Tag Archives: Wildtime

Exploring one of the last lagoons on the coast…

Getting out for an exploration at my favourite time of the day, twilight – is one of those true pleasures, and often one bumped for all the million other things that need to be attended to.  So today after school, we headed nature-side and explored the coastal wetlands at Aldinga, Sellicks Beach – the Aldinga Washpool Lagoon.


It’s a beautiful place in the twilight, yet humble, with nothing to point out its significance, except some fencing and ‘conservation area’signs and a large diverse collection of birds gathering.

It’s a place that speaks for itself, if you listen.


It’s included in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia because significant flora and fauna are present. The local council (Onkaparinga) describes it as “one of the last remaining coastal lagoons of its type along the metropolitan Adelaide coastline“. The phrase “one of the last remaining” evokes a pang of sadness, because it feels like we have to read it far too often sometimes. Wandering there in the last remaining rays of sunlight for the day, light reflecting off the rippling lagoons with the sound of waves on the beach, you can see this is an important place of water. It must be astounding to see the full moon reflecting in the lagoon. Just imagining it…

But even beyond its ecological significance as a remnant coastal lagoon, and being able to appreciate its unique beauty, there is far more here to cherish and protect.

The lagoon is a culturally significant site, sacred to local indigenous Kaurna groups as an important place on the Tjilbruke Dreaming Track,.  It’s actually the cultural significance which drew me here this week. Miss 7 visited the start of the dreaming track as a school excursion, to Warriparinga Wetlands And Living Kaurna Cultural Centre. Exploring the sites closer to home at the end of the dreaming track, are on the top of our list, particularly because I have my head in indigenous astronomy at the moment.


There’s a lot of information about the Aldinga Washpool lagoon area, once you go looking online. The ecological facts and figures are easy to find, but it’s trickier to uncover more detail about the cultural stories of this place, but I’ll keep searching and learning (and adding finds here). There is a Washpool newsletter and it seems there has been a long effort by locals to achieve sustainable integrated management of the site focused on the cultural significance.

This action is reassuring as it is a quiet spot, and while we were there, some young lads turned up and decided to use the dirt track between the two lagoons as a place to practice skids and burnouts in their car. Sacred places in quiet spots sadly do sometimes need a bit of protecting from some our human wildlife.


My favourite sight amongst the black swans and wading birds were the swallows darting over the long grass, in flashes of blue and rust red – very difficult to photograph though.


And here’s some 4 year old human wildlife, learning to fly like a swallow – also elusive to photograph so I’m including him here:


She finds her answer in the woods. It’s always the woods.

Ah Switzerland…you have me now forever.

I’m besotted with your cool alpine forests as a retreat from the sweltering heat of a European heatwave.

Will you whisper me your stories?

Bernaise Oberland
Forest above Lake Brienz, Bernaise Oberland, Switzerland by Angela

mossy bits

After I posed this question above, I decided to find who had written poetry about this specific area of Switzerland.

We’re staying in Lauterbrunnan Valley and I just love it. So much I can’t even seem to put it into writing like I usually can.

When I read that Lauterbrunnan Valley inspired Tolkien’s Middle Earth landscapes…..oh my goodness!

I’ve been in Rivendell for days without realising it. Looking up at the three peaks of the Misty Mountains. I’m in Middle Earth!

Could I have known this? I can’t wait until morning to look at everything again with Tolkien in my head!

**Sub-thoughts** 5th July

After I wrote this post last night, I could not sleep, and I began to think about why I might have known and forgotten, or perhaps I just did not know, that this valley I chose for our holiday, was the very inspiration for my favourite writer and my favourite book.

I went back through the things I had noted, asked or said since being here and so many times, I had mentioned hobbit-like barns built into the earth with turf roofs,  conversations about gold in the waterfalls, misty mountains, the fascination with this place as a crossroads of different languages, the wonderful placenames…and yet….it still did not click. I had started to think about Swiss folklore and I had found out about Swiss dragon lore for my dragon-obsessed children, and had just read about folklore of the Barbegazi, dwarves with long bears who in Swiss lore, lived in the mountains, only coming out in snow……and still…not once did I put this landscape, thinking and folklore together and think…Tolkien.

Until I decided to try to find out if any writers had written about the Lauterbrunnan valley…Tolkien did not cross my mind. It just seems like such a failure for someone so deeply into the Lord of the Rings, to not draw the link or have any awareness of the connection.

I would intentionally come to a place like this because of Tolkien, and I have sought out visits to literary landscapes deliberately, but these days I don’t drag my family around based on books….yet here I am, having ended up here anyway.

Finding this out wasn’t just exciting – it made me cry because I felt emotional. I felt like the next day was a rare chance, an opportunity to see this valley in a different way.  To compare my pure impressions of this place.  A chance to walk the imagined landscapes of Lord of the Rings, that I first read at the same age that Tolkien was when he came to these real landscapes and found inspiration for Middle Earth.

For me, Lord of the Rings is the best landscape writing I have ever read, the fantasy is a bonus.

Today, I was well aware, that I was now looking and thinking differently here.

If I came here with full knowledge that this was Tolkien’s muse….would I still have fallen for this place myself? Could I have unseen this place, separate from Tolkien’s storytelling and been unbiased?. Would the enchantment have been of my own making, or purely of Tolkien’s great skill in weaving nature and landscape into his stories?.

What does it mean to me that I felt as connected as my favourite writer to this place? I feel almost embarrassed that I didn’t know, how could I not know?

This to me is connected learning. Feeling learning. Feeling a bit of failure. Noticing when your perspective shifts, finding opportunities to deliberately become aware of the impact of knowing and the impact of not knowing. Awareness of when it’s you and when you are influenced by another. Shifting between knowing and imagining.

Where the forest murmurs – Kuitpo #WorldEnvironmentDay

A little exploration into the woods today.  We saw no one, and sat still listening to the quirky cadence of frog call. I sometimes wonder if southern hemisphere frogs have more exuberance in their song, they wait at times, so very very long for rain, that you can easily imagine they might undertake weeks of silent rehearsals in anticipation of finally singing the rain in.

World Environment Day today.  Every day should be world environment day. Nature is nurture. Wild time is all time.

Because Fiona Macleod always says  it with more poetic beauty that I can dream of:

“The forest is alive in its divine youth. Every bough is a vast plume of joy: on every branch a sunray falls, or a thrush sways in song, or the gauzy ephemeridæ dance in rising and falling aerial cones. The wind moves with the feet of a fawn, with the wings of a dove, with the passing breath of the white owl at dusk. There is not a spot where is neither fragrance nor beauty nor life…It is the still ecstasy of Nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance, and myriad form is renewed in continual change as though in the passionate delight of the white Artificer. It is beauty so great and complex that the imagination is stilled into an aching hush. There is the same trouble in the soul as before the starry hosts of a winter night.”(Fiona Macleod – Where the forest murmurs)

Farsight from the campsite

29th May 1999 – Isle of Skye, Scotland

I’m sitting by the shores of where the Atlantic Ocean is hugged into an embrace by the land to create Loch Brittle, listening as the waves lull to and from the shore and sea-birds call out across the sand. The sound, the sand, the sea, the wind: it makes the place seem solitary, but I have not strayed far from the campsite at Glen Brittle, where hurried preparations of flames and pans clang to herald nightfall.

The glory of the late-spring sun appears and disappears behind each cloud, and in the distance is the enchantment of islands – Rum and Canna with their magnetism. Every island stories I have ever read as a child, swirl and bubble like currents in my mind.

Behind me, rise the Cuillins, somehow still dark in the sunshine, with a crown of cloud at the summit. Skye is truly an island of hypnotic colour of light playing with patterns on rock, sand, water and grass. Around every corner of green hills smote by sunshine, looms a misty, shadowy mountain, and always, always, always, the ever-changing sea on the doorstep.

Even with the force of my whole imagination, right now, I can’t ever imagine a place more beautiful. I never thought I would be here. Even after dreaming and dreaming from a whole world away, of what Skye, Arrival has not dulled my perceptions. The smell, the sunlight, the sounds, the islands, the essence, impossible to tame in photograph or word….and yet my favourite writer comes close…so close:

You have been in the charmed West yourself; have seen the gloom and shine of the mountains that throw their shadow on the sea, have heard the waves whisper along that haunted shore with none love save with passion, and none, loving can bear to be long parted from. You, unlike so many who delight only in the magic of sunshine and cloud, love this dear land where the mists drive across the hillsides, and the brown torrents and in spate, and the rain and the black wind make a gloom upon every loch, and fill with the dusk of storm, every strath, and glen, and corrie. Not otherwise can one love it aright.

From “Dedication”, Pharais, Fiona Macleod

Transit of Venus

I had an errand in the city today which provided the perfect opportunity to hang out at the Astronomical Society of South Australia’s public viewing for the Transit of Venus.

4.5 year old seemed to be slightly disappointed with the actual view through her solar glasses (it’s hard to match reality with imagination) but after a few drawings and another explanation over hot chocolate afterwards she got belatedly excited.

I think she’ll love this memory ehen she is older. I remember being a bit disappointed by the smudgy Halley’s Comet when I was a child, but now it’s a cherished moment of wonder.



The boat: it floats!

The Nautilus was piercing the water with its sharp spur, after having accomplished nearly ten thousand leagues in three months and a half, a distance greater than the great circle of the earth. Where were we going now, and what was reserved for the future?
Jules Verne – 20000 Leagues under the Sea

Our thoughts exactly as we took Sey Fey on her first patch of water at Goolwa today. This is the boat Richard bought for $50 and converted it from a rats nest to a fine craft. We weren’t even the smallest boat on the water as next to us a grown man was playing with his toy speed boats. Sea Fey looked lovely.

The good news is, she likes the water and the wind for that matter. Even I trusted her (and Richard) enough to go for a sail. Now that she is proven, Rich has a few bits to finish, and we will have the official launch of HMS Sea Fey.

Some photos are below and also an exclusive video [not available] [WMV – 2.54MB] (worth turning your speakers up).

sea fey