michaelgriffith (michaelgriffith) wrote,

Christmas 2008

Hi all- now that marking is over (more or less) and Christmas has just about been and gone, I can begin my many catch-up tasks- one of which is attending to LJ. I hope that you have all had a wonderful few weeks in the lead up to this holiday period and that you continue to enjoy life in all its creativity and fullness. Can I share with you a few exciting events of the past few weeks. As many of you know I had the privilege to work with a group of homeless students on an Introduction to Literature course that concluded with a four week stint on drama. We focused on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and were helped by the Bell Shakespeare Company in preparing some scenes for a public performance. Here are a few of our group in rehearsal. Here is Peter C(who played a wonderful "Wall") together with John and David who stunned the audience with their roles as the star-crossed lovers Pyramus and Thisbe (remember to double or triple click on images to see them in full size):

Yours truly got the part of Puck in the closing scene of the play... I think this is a fantastic moment in Shakespeare- what a joy!

Since that performance I have been collecting my energies at home: doing lots of bushwalking and preparing for Christmas festivities...
I was amazed to discover some Christmas Bells just at the bottom of our garden- with my two fearless dogs, Tipsy and Molly

Here are a few pictures from recent walks down the valleys and gorges around where I live in Mount Kuring-gai. This is my friend Graeme descending the track to Budgwa Bay- which is within the Muoggamora Nature reserve next to Cowan. The wattles where profuse along the track yesterday morning. We set out around 5.30 am. The air was filled with bird calls. There was a light morning mist over the tree tops.

Further down the track -as the light became more intense- we came into this extraordinary Angophora forest, where the Angophoras are massive and glow a deep pink in the early morning light. I could not resist the opportunity to pose as tree-hugger...

The day before I had walked on a new track into the Garigal National Park (opposite the BaHai Temple in Terrey Hills). This is a track filled with fabulous midsummer flowers and some wonderful views over to the ocean along the Northern Beaches. This is my partner (wife) of some 35 years (Rosie) pos(e)ing (!) under some flowering needle-pointed Hakea. This is Hakea Sericea which has a wonderful strong scent of sarsaparilla

And here is one of many of the miraculous wild flowers ("heaven in a wild flower"!) along this track: the fringed lily

A little further up on the ridge top- in fact not far from the BaHai temple itself (they have selected such an extraordinarily beautiful site for their temple!)- was the best example I have ever seen of a Xylomylum Pyriform (commonly known as the Woody Pear). This is part of the Australian native Proteacea family (which includes the Waratah, the Banksia, the Hakea and the Grevillea)... in fact the leaves of the Xylomylum look very like the leaves of the Waratah. But this particular tree had around 10 woody pears on it... these are not of course edible pears, but they are hard woody seed capsules that look like pears... for me, seeing this, is very exciting! I suppose it takes all types:

As the finale to this story of Christmas indulgence, here are a few pictures from our family festivities. First Rosie playing Christkindie for her Grandchildren (we celebrate Christmas the Austrian way -my mother being Austrian- on December 24th- when Christkindie (not Santa) comes to give children their presents):

Here is daughter Helen (just finished HSC) with boyfriend Dan (in the back) and son David with two of our grandchildren (Leeara 10 and Alexander 5- school next year!):

And here is the bulk of our clan huddled for required family photo under the Christmas tree... too many to identify... but it was a lovely, if somewhat hectic day:

The morning after provided a fabulous early morning dawn over our balcony where I could listen to the dawn chorus of birds against the backdrop of the rising sun:

Happy New Year to you all. I look forward to working with you next year and helping you develop your own creative talents in LiveJournal to their fullest.
LIke a reluctant composer who can't quite work out when to stop his creation... so the concluding chords go on repeating... can I share a short poem I wrote (still needs some editing and tidying) in the wake of the rising sun:

"Bird song is your reverberating touch" - Francis Webb

The magpies bring a simple clarity
A soft unweaving of complexity
A fluting, a channelling, that opens
A fine breath of cool, blue air.
Grey beaks lifted to the sky
Together they warble,
turn air Into gentle currents of liquid.
Interspersed by the metallic chaff
Of the Rosella, as it flashes past;
And into the soundscape the butcher-bird
weaves his more complex, echoing song:
A tapestry of whistling pin-points
Tying the air into an Arabic brocade-
In the wake of the early morning symphony
Helping me in my gathering...
I sit replete
Filled with the sounds of the
Awakening dawn
The arising of the sun in me

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