Holidays! It's a joy beyond measure to share time with the children as they build up the wobbles mastering rollerblades, skateboards and surfboards; find cupboards to hide in with a book and a torch; and rekindle their ability to create something from 'nothing'.
This exquisite gumtree, a sapling just last year, has today burst into full, fiery bloom. The blossoms are perfect dolls for Poppy to use in her play...
And the next generation of firemen are assured of a willing participant, as Angus builds up his skills with the hose. Stand clear: he and I are now both fully aware of the importance of properly directing the power of the water!
Most precious of all is the privilege of being responsible for weaving into the children's lives threads of values, experiences and love that will, with grace, sustain them through all the seasons of life.
I have come to recognise that our lives are shaped by a delicate ecosystem of inheritances from the past and present, as well as the fragile interplay between the human and natural world: a fact it is becoming ever-easier to forget.
We have spent much of the summer in our lovely seaside town of Robe, where coastal walks reveal the subtle beauty and incredible power of our native flora and fauna. For 70,000 years, the local Aboriginal tribes were sustained by indigenous plants and animals. Their high nutritional density meant that only a few hours of the day were spent gathering food: the rest of the time was spent in communion with the tribe, passing on tribal wisdom, sharing skills, and creative activities including weaving traps, baskets, cloaks and jewellery.
The land was frequently underwater, fires ravaged the landscape in summer, and the soils are delicate. Plants adapted with incredible ingenuity. Their valuable seeds were enclosed in pods that could withstand the elements for up to 40 years, and their fruits were packed with nutrients and vitamins to ensure the health and viability of the human and animal population they relied on for propagation.
One of last year's major disappointments was our inability to fund a major collaborative project. My business (and others) engaged with a group of Universities and the federal government to attempt research into applying indigenous plants to commercially available food for the benefit of human health. I will attempt to summon a modicum of the adaptability and persistence displayed by the plants I observe to chart a new course for this project in 2018, as well as attending to the more prosaic needs of my beautiful popcorn plants!
In the meantime, I hope this season brings you the space and light to forge a path that sustains you throughout 2018.