The apartment we’re staying in Mosman, NSW has a veranda with glorious views out to the bay, and beyond that to the ocean. The veranda is also a stopping off point for a couple of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos who patrol the area picking up ‘dainties” from well meaning locals such as myself. These feathered beauties are no bird brains either. One actually will come up to the glass door and tap it’s beak on it to gain our attention should it’s fearsome squawking not be enough to rouse us from our morning duties.
But what struck me most about them was that they can eat a piece of bread with one foot, whilst standing on the other foot perched on a precarious ledge some 35 feet above the ground. Not only that, they are also very wary of humans, which, if you’re a bird, a beast or a fish, is quite a sensible thing to be.
My perching parrots got me thinking about how we humans create our own comfort zones. How we embed ourselves in our homes, our jobs, our families and our communities. How we like to feel comfortable, in command and safe. But somehow, as we grow older, life slowly leeches that illusion of safety away. Somehow things don’t always work out as we’d planned: the job we wanted wasn’t how we saw it: the relationship we thought we had has turned into a desiccated day to day endurance event: life seems to be run to other peoples deadlines - most of which seem ridiculous to us. The list often appears endless.
But then a cockatoo lands on your veranda!
Have you every tried brushing your teeth standing on one leg? Walking over a rough surface in bare feet? Lying on the beach/grass/park bench and looking at the stars at night? Then there’s learning a new language: taking up drawing/woodwork/cooking/gardening: anyone for Latin American dancing?
All of us - young, old, tall short, stout or slim, of whatever faith, creed or religion we may be, we can all push back the boundaries of ignorance which has limited our thinking about what we are truly capable of.
In my books I write of ordinary folk who manage to do great things, not because they chose to, or even wanted to, but because they could.
***** By the way - do NOT try eating a piece of bread whilst standing on one leg whilst perched on a high veranda ledge - not unless you have wings! *****
I’m here on the east coast of Australia working in a great Medical Center in the suburb of Mosman, in Sydney NSW. This is my fourth ‘tour of duty’ in this Practice and one that I’m truly enjoying as the team I work with are great people. Mind you, because some of the Docs are on holiday, it’s been pretty busy so I value my recovery time taking a swim down at the beach or going for long walks.
On one of those trips I was able to help out at a motor vehicle accident when a gentleman lost control of his car and skidded into a hedge. Luckily, the trees lost more bark than he did! But it was great to be able to help out and everyone at the scene did their bit really well - take a bow Nurse Alright!
The following night a storm hit the city after one of the hottest days in decades. The lightning strikes were spectacular, but by morning it was all a distant memory. Even the friendly, local Sulphur Crested Cockatoo was more interested in getting ‘his ‘daily bread’ than in the previous night’s tempest!
I’ve also delighted in reading one of the best books to have inhabited my bedside table in years - A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Townes - a beautiful book and well worth a read.
All this activity has led me to neglect the marketing of The Missing - my second Renaissance Brothers book. Still, Ihave little doubt that Mr Towles took many years to reach the summit, and indeed, I’m in no great rush but am thoroughly enjoying the process and the gentle literary ascent.
Despite the fact that the next couple of weeks are looking to be just as demanding, I’ve an inkling of an idea of how to increase my literary profile. Email me if you can guess how.