows, and nobody seems to care about?

There are plenty of those people around.

I call them the invisible people.

The people that believe their failings deem them an outcast, or are so unforgivable they don’t deserve to share in the gift of living.

The damaged, pained souls who have lost themselves in the consequence of past, and who have been conditioned to fear, and hide and run from everything that hurts.

Those tortured minds inside which mental illness has well and truly taken the reigns and eaten away the person that was, or could’ve been.

How do people get this way?

How do people end up this broken?

I couldn’t wait to give him his hamper, to make him realise, that someone knew now, that

HE WAS JOHN.

As I pulled into the car park that was his home for the last 6 months, my stomach fell into my feet.

He was gone.

I drove back in the evening thinking he may have just been out, but his car park, his little piece of land he called home, was empty.

The very spot where his invisible life had been, was now a few random doves, some stained concrete and a pair of lifeless white lines.

‘But he can’t be gone’- I told myself.

I stared at the empty space in front of me for minutes, suddenly suffocatingly helpless.

It occurred to me, that I just expected he would be there, like I would be in my house, or my friends in theirs.

But he had no home, now did he? I just made that up to make myself feel better, and to convince myself he wasn’t so unhappy with his camp chair and beans for dinner.

But that’s not how it works with invisible people, now is it?

His home was not that car parking space afterall.

His address?

‘No permanent address’

Bollocks, I desperately wanted him to have the hamper, because I thought in my naive little mind, that he would realise someone cared.

-and I wanted for him to be given a gift, for christmas, so that he could share for one small moment, what the rest of us take for granted-feeling worthy of someone else’s thoughts.

But he was never going to stay, because he had given up on himself, long, long, ago, and his plans were not plans, but survival tactics, and that’s how he had to roll.

I never got to give John his Christmas hamper.

Rumour has it, he headed South to the cooler weather, a couple of days before I realised.

John,

I know you will never read this, but I hope a little messenger is able to let you know in some strange way, that I was happy to have met you.

and to me,

You are John, and you are no longer invisible.

Merry Christmas.

🎄

Inspired by Daily Word Press prompt

Disaster

Faces

Tomorrow

To my boy

 

Featured

Escaping ‘The Funk’

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Escaping ‘The Funk’

‘Time in the wild reminds me how much of what I ordinarily do is mere dithering, how much of what I own is mere encumbrance. The opposite of simplicity, as I understand it, is not complexity but clutter.’ -Scott Sander (Mel Leader)

🌿

The last few days, I’ve been in a funk.

Why?

Million dollar question.

Why is anybody ever in a funk? Who knows, there’s this and that and there are always a million different excuses, reasons, stories we all tell ourselves but at times it just IS, and it’s best to stay out of everyone’s way until this highly annoying mood has passed.

I am currently still waiting🙂

For those of you who have been gifted with a smile from ear to ear from dusk until dawn, you may not understand this concept as you have quite clearly been created on the good mood planet-a place very far away from my planet, and I will forever admire, but never understand you.

Perhaps I should be rocketed away to my very own planet when the ‘funk’ hits me; that way, I could grumble and moan to my hearts content, feel sorry for myself, and flounder within the ‘big fog’ in my mind for as long as I wish until the curse has been thoroughly flushed out of my system in a completely anonymous and harmless way-Happy days, I think this would work wonderfully.

So how have I dealt with it this time?

Still dealing with it-excellent-but I popped myself in my little car, said ‘ta-taaaaa’ to my relieved loved ones, and drove to some random, random place I’ve never been somewhere in the back of a township close-by, and snapped some shots of what seemed like a boring old paddock.

Staring down the lens to re-focus my mind.

Here are a few of my ‘funk’ shots-

…and now, as I view them, I realise

‘The overwhelming large when shrunk down to the simple small is sometimes all it takes to transform the grey back to the blue.’

🌾

 

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Sugar Cane Far North Queensland

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Sulphur crested cockatoo
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Sulphur crested cockatoo

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Featured

Eight things you didn’t know about me

 

 

Thank you

 

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I would love to say Thank You to the lovely Timelesswheel for nominating my blog for the Liebster Award.

What does this award represent?

It acts to support new blogs in their endeavours to network on WordPress. It can be quite tricky to build a readership when one first begins, so Thank You for this opportunity once again,  Timelesswheel.

I love your blog, and absolutely encourage others to explore it’s content.

Why?

I love it’s honesty, it’s transparency, and the fact I can see so much of your heart in your writing.

I particularly love your post entitled

Let it Go

Very representative of one of life’s truths, and valuable advice.

Please find my answers to your fabulous questions below:

I see why you blog from your posts. The question is…what keeps you going? How or where do you find your inspiration?

The truth is, I accidentally fell into blogging. After many years of soul searching and a little psychological suffering, I developed a compulsion to document my thoughts. Whether humorous, reflective, or dark, I would write, and publish my stories in various on-line publications and social media outlets. Eventually, I tried my hand at blogging as I craved meeting others with similar thought patterns, and longed to find a more permanent method of storing my life story-like a book of stories, or memoirs.

What keeps me going?

The fulfillment I feel, when I know  I’ve written a great story,  the validation I receive from my readers, and the relief to know I can truly express myself freely through my words.

Where do I find my inspiration?

I’m not sure I’m ever inspired to write, it’s just I can’t NOT do it; it’s an emotional outlet for me. Positive feedback from my readers helps to keep me going though, and I guess when I think about it, I’m a sucker for the struggler, and at times feel compelled to serve as voice for them.

Your favorite hobby or leisure activity? Have you ever thought of making it your profession?

I have a few. Writing, Photography and Training for Triathlon. The risk of writing as a profession for me personally, is the  pressure to produce good material on a regular basis. My best writing occurs when I’m tired, sad, or whenever the words flow-Unfortunately I’d be broke if I waited for these moments to present themselves! Photography on the other hand, is quite a new interest, therefore this could be a very real possibility in the future, if ever I give up my nursing career.

 

Is there something you want to still accomplish within this year? What is it?

I’d love to put pen to paper a little more. My life is absolutely crazy at the moment with two sons, their sport, full time work as a nurse and my training schedule for the half Iron Man in June, that I have little time to do what I love-Write.

 

What kind of blog posts do you enjoy reading? How often and how much time do you spend reading them?

I love reading honest, heart felt blog posts that move me. It’s all about the feeling the writer gives me whilst reading their words. I want to be moved, or educated in some way. I also search for talented writers and keep up-to-date with their content, in order to improve my own writing. My favourite blogger on Word Press is Chris Nicholas with his blog entitled The Renegade Press

He has the x-factor. Don’t know what it is…but he has it. I guess he has the skill and bravery to show great vulnerability which I love.

I do not spend anywhere near enough time reading blogs. I am currently endeavouring to improve this issue, as it’s important to me.

Have you overcome a fear this year? If not, is there one you’d like to curb?

The only fear I have, is losing someone close to me.

What are your thoughts on blogging anonymously?

Not a problem. If that allows people to truly express themselves with honesty, I’m all for it. There are many topics as writers and bloggers we could choose to explore but decline in fear of hurting others. I guess anonymous bloggers have an advantage there…

What would you say is your strongest point (strength)?

My persistence. I do not give up easily-possibly to my detriment at times.

If you had a choice and no barriers, which country would you choose to live in?

I live in Australia, and I would choose to live in Australia. Great weather, safety, political democracy and opportunities. Having said that, I’m sure there are many highly habitable locations around the world…I simply haven’t experienced them.

Music or movies?

Definitely both. A great movie can move me for years…as can great music.

What’s your favourite eye colour?

I love blue eyes; however I have seen some spectacular green and brown ones also. The real magic for me though, is in discovering what lies behind them.

 

 

I have bent the rules a little here. Feel free to do so if you so wish. This is by no means obligatory.

Please find my questions I have selected for you below.

Congratulations and I’m looking forward to reading your responses,

Cheers Nicole

 

  1. What do you do for a living and do you enjoy it?
  2. Are you a deep person? Please explain
  3. Humorous or Tear Your Heart Out?
  4. What do you like the most about yourself?
  5. What do you like the least about yourself?
  6. If you could put yourself somewhere else other than where you are right now, where would it be?
  7. Are you a people person?
  8. If you could travel back in time, what age would you most love to visit?

 

And my nominations are:

All of these blogs I respect and love their own unique reasons. YES you may already have more than 200 followers, but hey, I’m a rebel, and I like to bend the rules.

x

 

  1. Nena
  2. Everyday Adventures At Home
  3. Lean not unto my own understanding
  4. Love Happily
  5. Soul Gifts
  6. Thumbup (I know you’re not really a talker thumbup, but I wanted to nominate you anyway! Please don’t feel any pressure)
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What Lies Behind The Window

 

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When I was little, I would stare out the window for hours, alone with my thoughts, free to watch the butterflies as they floated through the country air with elegance. They would land on the green vine that weaved it’s way around our back verandah, and talk to the caterpillars about their impending transition, whilst shading themselves from the summer sun.

I know this because my eyes witnessed the story, and ’twas second nature for me, to daydream in this manner.

Today, there is little time for window gazing and butterflies-a shame, I guess when I think about it, as the loss of that space has at times, affected my ability to be still.

…and then suddenly, one random day, I found myself staring down the lens of stillness; and it reminded me of that window, that captured me all those years ago.

I felt silly, if not ignorant, that of course, there are always windows, and of course, there are always butterflies…and it is Ok, to take the time-to find them again.

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The prison we build for ourselves as adults

 

 

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The Prison We Build For Oursleves As Adults

There is something I love about this photo I took yesterday. 

It highlights the freedom of youth. The complete and utter disregard for anything tidy and orderly. 

I mean, who would think of destroying a perfectly fabulous sleep over-three little boys with all the joys of spring-by actually tidying up? An adult, that’s who. 

Sitting back and observing them, woke me up a little, as I was so simply reminded that my idea of perfection was so terribly different to theirs. 

Perfect to me, was a tidy lounge room, with all toys packed away after use, beds made and NO NOISE.

Perfect to them however, was having 3 buddies over to giggle with, wrestle, laugh and scream with joy in the purest most honest form, pillow fights, and a very real oblivion to the ‘state’ in which they had left the lounge room. 

What I wouldn’t give, to ‘let go’-just for a while-of the prison I have created for myself as a boring adult in view of achieving ‘orderly, and controlled’. 

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When Time Stands Still

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It is in those rare moments when ‘Time Stands Still’ that the quality of the lens through which we view life is enhanced, and the images we see appear more brilliant than ever imagined.

It is not that we do not see,

 but simply, we rarely stand still long enough to truly appreciate the miracles before us.

~N.A.Martin

© Nicole Martin, 2016 All Rights Reserved

All images by Nicole Martin.

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There will always be colour

 There will always be colour

Sometimes it eludes us…but there will always be colour.

Nicole Martin

If someone had’ve mentioned the National Kite Flying Championships were on this weekend, I previously, would’ve dismissed it with a simple nod.

Here we are in Adelaide, on the Eve of the Australian Age swimming Championships, and I’m mesmerised by the sky-a picture perfect blue, splashed with a flood of colour.

My balcony, which wraps around my home for the next while, makes for the perfect viewing point. I have never seen so many Kites, soaring above sun kissed dunes and champagne seas.

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Directly below us is an ice creamery. My youngest son is currently in heaven as he attempts to find the quickest way to drill a hole through the ceiling of our apartment, shove down a pipe and connect it directly to the waffle making machine. That way, he can simply-“Suck it up, continuously”

The drive to the venue this afternoon was pleasant-endless coastline, spectacular pine trees aligning the long, wide, straight roads and blue stone cottages with little round tables and imaginary people drinking tea from a pot, very much the vogue in Adelaide. Churches adorn every corner. Some active, some transformed into residences for the local library/ Doctor/Dentist.

Athletes congregate around Aquatic Centre doors waiting to pounce on the opportunity for last chance training.

The buzz is in the air. The goosebumps have landed.

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For us, this is all new.

Tomorrow, at 11:50 am, our 13 year old will line up on the blocks to race against the strongest age-group swimmers in the country-Our hearts are with him, if not escaping from our chests.

…and then, we will watch the Kites, flying free in the breeze, as life returns to normal-for a wee while.

Happy Easter everyone, keep safe.

XN

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When stillness finds us

When Stillness finds us

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Occasionally

there are moments in life

when the dust that clouds our appreciation for our blessings

finally settles

and stillness and contentment

  are all that remain.

~Nicole Martin

Photography by

Nicole Martin

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If only we could think like a dog

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Author

Nicole Martin

‘Us Humans Have It So Violently Wrong’

‘What skin product am I using I hear you ask?

I know, I know, you would all like to be as handsome as me. I’m sorry, some of us just have good genes, it’s just life.

People often comment-

“He must be what, 2-3?”

I’m actually almost 7, don’t fall off your chair.

I find, some good sea air, regular chasing of tennis balls around, and around, and around, the oval, some good social bonding with my buddies, cuddles with mum dad and my brothers, and lots of sleep, are the secret to my fabulous complexion.

Yes I know there’s a little grey there, but I think that actually adds to my appeal, don’t you agree? A little sophistication goes a long way. Other dogs all want to look like me because it shows how many years I’ve been having fun.

I said to them,

“Look guys, be patient. Your turn will come. It takes many years of living to look as good as me!”‘

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MORAL OF THE STORY

Us humans have it so violently wrong.

Love yourself as you age.

It’s this beautiful transitioning into maturity, that should be embraced, respected, admired and celebrated.

Stop trying to make yourself appear younger.

We all make this mistake, don’t we?

Why?

Because we believe people will love us more if we’re more attractive. But that is so sad, because they WON’T! It’s one of  the biggest misconceptions of life.

People just want you. That’s all they want, and if they want something else, something fake, then YOU DON’T WANT THEM.

Detach yourself from EGO, and you will feel lighter than you ever imagined possible.

Think like your dog.

X

Featured

Supermarket Horror

by

Nicole Martin

 

It has always fascinated me that for some bizarre reason, supermarket trips have had a bad habit of attracting drama. Recently, when I innocently ducked into Woolies for a quick shop, I was lucky to escape alive.

I would dearly love to mind my own business and purchase my bunch of grapes and the like in peace, but it seems-no can do.

It was 7pm. It was dark.

My shopping list contained a few small essential items that my family had obviously decided we couldn’t live without for one more minute, and so I made a bee line for the store in the hope of escaping in a few short minutes.

It was pretty empty. Just the odd weirdo like me and a few dreary eyed looking suit people who had obviously just sat at a desk for 14 hours, had square eyes and were picking up a Mccains re-heat meal for dinner.

As I gathered items, my trolley somehow filled to the brim-I hate it how that happens. A few small essentials sneakily become rations, for a week and beyond. I’m not sure how my mind works when this occurs, but all of these boxes, tins and packets of stuff on the shelves, were into trickery of the most evil kind. They blackmailed me into assuming their necessity.

I rapidly put a lid on it and forged ahead with my over-sized shop, to the checkout-and that’s when I noticed it…

Looking back, I really wish I hadn’t.

A family of 8. Kids, parents, and grandparents had made their way to the checkout with their trolley-only one of their kids, clearly walked straight out of the store with ‘hot’ goods in his hand.

His dad followed-I wrongly assumed-to return the child to pay for the item. However instead, he lent over his kid and assisted him with opening the contents.

I looked at the checkout assistant, who in turn looked at me. We pulled funny faces at each other in disbelief. She appeared nervous and uncertain, but ran for the manager all the same.

Ok, I thought. So THEY’RE sprung! This will be interesting.

I kept quiet in my little space as the excitement unfolded around me. The manager came over-

“Yes I saw it, but there is nothing we can do”

“Are you serious?”- Now this came out of MY mouth I think, I’m not sure why, a knee-jerk reaction perhaps.

I told myself to stay out of it, but the voice within was feeling dangerously defensive of all the honest citizens in the world who pay for what is not theirs despite their financial situation.

-oh no. I could feel an issue brewing.

“Yes. There are rules. They could walk out with a whole trolley-and they do-but we cannot touch them.

“Well that’s ridiculous” -Nicole keep quiet I thought….but it was too late.

“We all saw them do it, can’t you politely remind them to pay for it?”

“Nope”-She said

Not good enough. If everyone else must pay, so must they. I turned to the grandmother behind me and smiled at her gently.

“Hello. You may not realise, but your little boy, forgot to pay for that chocolate milk.”

She gave me the death stare for what seemed like hours and then responded.

“I know dat. I know dat-Eh, Daniel…come over ‘ee wif dat chocolate milk” -She shouted, with a piercing tone

I jumped.

The little kid ran over, put his now empty milk on the counter, and they paid for it.

I continued to place my items to be scanned in an externally calm manner, but my inner nerve told me to watch my back- the checkout assistant kept her head low.

A few minutes passed and I peered in the family’s direction to judge their mood. The grandmother, was whispering in the burly father’s ear and pointing in my direction.

Here we go, it’s on.

Without hesitation, he came toward me, joining the rest of his clan. I kept a neutral expression.

“What you say ’bout my kid?”

I swung around and looked behind me, to give the impression I thought he was talking to someone else. My initial response was to play dumb, but I knew, it was too late for that.

“Oh, I didn’t think you’d noticed your little boy had walked out with a chocolate milk in his hand. My kids do it all the time, and I send them back to pay”

He stared at me for a while-

“My kids don’t buckin steal. Right? We got it from dat udder buckin shop”

He pointed in a very general direction. It was now 7:30, and all the shops were closed.

At this point, my mouth was on automatic pilot. I had no influence over it, clearly, as I responded with this…

“Ok. So did you get a receipt?”

The woman with the shrieky voice shoved the man aside and stepped in with her grey whispy hair and her three teeth.

Good God I thought. I hope she’s purchased toothpaste.

“Look. Shut yer buckin mouf yer buckin cant”

Excellent. A well thought out come back.

I looked at her, not moving. I looked at him.

“Please don’t swear at me. I am listening to you. Ok? I am listening.”

They retracted their steps the mother mumbling a few more expletives, the father still staring at me dying for the last day-

“You jus woch your buckin mannis lady…git”-He pointed to the exit.

I thought perhaps my manners had been a little rough around the edges and so declined to add anything further.

I politely ignored him, if ever there was a way to politely ignore someone, and paid for my groceries.

I parked my trolley right outside the checkout and stayed put, as I could see them all sniggering and staring at me in the distance.

The odd “Buck” and the odd “Daniel git eee, wotch your mouf” resonated off the walls.-because clearly, they were watching their mouths. They somehow managed to maintain their focus in my direction, whilst at the same time, consuming everything edible in their overflowing trolley. -and I’ve never seen so much toilet paper-diarrhoea?

I fiddled with my shopping as if in search for something to eat whilst my mind took in the last few minutes, and planned my next move.

I called Michael.

“Hello?”

“Babe”

“Ya?”

“I’m about to be beaten up”

A deep sigh from Michael.

“What?”

“A bunch of people want to beat me up”

“Well I’m cooking dinner”

“Are you serious?”

“Where are you?”

“I don’t know”

“What?”

“I’m in Mount Sheridan”

“Yes I realise that Nicole. Where in Mount Sheridan?”

“Oh……Coles…no wait, woollies”

“Just wait there. I’m coming”

As I hung up the phone, a member of the Woollies staff approached me.

“Are you ok? Would you like me to call security?”

“I’m fine, but yes please”

The security officer- a sizeable specimen-appeared in no time, with an enormous bunch of keys jiggling from his hip and an expression that meant business-you know that kind of ‘nobody mucks with me’ face?

“What seems to be the problem madam?”

Madam? Oh dear God-I am old, that just confirmed it.

“Evening Sir. There’s no problem, but would you mind escorting me to my car?”

“Of course.”

We passed the agitated family- they were hovering around with no obvious place to be except perhaps to even the score with me in their perceived favour.

“Have they been troubling you mam? I know them well”

Oh geez, drop the ‘mam.’ He may as well be calling me Matron, or senior citizen.

“Um. Not really. They haven’t touched me, but we had words, and their aggression was enough for me to double think walking to my car alone”

It was when I’d reached my car safely, that I’d remembered I’d called Michael to come and get me-Darn it.

-Oh for crying out loud. Now he’s going to think I’ve been kidnapped. I contemplated running back in to find him, but that would negate the whole reason for the escort.

My mind raced-Should I jump in my car and drive home before the three toothed lady found me? -but then Michael would be roaming around thinking I was dead.-Hmmm. Perhaps waiting for him to figure everything out would be the ticket.

I chose the latter and before I knew it, he was striding at pace, toward me.

“Hi babe, what brings you here so late at night?” I questioned with a wink.

Perhaps I’ll leave the stolen chocolate milk alone next time.

…but then this is the problem isn’t it?

A combination of fear and the Law, have made it impossible to defend one’s own property. Woolworths Lawyers have implemented a policy that essentially protects the perpetrators, deeming it illegal for the grocery store to enforce consequence for obvious theft.

Next time, I will go shopping blind folded.

Supermarkets are a dangerous place for me.

 

Inspired by WordPress Daily One Word Prompt

 

Shelf-‘Put it BACK on the shelf where you found it’

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Your arms

 Your arms

🍁

 

You are here with me, and yet

you are not

you are somewhere else- and I am here

and I am lost

You know, If I could,

I would run to you and fall

fall rapidly out of myself-and into you

for a moment

and you would throw your arms around me

and I would whisper your name

Can you hear me?

Please tell me you hear me

I want to be embedded in your senses

I want to whisper your name

Come

come over here and let me lose myself in you

Let me embellish you with my tenderness

 let me take away your pain

Should we go somewhere babe?

Let’s go,

 I want to steal you away

if only for a sweet moment

so you can throw your arms around me

and I can whisper your name

let’s evaporate into conjoined nothingness

for a second

and entwine our tragic hearts 

To a place with no voice

and a place void of walls

come

come over here to me and  lock your hand in mine

let us run

 Let us be free of concrete minds

and of the societal locks that asphyxiated us

and let us inhale the virgin scent of our truth

for a moment

and

let me embellish you with my tenderness

let me take away your pain

Entice me to come to you and I’ll engulf your space and replace it with me

I will be  your overwhelming distraction

you will be my every thought

You know, if I could, I would run to you and fall-fall rapidly out of myself

-and into you

and you would throw your arms around me

and I would whisper your name

let me lose myself in you

for just one selfish moment

let me ignite you with my touch

 give you

all of me

I want you

I want all of you

Now

and

Forever-

but I am here

and you are there…

The Soweto Gospel Choir comes to Cairns

What a spectacular sight, in a spectacular venue. 

These performers certainly know how to soothe the soul. Munro Martin Parklands, a newly developed outdoor Amphitheatre and Park is beautifully landscaped, and looked absolutely breathtaking, matching it’s performers.