At the Still Point…

“At the still point of the turning world. Neither Flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is…”  T.S. Elliot

As 2020 rapidly draws to a close, I want to thank you all for your interest and kind support of my blog over the years and also for the beautiful friendships which have developed.

I’ve had a very quiet year at home and on the blogging scene, but it has been one of the most rewarding in terms of personal growth. During a year when many around the world have suffered so terribly from the Covid-19 Pandemic on top of other challenges they already face, I feel incredibly grateful to be in a relatively privileged position.  In my own situation, becoming “still” due to travel restrictions and health conditions has helped me become more centred and enabled me to reflect and find more peace than before.

The photos I’m sharing are of  Tawny Frogmouth chicks that were reared in my house yard in the last couple of months.  Since pictures of my encounter with this species at Lake Maroon were so popular in my last blog post, I thought some of you may be excited to read that for the first time in ten years, my resident Tawny found a mate and successfully reared chicks.  Watching them develop from fluffballs to fully-grown adults was such a privilege.

Thank you for being your valuable selves. Although I’ve been silent, you are appreciated.

My warmest wishes for the new year. I hope 2021 brings far less suffering and much more joy.

Jane x

68 thoughts on “At the Still Point…

  1. Dear Jane,
    Thank you very much for your post, your greeting and your truly wonderful photos of fluffy beings.
    From the other side of the globe (cold weather and lockdown; no shops or cultural activities):
    All the very best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year ❤
    Marina from DK 🙂
    who – due to closed fitness centres – have walked more than before

    • Dear Marina,
      Thank you for your lovely wishes. 🙂 I do wish I could share my warm weather, sunshine and freedom to move about with you. I feel very grateful to be in a part of the world that is much less affected by Covid-19 so far, and I don’t take it for granted. I really hope things get better for you there next year and you remain healthy. The fluffy muppets were a delight to watch and have now taken flight to establish their own territories.
      All my best to you. Jane x

    • Thank you very much, Ashley. I’m pleased to know you have survived the year. I do hope your loved ones made it through unscathed. It’s been a challenging time for many. Wishing you and your family much happiness and good health also. Jane. 🙂

  2. Oh, Jane, your photographs are the perfect choice for this post. How wonderful that your resident Tawny Owl found a mate and reared two chicks. They are adorable. I always consider the sighting of an owl as good luck, so having a resident one must be double luck. 🙂 I’m so glad you found space for stillness and reflection amidst the chaos of this year. Wishing you a joyful 2021!

    • Thanks very much, Jolandi! 🙂 Tawny frogmouths have always been a favourite of mine. Their scruffy appearance and funny expressions are rather endearing and make me laugh. I was thrilled to see the chicks snuggled together on my chookpen fence. From a distance I thought at first they were a grey shaggy feral cat waiting to eat the birdlife. I almost yelled at them. Heheh. I hope you’ve found some happiness in 2020 despite the chaos and that 2021 brings you much joy. All the best. 🙂

    • Haha. Thanks, Steve! Yes, this ol’ Aussie chick is still alive and kicking. I haven’t disappeared completely just yet. Tawnies do have some hilarious and endearing expressions on their faces don’t they? Watching them grow up was great entertainment. I’m so pleased you’ve made it through the year. The Covid stats in the US are quite alarming. All the best. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Susan! It’s lovely to hear from you. Watching the Tawny chicks grow up in my yard was such a treat. I couldn’t believe it when I first saw them. Every morning I’d check the trees for their presence with some nervousness as we do have a few predators here. Fortunately they survived to adulthood. I wish you a safe, healthy and joy-filled year as well. 🙂

  3. Those Tawny Frogmouth chicks are fascinating, and you managed some great images! How did you ever get so lucky to have them nest in your back yard?

    I’m glad to hear you are doing well. Being still is something I have no trouble with, and in fact I tend to flourish keeping more isolated. I think we are given every experience that we are supposed to have. Instead of lamenting why we have to go through something difficult, maybe we should be asking, “Why not?”. There is a silver lining to everything! Here’s wishing you a fantastic and happy New Year, Jane. XOXO

    • It’s so good to hear from you again, Lori. 🙂 Sorry I’ve been so quiet. I can’t express in words how special it was to discover the Tawny chicks, but knowing how you feel about your memorable encounters with creatures, I’m sure you’d be able to imagine my delight.
      As you know, I enjoy spending a lot of time alone and am not much of a social butterfly, so having to be more isolated during 2020 wasn’t really a challenge. I think I appreciated my introverted nature much more this year rather than see it as a deficit. For others, staying at home does not come very naturally. I was also lucky to be financially secure so there was certainly a lot for me to feel grateful about. Wishing you a most wonderful new year, Lori. I hope it’s a healthy and joy-filled one. 🙂 x

    • Haha. As I replied to someone else, at first I thought the 2 chicks snuggling together were a fluffy grey cat, so I can understand why they remind you of an angora bunny. They are adorable, aren’t they and always give me a smile. Thanks very much, Lizzie. Happy new year to you also! I hope it’s a wonderful one. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Curt. I love the Tawny’s expression in the last picture too. They are a great source of amusement and help me feel calm. Seeing them grow up in my yard was a wonderful way to end the year. Wishing you a special 2021, Curt. I do hope it’s a happy and healthy year. 🙂

    • Hi Jane
      Just tried adding a comment but since it hasn’t popped up, let me try again!
      Firstly, Best wishes for a Happy, peaceful, bountiful new year and one of good health and good travelling.

      I loved your latest post and the wonderful Elliot quote and photos of the Tawnies. . Many thanks. Keep it up! It is great to hear from you again!

      • Thank you kindly, Barrie. I’m very pleased that you’ve made it through the dangers of Covid in 2020. Don’t worry about a comment seeming to disappear after you’ve made it. I always moderate them first and that may take a while if I am away from the computer. I might even be away for several days as I try to have long breaks from the Internet regularly. I’m glad you enjoyed the quote and photos. I wasn’t sure if others would like the Elliot one as it was quite personal to my situation. I’m not sure how often I’ll be blogging next year but I will be sharing something else eventually. Take good care of yourself and I wish you a wonderful new year full of very special memories. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Tom! I’m so pleased to hear from you. I keep seeing worrying Covid statistics overseas and often think about my blogging friends even though I’ve not been on WordPress for many months. I wish you a wonderful new year, and hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy. All my best. 🙂

      • The cases round here are going up alarmingly so we are taking as much care as we can. I hope you can manage another post or two in the coming year as your posts are always a treasure trove of adventures and great pictures. Have a good new year.

        • The numbers are very concerning, Tom. I hope you remain safe. I’m being extremely careful here as even though our numbers are zero or very low, testing of my local waste water has picked up covid fragments again, so there are undetected cases in my community. People are getting complacent again here. I’ll definitely try to share more posts this year. Thanks for your kind support. All my best. Jane

  4. Hi Jane
    Wonderful to hear from you again (long time no hear!) Great quote and photos.
    Wishing you a happy New Year and a wonderful,year ahead of peace, happiness and good health
    Keep safe and well and interested in all around you
    Barrie

    • Thanks for both of your lovely comments, Barrie. Hopefully you were able to read the reply to your other comment above. As I wrote, don’t worry if the comment seems to have disappeared. It’s just that it won’t be published until it’s been moderated. I get a terrible lot of spam and marketing comments so I always need to moderate all the comments received first. Once again, I hope you have a brilliant 2021, Barrie. 🙂

  5. Ah the unexpected delight of seeing a frogmouth! Your choice of that quote from Elliot seems so fitting. I wouldn’t presume to know all of what Elliot was trying to say. Reading his words though reminds me of those rare and fleeting moments when the small part of the world we are standing in seems so right and wonderful.

    • Thank you, Lycra Man! 😀 I’m not exactly sure I know what Elliot was trying to say either, but the words seemed to fit how I felt about my personal discoveries during 2020. Your words, “those rare and fleeting moments when the small part of the world we are standing in seems so right and wonderful” describe it very well. Sometimes I felt a little guilty in 2020 that I was having an easier time than others because of my introversion, but in the end I just felt grateful that a trait that often made life more challenging in the past, actually benefitted me during Covid restrictions. I was also thankful that the general community became much more aware of infection control which helped protect those in my family who have chronic illness. Thank you for your continued encouragement and support. I hope 2021 brings you all that you hope for, as well as good health and happiness. 🙂

  6. Delighted to hear from you, Jane.
    How exciting to have Tawny Frogmouth chicks in your back yard. Truly thrilling to have you share these images.
    Hope you and your family have a better 2021 and as always, keep safe and I hope you enjoy improved health and happiness in the days/weeks/months to come 🙂

    • Wonderful to hear from you again, Vicki! Although I’ve been quiet on WordPress, I’ve been thinking of all my blogging friends both in Australia and overseas during 2020, and hoped you stayed safe. With your chronic health conditions I imagine you’ve been even more isolated than usual. Yes, it certainly was thrilling to watch the Tawny chicks! I feel so lucky. I remember saying to someone, “My life is now complete.” Hehe. I’ve seen Tawnies often but to have them nest in my yard was extra special. I hope they will survive to have their own offspring. Thank you for your interest and support over the years. I do hope that 2021 is a good year for you – one that gives you less pain and much more joy. All my best. 🙂

    • Thank you, Brian! Here’s hoping next year is full of many special moments (with a little less drama) and lots and lots of lovely rain for you! I’m not sure when it will be safe to travel much interstate but hopefully one day I can have a tour of Bushboy’s piece of paradise. 🙂

      • The rain has been wonderful. I have started becoming a bit tropical again and the bush is bursting. Not used to having to walk through long vegetation. I’ll be here 🙂

        • That’s fantastic news! For the first time in a few years I’m having to be careful of walking on snakes in the lush undergrowth under my trees, and of course, the weeds have come back again. Haha. Such great news for your wildlife and your spirits. 🙂

          • It looks like I have a temporary reprieve from Lantana not many burnt dead sticks around compared to before. Didn’t have to battle through spiders webs though.
            New things here since 27 Dec
            Dainty Swallowtail Butterfly
            Purple Fringe Lily
            Whipbirds
            Neon Cuckoo Bee

            • A temporary reprieve from lantana is a bonus. I even have some in my house yard that keeps surviving despite my best efforts. It’s so persistent! Those are exciting new nature sightings at your place. I’ve not seen the first 3 here, but I do have neon cuckoo bees. That’s wonderful news after the trauma of past bushfire traumas. I hope you see more new arrivals in the new year. 🙂

  7. They are amazing birds. They seem to survive in a world destined to do them in, so many obstacles, and I see so many dead on the roads. They look unbelievably fragile but are real survivors! So, its such great news, and only fitting, that these guys should find you and your place. Fabulous stuff.

    Have enjoyed your wonderful blog posts in 2020, Jane. Hope to see some more sometime in 2021. Cheers and all the best for the coming year, Rob.

    • Thanks very much, Rob! Yes, they are amazing birds! Their nests are so flimsy, they are rather awkward at flying, and as you said, they are prone to being hit by cars. It seems a wonder that they ever manage to produce offspring that survive to adulthood. I’m trying to avoid looking at my local neighbourhood roads too closely for fear that I’ll find one of the Tawny family flattened. Perhaps the survival of what seems like such a fragile bird can give us hope that we too can make it through crazy times even though we may also feel quite fragile. I hope so anyway. 🙂

      Thanks for all your kind support and encouragement over the years, Rob. Your generosity with your time for others is greatly appreciated by many. I hope you are able to find more time for yourself in 2021, especially using your new camera to take your usual incredible nature shots. All the best. 🙂

  8. Not with a bang, but a whimper? TSEliot – a favorite of mine.

    Jane, you are missed when you disappear for these long stretches, but all the more appreciated when you reappear! 🥰 I can certainly relate to that drawing inward during the angst of this past year. I went into a sort of hibernation which also resulted in some inner growth and drawing closer to the natural world surrounding me. Thank you for showing us your sweet little Tawnies. They are beyond precious. Lucky you to have a resident Tawny family!

    • Ah yes, certainly a whimper this year! 😀 I’m delighted that T.S. Elliot is also a favourite of yours. I only discovered his poem that the quote came from recently. I am a bit slow to the table! Hehe. I watched a documentary about a famous portrait photographer who was very taken by Elliot’s quote. He loved to capture forever those fleeting moments in a person’s expression that represent the “still points.” Wow, you really described my own feelings there, Gunta! You certainly know what I mean. A sort of hibernation describes it so well. That drawing inward and becoming closer to nature is what it was. They were the words I was really searching for. Thank you for your sweet words about me being missed. You are very kind. Perhaps next year I can emerge from hibernation and share more nature experiences. I’m hoping 2021 is a happy and healthy year for you, Gunta, with plenty of magic moments! 🙂 x

  9. So glad to hear it was a good year for you, Jane. I have appreciated the opportunity to enjoy my immediate surroundings too … but I don’t have those beautiful tawny frogmouths to enjoy. So lucky! Look forward to seeing more pictures. All the best.

    • Thanks very much, Nic. 🙂 So pleased to hear from you and know you’ve had time to enjoy your immediate surroundings more too. You’re always such a keen observer of the natural world though and you never seem to take anything for granted. I admire your excellent photography, your way with words, and your practical skills in the your backyard. I may have Tawnies but I don’t have Pacific Baza families visit my neighbourhood like you do. They are rather impressive! I spent hours stalking one at a national park a few years ago only to secure one or two poor shots. I’d be ecstatic if one visited my yard. I do hope 2021 provides you with many more exciting encounters! Best wishes. 🙂

  10. Hey Jane,

    Great to hear from you again, I too have spent the majority of the year close to home, although I had no Tawny Frogmouths to keep me entertained (Copperhead snakes, Roos and Swans shared my bubble!). I’m hoping 2021 might give me an opportunity to head up and visit again. I’m certainly not coping with being locked down as well as you:)

    Cheers
    Kevin

    • Thanks very much, Kevin. 🙂 Well, I hope you get to do the travelling that you crave. I know it’s not as easy for everyone to stay at home and be satisfied. We’re all different. Growing up with a younger brother who had congenital heart problems and a severely limited life span, as well as seeing other loved ones with chronic illnesses who would probably die if they caught Covid-19 is a reminder to me to be thankful for my situation. Many disabled people who are prone to infection or have children with compromised immune conditions are already in a kind of “lockdown” without Covid even happening. People getting cancer treatment have their freedoms so limited at the moment. For them it’s a constant fear. And then there are the people who have little income and can’t even afford to travel. So it’s been a good year to count my blessings and enjoy things much closer to home. I’ve also saved a lot of money in fuel during the process. And I got stuck into growing my own food again so that was a nice benefit. I’m really hoping that the world gets on top of this Pandemic soon so the suffering and death can end. It’s a difficult time for many. Copperheads, roos and swans sound like fun bubble mates, Kevin. Hehe. All the best for a much better year. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Anna! 🙂 Yeah, I do feel very lucky. I was over the moon to see the fluffy chicks on my chookpen fence. I was a bit nervous about predators getting them so it was a relief to see them alive every morning. I hope you have a fabulous 2021, Anna. All the best to you and your family. One day I’ll make it to WA. 🙂

    • So lovely to hear from you, John. I hoped you were going ok there in the US during what has been a tumultuous year for many. Thanks very much for your kind wishes. I do hope you are well, and I wish you a healthy and happy 2021. All the best from here in sunny Oz. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Caro! So pleased to read that you’re a big fan of TFMs too. They are such characters. I love how grumpy and unimpressed they look sometimes. Haha. And their attempts at resembling a branch while watching me through half-closed eyes make me laugh as well. If I can bring a smile to your face then my job is complete. That makes me happy. I hope you are doing well during these Covid times and you are managing to have an income. I’m assuming with lockdowns and travel restrictions that some of your work is affected? I hope all is ok for you. Hoping 2021 is a year of happy memories for you, Caro. All the best, Jane. 🙂

  11. As always, it’s wonderful to hear from you Jane. It has been a year for introverts, hasn’t it? Like you, I found that slowing down and staying home brought unexpected, sweet compensations. In many ways, it has been a wonderful time for me in our little hillside world, but accompanied all the time with the swirl outside of ugliness and pain. What a year.

    I can imagine that those expressive tawny frogmouths have put on quite a show for you. I love watching our nesting birds raise their chicks, but your fluffballs with eyes are like creatures from another world!

    Enjoy your still points. Hope to hear from you more in this next year.

    Brenda

    • Dear Brenda, I just discovered your message. So sorry to take so long to reply! Thank you. It’s always so lovely to hear from you. Staying at home helped me rediscover a few passions, including gardening and art jigsaw puzzles. I set up 3 mini greenhouses near my patio to grow edibles (the possums, birds etc eat them if grown in the ground.) I get great joy out of watching seeds germinate and fruit/veg ripen. Puzzles of the works of favourite artists and of nature themes also helped reduce my anxiety and sadness about the suffering in the world from Covid that I could not change. I felt grateful for my introverted nature instead of feeling like I was somehow deficient because of it.

      Although we’ve currently no travel restrictions within my state, I haven’t been doing any hikes because of health reasons, but I do have a hard drive full of old photos still to share from past years. If I can remember what actually happened, I hope to share a few stories in 2021. We’ll see if I can kick-start the old brain. Hehe.

      Thanks again, Brenda. I hope you and your loved ones stay well this year and you also find many moments of joy. Best wishes, Jane.

  12. Danke Jane für diesen Beitrag. Deine Seite ist immer in meinem Blogroll. Ich bin Österreicher und lebe seit drei Jahren in Rapallo, Italien in einer Wohnung. Diese Wohnung hat einen großen Balkon mit Blick zu einem privaten Park mit sehr hohen Bäumen. Seit diesen Winter höre ich jeden Abend die Stimme von einem Waldkauz. Ich hoffe auch von dir wieder zu hören. Ich wünsche dir ein gutes und gesundes Jahr 2021. Ernestus.
    Thanks Jane for this post. Your page is always in my blogroll. I am Austrian and have lived in an apartment in Rapallo, Italy for three years. This apartment has a large balcony overlooking a private park with very tall trees. Since this winter I have heard the voice of a tawny owl every evening. I hope to hear from you again. I wish you a good and healthy year 2021. (google translation)

    • Hi Ernestus,
      It’s wonderful to hear from you again! Thank you for sharing your story about your apartment. I’m so pleased that your balcony overlooks a lovely park and that this winter you’ve been able to enjoy the evening calls of a tawny owl. What a pleasure that would be. I have a jigsaw puzzle of a Tawny Owl that I’ll be starting soon. I’m very fond of owls. I saw many news reports about the terrible struggles Italy has had with Covid. I do hope you stay safe there. Australia has been very lucky compared to many countries. Best wishes and thank you again for your comment. Jane.

      Es ist wunderbar, wieder von Ihnen zu hören! Vielen Dank, dass Sie Ihre Geschichte über Ihre Wohnung geteilt haben. Ich freue mich sehr, dass Ihr Balkon einen schönen Park überblickt und Sie diesen Winter die abendlichen Anrufe einer Waldkauz genießen konnten. Was für ein Vergnügen das wäre. Ich habe ein Puzzle einer Waldkauz, mit dem ich bald anfangen werde. Ich mag Eulen sehr gern. Ich habe viele Nachrichten über die schrecklichen Kämpfe Italiens mit Covid gesehen. Ich hoffe du bleibst dort sicher. Australien hat im Vergleich zu vielen Ländern sehr viel Glück gehabt. Beste Wünsche und nochmals vielen Dank für Ihren Kommentar. Jane. (Google translation)

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