This last weekend I was treated to one of the most dazzling displays of nature I have ever been privileged to witness. My wife, daughter and I spent 4 days chasing wildflowers and rocks in the Wheatbelt north of Perth. Even though it was late in the season the display was still amazing. It was as if someone had taken a giant paintbrush and made great strokes with vibrant blues, yellows and purples right across the countryside. Coupled with the rich greens and golds of the wheat and the brilliant yellow of the cannola the pictures would have done Monet proud. Add in the rocks of Kalbarri and it was truly an awe-inspiring experience.
Looking at the wildflowers from a distance gave a magnificent impression. Looked at close-up a whole new impression was generated. Most of the flowers were small to tiny but each was exquisite. Some were growing amongst rich fields of wheat, others sprouting from dusty and barren ground. It was hard to believe that such perfection could arise from such an inhospitable place. How puny are our own efforts to create things of beauty.
The rocks too were made dramatic by what had been removed rather than what was there. The fantastic striations and shapes were only visible as a result of the relentless removal of softer material by wind and water. Again the windswept rocks were populated by wildflowers growing out of accumulations of soil and trees were sprouting from cracks where soil was not even visible.
My camera was worked overtime and boy was it a challenge changing lenses without getting flies trapped inside it! I am not sure which I prefer, flies or the sandflies with which New Zealand's scenic wonders are blest.
Shortly before heading off I had listened to a radio programme entitled "Buried Alive". Amongst many observations and rather incredible tales was the observation that "Work is like being buried alive" (I am afraid I cannot recall to whom this quote was attributed). As a result of work pressures and several deadlines (including getting this web-site issue prepared!) I came very close to canceling the trip. Had I deprived myself of this opportunity I would have been a lot poorer and would indeed be feeling buried alive at this time. Sure Kalbarri will still be there next year and there will be more wildflowers, however, neither will be the same again. My experiences will have been different by the time next season comes around and my responses different; we probably won't chance upon whales off the coast at the same time; and my daughter will not be with us to share the experience. Next year it will be the same but different.
Getting away, even for a short time, and taking time to notice the natural world around us puts our own lives into perspective. I believe this is very important, yet it is something that many, nay most of us are too ready to pass up in response to deadlines at work. While the wildflowers would still be there next year if I hadn't see them this season, so will the deadlines and crises.
Seize your opportunities as they arise or you do indeed risk being buried alive.