it seems like a good idea to learn from nature


the time of migrants returning is one of the many joys of spring.

storm birds riding the shirt fronts of the big weather systems rolling down from up north.

screeching and cannonballing thru the forest playing mind games with resident ravens magpies and currawongs  – drawing them from their nests so they can deposit an egg .

the channel billed cuckoo (stormbird) true to the form of all cuckoos does not stay around to bring up their young.

best left to another they think.

it doesn’t look the same, sound the same or act the same, but stoically the raven or magpie or currawong will parent the usurper into adulthood.


the dollar birds have turned up in our forest this year -a little mob of maybe eight or ten.

John reminds  me that they didn’t come last year and so far they haven’t told us where they were instead.

goodness what a cackling buzz over our heads -their silvery blue-white discs on the wings flashing and glinting in captured sunlight.

we had stepped outside into the warm early evening air – they were dipping and diving swooping grabbing insects showing off their considerable acrobatic skills . on the menu was  termites swarming after a long hot  day – often a ‘reliable but not always sign’ of rain pending.

sure enough later in the night a loud definitive clap pierced my dream and I bolted awake.

back to sleep with the light then heavy sustenance falling on our roof.

the dollar bird so named because the disc  resembles an American silver dollar coin. well I will have to take ‘their ‘word for it because I have never seen one.

brown of head green-blue teal wings and belly, a bright orange beak they fly down south from New Guinea find a good cubby in a tree bring up their young and depart when the autumn bell tolls.

both the stormbird and the dollar bird are at their southern most range at our place not that they mention our forest specifically in the bird book but I feel a sort of warm fuzzy special pride that their long journey each year stops here.



turtles bask on logs beside the dams .

if the last couple of years is anything to go by soon they will be digging holes in the sandy sections of our track and laying their eggs.

and then we will be putting logs and rocks around the site in an attempt to avoid driving over them.

seems kinda weird how they have taken to the road to lay down their progeny and I wonder if there is a deeper meaning.

like whoa !!! stop !!! do not pass !!!  your car is enemy no 1 – a dysfunctional piece of apparatus advancing the general dismantling of our earths systems.

then again maybe they like the baked heat and the soft silt that has gathered.


the swallows hatched out their four on the equinox as they do every year and are already preparing their mud nest outside the kitchen door for the second batch.

by Christmas this pair will have raised eight young and they do this every year. puts our parenting into some other perspective.

 once they nested in the house and we cohabited – a sort of new take on a group house I thought at the time . apparently as a child John had always fantasized about living inside an aviary so here we were.

they zoomed around we ducked our heads and wiped their poopy business off the couch . we loved it and not even a poop on the table in the middle of lunch caused much of a stir.

my bedroom has four old nests up near the roof and the mud walls are a delightful splatter of guano art.

the children’s bedroom has two nests as well as the white peppershot artwork and though Kingston will never know this time his mother has the story of it within her. in the lounge room there is one.

they have not been in use now for many a year.

how did they come and go you ask?

well for a time there were sections of wall that we took a sledge-hammer to pushing  mud bricks out of the way. we are guilty of this in all of these rooms and then like the dollarbird we would disappear and head north for the winter avoiding the cold that snuck around whatever heavy drape or tarp I had managed to sling up.

just follow the sun and we did until…  oh dear …. school raised its ugly head and children wanted to go.

can you believe it ?

I still have difficulty.

here we were offering a childhood dream -a grand adventure complete with playground embedded in the natural world and they wanted to go sit in a classroom.

well we forgave them as parents do when their children disappoint and they forgave us as children do when their parents are so out of kilter with ‘normal reality’.

 the open spaces got filled in with  glass – windows and doorways.  no longer did the swallows have  access to the house so they settled for the  verandahs instead.


it seems like a good idea to learn from nature – from plants and birds and animals, from rocks and trees and wind, from rivers and mountains and oceans.

it is no surprise to me that just like the swallow and the chough I too nest in a mud home.

and  still  I wonder  why the Earth is not respected as our school and teacher.

 if we hadn’t turned our backs on the Earth,  if we hadn’t put up walls and sat on chairs ignoring her wisdom, if we hadn’t denied our spiritual interconnection to the fabric of existence then would our planetary systems be in the breakdown they are???

but really I should know better than dabble in the what if game…….

“this is how it is “

or “things are as they are”

known as  the practice of equanimity ( upekkha)

and then there is metta (loving kindness )

“may all beings be safe and protected.

may all beings be free of mental and physical suffering.

may all beings  live in the world at ease and in great joy.

compassion ( karuna)

“may you dear  Earth be free of pain”

and to you all of you whoever wherever you be

sympathetic joy (mudita)

“may your happiness and success never end”


in deep gratitude to Mother Earth








4 thoughts on “it seems like a good idea to learn from nature

  1. Debra

    A beautiful and lovingly written post as always. Thanks. Like you, I wonder why the Earth is not respected as our school and teacher. How can people think they can do things better when nature has had millions of years of practice?


  2. This is a very beautiful post Sandra thank you. I so enjoyed it and felt connected to your writing. The ending is also very special, thank you for sharing that too ..

    I am looking out to my garden and it is so beautiful and blessed. There is bird song … and the occasional butterfly …


    1. thank you Susan – the ending ‘the four states of love’ came out of a retreat a Vipassana I did recently . in hindsight I should have acknowledged the buddha for those teachings.
      I find it helpful whenever I veer off into dark to be able to pull out a prayer or a blessing and spin a little light to show me the way. I have to thank you also for introducing me to Charles Eisenstein who I am enjoying very much.


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