Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2008

Gone for the summer

It is a hectic time of year with annual planning in full swing at work ... endless meetings, revisions and late nights. Add to that the frustration or rainy roads causing traffic chaos ... take for example, more than 3 hours to get into the city on Thursday morning (I arrived nearly an hour late for my meeting) or last night crawling over 2 hours from Penrith because an accident blocked the highway and the nature of our terrain doesn't allow for alternative routes. So I am signing off for the summer. I won't be posting, reading blogs or commenting for a month or two. I will be back some time in the New Year revived and with a backlog of pics (I hope) to tide me over the tough times. Thank you all for your regular comments and I do so much enjoy reading your blogs and am always inspired by your great photographs. During the summer break I will be going to the beach for a while so sometime after Christmas expect new pictures at Sweet Wayfaring . For today's picture we are tak

Weed maybe

I have noticed these purple flowers growing beside the road near Springwood so stopped for a closer look. They appear to be spreading along the road, but nowhere near as fast as the Calliopsis I showed yesterday. I don't know whether this is a native plant. So I don't know whether to call it a weed or not.


The other day Julie took me to task for calling these delightful yellow flowers weeds rather than wildflowers. My definition of a weed is a non-native plant that spreads prolifically, displacing native plants. So by my definition I guess these are still weeds even though I love 'em. Fortunately they tend to colonise sunny roadsides rather than the bushland. Words to walk with: Here is an update with info from the Weeds Australia site: Native to central and south-east United States of America ... In Western Australia it is a garden escapee along the roadside between Perth and Albany and it is known in the Blue Mountains in NSW. In Queensland it was first recorded as naturalised in Kingaroy in 1944 and is currently spreading as a roadside weed from Tin Can Bay to the NSW border. It is also abundant in the Stanthorpe district and has the potential to become a major ground cover weed in forested areas in coastal and sub-coastal districts of Queensland and NSW.

Nepean River

The road then descends quickly to the bottom of the mountains and I can see the growing city of Penrith sprawling across the plains below. At its border is the lovely Nepean river and this is where our pictorial drive ends. From here there is a high speed motorway mostly edged by hard concrete, grassy slopes and planted trees. About this point I put on the radio and hurtle along oblivious to Sydney's western suburbs hiding behind the trees.

Nearly at the bottom

We are nearing the bottom of the mountains now. This interesting art deco building is at the Airforce Base at Glenbrook.

Palm trees

The Roads and Traffic Authority doesn't always get it right with their choice of plants. These palm trees we added when the highway at Blaxland was widened. They were considered inappropriate and not popular at the time but I guess I am getting used to them.


As I descend to where the climate is warmer purple Jacarandas are putting on a pretty purple display. At Warrimoo I am always delighted to see this one which is beautifully offset with a flamboyant hot pink bougainvillea.

Unplanned garden

But its the unplanned garden that I like the best. At this time of year cheerful yellow weeds line the highway.

Our garden

Each new section of the highway is carefully landscaped with roadside plants to soften the starkness of the new road. My husband and I call it 'Our Garden' and like to watch the changing seasonal display. It has just finished its spring flush of red bottlebrush flowers (callistemon).


I have no idea what this wall is or what hides behind it. Most things very old around here are attributed to the times when the convicts constructed the first road over the mountains in 1814. Today's highway and the railway line tend to follow a similar path to that old road.

Heart of the mountains

The City of the Blue Mountains comprises a string of small towns or villages running along a ridge flanked on each side by wilderness. Each town has its own entry sign with its own claim to fame. Words to walk with: I carry your heart with me by ee cummings "carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling) I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

A passing glimpse

The scenery going down the mountain doesn't have the same wild majesty as higher up, but the glimpses past the houses are still lovely to behold. On colder mornings I see the mist fingering its way along the valleys. Words to walk with: A Passing Glimpse by Robert Frost I often see flowers from a passing car That are gone before I can tell what they are. I want to get out of the train and go back To see what they were beside the track. I name all the flowers I am sure they weren't; Not fireweed loving where woods have burnt-- Not bluebells gracing a tunnel mouth-- Not lupine living on sand and drouth. Was something brushed across my mind That no one on earth will ever find? Heaven gives it glimpses only to those Not in position to look too close.

My daily drive

PJ has requested to see something of the terrain that I travel through on my 100km drive to work each day. So here we go, its not all pretty views. I start with the slow bit, the never ending roadworks that are making the highway wider, the hills flatter, the curves straighter -- so people can speed through our magnificent bushland without noticing. No sooner do they finish one patch than they move onto the next town. By the way, the Old Lawson Mechanics Institute building that I wrote about in September has been saved from destruction by the highway widening juggernaut! A tribute to a persistent band of locals.

Summer roses

Summer starts today and the weekend was just warm enough to feel eager about it happening soon. Let's celebrate. (I bought these at the Lawson festival) Words to walk with: Sonnet 54 by William Shakespeare "O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem By that sweet ornament which truth doth give! The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem For that sweet odour which doth in it live. The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye As the perfumed tincture of the roses, Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly When summer's breath their masked buds discloses: But, for their virtue only is their show, They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade, Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so; Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made: And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth, When that shall fade, my verse distills your truth.

The carnival is over

Something new tomorrow. Words to walk with: From The Carnival is Over sung by The Seekers in 1965 "Say goodbye my own true lover As we sing a lovers song How it breaks my heart to leave you Now the carnival is gone High above the dawn is waiting And my tears are falling rain For the carnival is over We may never meet again"

Are the times changing?

There are times around here when I think we forget the 1970s are over. Words to walk with: From The Times They Are A-Changin' by Bob Dylan "If your time to you Is worth savin' Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin'.

Bric a brac

Bric a brac. Is that a polite word for junk? There is lots of it at the market. Words to walk with: Definition of Bric a brac in Wikipedea "The term bric-à-brac (origin French) was first used in the Victorian era. It referred then to collections of curios such as elaborately decorated teacups and small vases, feathers, wax flowers under glass domes, eggshells, statuettes, painted miniatures or photographs, and so on ... Bric-à-brac nowadays refers to a selection of items of low value, often sold in street markets.

Clowning about

The clown peeping over the picture frame, reminds me of the whimsical foo cartoons we used to draw as kids -- a bald headed man looking over a wall. Words to walk with: Acrobats by Robert Graves Poised impossibly on the high tightrope of love in spite of all, They still preserve their dizzying balance And smile this way or that, As though uncertain on which side to fall.

Arts and craft

Arts and crafts people and gardeners abound, with a special emphasis on recycling and organic.


With a magnificent pristine natural environment embracing our city it's not surprising to find a deep spiritual response in the community. There are a plethora of approaches from Christian centres to retreats and practitioners of a broad range of alternative religions and therapies. Here's a small sample from the public notices in this week's Blue Mountains Gazette -- Reiki, Crystal light bed healing, Bowen therapy, reflexology, clairvoyant, hypnotherapy, ka huna energy healing, spiritual readings, tai chi, dream analysis. Words to walk with: My period had come for Prayer by Emily Dickinson My period had come for Prayer— No other Art—would do— My Tactics missed a rudiment— Creator—Was it you? God grows above—so those who pray Horizons—must ascend— And so I stepped upon the North To see this Curious Friend— His House was not—no sign had He— By Chimney—nor by Door Could I infer his Residence— Vast Prairies of Air Unbroken by a Settler— Were all that I could see— Infinitude—H


It's hard to believe we are just one week away from Summer. This weekend it has been very cold with some sort of freak wind blowing its way up from the Antarctic. I've just taken a look at the Weather Bureau website -- our normal November temperature is a balmy 20 C (68 F). Yesterday it was below 5 C (41 F) with snow falling in the upper mountains. So I am sitting here with a log fire burning. Fortunately, last weekend was bright and sunny for the Love Lawson Festival market day. I took my camera along to give you a taste of our local colour. Words to walk with: From the children's nursery rhyme Lavender's Blue "Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, Lavender's green. When you are King, dilly dilly, I shall be Queen. Who told you so, dilly dilly, Who told you so? 'Twas my own heart, dilly dilly, That told me so."

The end of the road

The bush track winds down the slope and comes to a surprise dead end at open farmland. And this is the end of this trek, I'll start on something new tomorrow. Words to walk with: The Road and the End by Carl Sandburg "I shall foot it Down the roadway in the dusk, Where shapes of hunger wander And the fugitives of pain go by. I shall foot it In the silence of the morning, See the night slur into dawn, Hear the slow great winds arise Where tall trees flank the way And shoulder toward the sky. The broken boulders by the road Shall not commemorate my ruin. Regret shall be the gravel under foot. I shall watch for Slim birds swift of wing That go where wind and ranks of thunder Drive the wild processionals of rain. The dust of the traveled road Shall touch my hands and face."

Ferny place

Along the road we came across this ferny place. I used to tell my little nieces that when they walked through a ferny dell they became fairies until midday. We had wonderful fairy times together. Why the noon rule? To give their aunty a rest! I loved fairies as a little girl who learnt the words below in my elocution lessons. This short piece seemed soooo long when I was seven. Words to walk with: From Peter and Wendy by J.M Barrie "A moment after the fairy’s entrance the window was blown open by the breathing of the little stars, and Peter dropped in. He had carried Tinker Bell part of the way, and his hand was still messy with the fairy dust. “Tinker Bell,” he called softly, after making sure that the children were asleep, “Tink, where are you?” She was in a jug for the moment, and liking it extremely; she had never been in a jug before. “Oh, do come out of that jug, and tell me, do you know where they put my shadow?” The loveliest tinkle as of golden bells answered him. It is


Kanimbla Valley road branches off the to the West from Shipley's plateau. It is a pretty drive with lovely trees and tall rocks in the quiet of the bush. Words to walk with: Silence by Thomas Hood "There is a silence where hath been no sound, There is a silence where no sound may be, In the cold grave—under the deep, deep sea, Or in wide desert where no life is found, Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound; No voice is hush’d—no life treads silently, But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free, That never spoke, over the idle ground: But in green ruins, in the desolate walls Of antique palaces, where Man hath been, Though the dun fox or wild hyæna calls, And owls, that flit continually between, Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan— There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.

Look down

Looking down from Hargreaves Lookout towards the South there is a walk that goes out to the end of the ridge. I was feeling a little too tired to clamber among the rocks (and too tired to find a poem tonight).

The East

And this shows something of the view to the east from Hargreaves lookout. Words to walk with: From The Ballad of East and West by Rudyard Kipling "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat; But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!" Its a long poem -- click on the link above to read the full story.

The West

Hargreaves lookout is a the end of Shipley's Plateau road. To the west is a view of the farmland beyond the mountains. To the east is the view over Megalong Valley to the cliffs of the mountains. This is the view to the west.

Wild flowers

Being spring, I have written a lot about wild flowers recently. I think this and yesterday's image put them in perspective. They are not in great swathes or an abundant show but more like a spinkle of little flowers on the sandy soil. In this picture you can see white smoke bush , pink kunzea and blue dampiera , each one beautiful in their detail (click on the links to see them close up). Words to walk with: From Auguries of Innocence by William Blake "To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour."

Fret not

The next run of photos were taken on a Sunday drive along Shipley Plateau out from Blackheath. The shots aren't too good but with limited time to get out and about I have to go with what I get. It is tiresome and tiring driving 100kms (60 miles) each way to work each day but I am trying not to fret and instead enjoy the hours of peaceful contemplation it gives to me. Words to walk (and drive) with: Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room by William Wordsworth "Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room; And hermits are contented with their cells; And students with their pensive citadels; Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom, Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom, High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells, Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells: In truth the prison, unto which we doom Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me, In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground; Pleased if some Souls (fo

Rolls Royce

Old cars often travel in fleets over the mountains. We caught this one up a Mount Victoria the other week when we were stopping by at the Bay Tree Tea Rooms for lunch. Words to walk with: From Sprawl by Les Murray "Sprawl is the quality of the man who cut down his Rolls-Royce into a farm utility truck, and sprawl is what the company lacked when it made repeated efforts to buy the vehicle back and repair its image. Sprawl is doing your farm work by aeroplane, roughly, or driving a hitchhiker that extra hundred miles home. It is the rococo of being your own still centre. It is never lighting cigars with ten dollar notes: that's idiot ostentation and murder of starving people. Nor can it be bought with the ash of million dollar deeds."

Waratahs for sale

At this time of year I always keep my eye out for waratahs flowering in the bush . But for something different this year here is a photo of waratah blooms for sale at the Blackheath festival recently.

Feed the heart

And at the top these new old man banksias growing up for their summer display. Words to Walk with: From Who Walketh Wonder Shod by Dame Mary Gilmore "Feed the mind and feed the heart, Fill thy life and wonder! Wonder binds, and, though all part, Naught there is can sunder. Wonder is the word of God Spoken in the soul, He who walketh wonder shod Walketh not in dole."

Feed the mind

Up the stairs, after a bit of huffing and puffing I was back at the top on the sandy track where I found these pink kunzea flowers. Aren't they lovely. Words to walk with: From Who Walketh Wonder Shod by Dame Mary Gilmore "Feed the mind, feed the mind, Feed the mind with wonder! Feel the marvel of the wind, Th' astonishment of thunder; Find enigma in the grass, Splendours in the dew, Till all things shall, as in a glass, Show the glory through."


And the trees are way up there, back up the stairs. Sigh. Today is Remembrance Day. I have a photo showing three of my great uncles in their uniforms going off to World War 1. They were tall country boys fresh from the tall forested mountains of Victoria heading off to the fields of Egypt and France. We can now search the World War 1 archives on the web, I found details of their postings, their wounds and their mother's anxious enquiries about their welfare. One did not return. Words to walk with: Glory of Women by Siegfried Sasoon You love us when we're heroes, home on leave, Or wounded in a mentionable place. You worship decorations; you believe That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace. You make us shells. You listen with delight, By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled. You crown our distant ardours while we fight, And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed. You can't believe that British troops 'retire' When hell's last horror breaks them

The whole view

Here is the full length view of Cataract Falls -- hardly a cataract. I think we are often better off with a limited view, even though it annoys us. Words to walk with: From The Future by Les Murray "There is nothing about it. Much science fiction is set there but it is not about it. Prophecy is not about it. It sways no yarrow stalks. And crystal is a mirror. Even the man we nailed on a tree for a lookout said little about it; he told us evil would come. We see by convention, a small living distance into it but even that's a projection. And all our projections fail to curve where it curves."


It is so good to have the weekends to revive for the week to follow. Words to Walk With: Work and Contemplation by Elizabeth Barrett Browning The woman singeth at her spinning-wheel A pleasant chant, ballad or barcarole; She thinketh of her song, upon the whole, Far more than of her flax; and yet the reel Is full, and artfully her fingers feel With quick adjustment, provident control, The lines-too subtly twisted to unroll - Out to a perfect thread. I hence appeal To the dear Christian Church-that we may do Our Father's business in these temples mirk, Thus swift and steadfast, thus intent and strong; While thus, apart from toil, our souls pursue Some high calm spheric tune, and prove our work The better for the sweetness of our song.

Cataract Falls

And here's the waterfall. Words to Walk With: From The Cataract of Lodore by Robert Southey "The Cataract strong Then plunges along, Striking and raging As if a war waging Its caverns and rocks among: Rising and leaping, Sinking and creeping, Swelling and sweeping, Showering and springing, Flying and flinging, Writhing and ringing, Eddying and whisking, Spouting and frisking, Turning and twisting, Around and around With endless rebound!"

Damp, ferny, mossy

Down the steps it's a different world -- damp, ferny and mossy with the sound of babbling water. The waterfall is just around this corner.

Next steps

After the smooth sandy path comes the steps. Down, down, down to the cool green place of falling waters below. Most of the steps are pretty rough and ready so I pick my way down them carefully, though I am amazed to sometimes see men jogging these tracks. Words to Walk With: The Serinity Prayer attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr has been adopted by Alchoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs but a good one for us all. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

Sandy track

Most walking tracks in the mountains start with a relatively easy stroll through the open forest. Here it is sandy so plants have to work harder to thrive in the impoverished soil. But what an amazing display this struggle against advertisity delivers. In addition to the list I provided last week, I saw hardenbergia , grevillias , mitrasacme , tea tree , dampiera , lambertia and is this is by no means all. Words to Walk With: Romans 5:4 from the Holy Bible New International Version "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."


I decided to go back to the Lawson waterfall walk again this weekend, choosing to start at the other end of the track. Not far down the path there is a glimpse of what is to come, a peek at Cateract Falls. Words to Walk with: From Anticipation by Emily Bronte "A thoughtful spirit taught me, soon, That we must long till life be done; That every phase of earthly joy Must always fade, and always cloy: This I foresaw - and would not chase The fleeting treacheries; But, with firm foot and tranquil face, Held backward from that tempting race, Gazed o'er the sands the waves efface, To the enduring seas - ; There cast my anchor of desire Deep in unknown eternity; Nor ever let my spirit tire, With looking for what is to be!"

Journal keeping

One the highway at Falconbridge there is an unusual pond at the side of the road. Unusual in that it doesn't seem to be water storage for the old steam trains and is filled with water lilies which flower at this time of year. I've often meant to stop and take a photo and did so this weekend. It is impossible to think of Waterlilies and the Blue Mountains without thinking of Kate Llewellyn's Blue Mountains Journal titled The Waterlily . This journal, which I read soon after arriving here, delighted me as it captures life here so well and many years later inspired me to create this photo journal. Words to Walk with: From The Waterlily by Kate Llewellyn. "When I came to live in the mountains I was determined to be happy. Sparrows were pecking the pale green and white shoots of the tree outside the kitchen as I made the first cup of tea for the day. I looked at them, watching them pull up their feathers and decided to write a journal."

Marked by

Back near the top I saw this post, once part of the track signage. It is marked by fire, an ever present threat during the heat of summer. Marked by decay, maintenance of over 200 tracks is a challenge. Marked by time, the Lawson track was begun in the 1870s. Writing this got me thinking about what marks life. Words to walk with: It is not growing like a tree by Ben Jonson "It is not growing like a tree In bulk doth make Man better be; Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere: A lily of a day Is fairer far in May, Although it fall and die that night— It was the plant and flower of light. In small proportions we just beauties see; And in short measures life may perfect be.

The finch and the tree

Because I had sat thinking so long at Adelina Falls I didn't finish the waterfall circuit. Instead I retraced my steps. At the viewing point about half way up you can't see much of the falls because the trees have grown too high but I used it as a good spot to take a breather -- to listen to the falling water and the calls of the birds. To my delight I saw a small bird with a red beak -- a finch which I haven't seen for ages. As usual, too slow with my camera so I took this shot of the fresh new red gum tips instead. Words to walk with: The tree by Anne Finch (1661-1720) "Fair tree! for thy delightful shade 'Tis just that some return be made; Sure some return is due from me To thy cool shadows, and to thee. When thou to birds dost shelter give, Thou music dost from them receive; If travellers beneath thee stay Till storms have worn themselves away, That time in praising thee they spend And thy protecting pow'r commend. The shepherd here, from scorching freed,

Calling softly

Near where I was sitting thinking, there is cliff wall with the soft drip, drip, from the hanging swamp above. If you come to this spot at twilight and wait quietly for the night, the ghostly glow of glow worms will light up the darkness. Words to walk with: From the Little Green Orchard by Walter de La Mare "Yes, when the twilight's falling softly In the little green orchard; When the grey dew distills And every flower-cup fills; When the last blackbird says, 'What - what!' and goes her way - ssh! I have heard voices calling softly In the little green orchard Not that I am afraid of being there, In the little green orchard; Why, when the moon's been bright, Shedding her lonesome light, And moths like ghosties come, And the horned snail leaves home: I've sat there, whispering and listening there, In the little green orchard."


I sat down on rock by the waterfall, thinking. I was thinking about today. I am vacating the city apartment and going back to living full time in the mountains (but commuting to the city each day). I'm looking foward to it! Words to walk with: Thinking by Walter Wintle "If you think you are beaten, you are; If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you’d like to win, but think you can’t, It’s almost a cinch you won’t. If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost, For out in the world we find Success begins with a fellow’s will; It’s all in the state of mind. If you think you’re outclassed, you are; You’ve got to think high to rise. You’ve got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win a prize. Life’s battles don’t always go To the stronger or faster man; But soon or late the man who wins Is the one who thinks he can."

Adelina Falls

Down, down, down the steps to the place where the falling waters can be seen -- Adelina Falls. Words to walk with: The girl's name Adelina \a-deli- na , ad (e)- lina \ is a variant of Adelaide ( Old German ), Adeline ( Old German ) and Alida ( Latin ), and the meaning of Adelina is " noble kind ; small winged one".

Making a good choice

At the top of the cliff, in the dry sandy soil, there was a profusion of yellow pea flowers , rice flowers , smokebush , heath and native iris to name a few. I found pink hakeas as well and since I have not included them before was keen to get a good shot. Unlike yesterday's flower, Hakea not at all easy to capture. The flower grows along the branch where leaves also stick out. I just could not get the right bits focused so in the end made a choice (hopefully a good one) of this more abstract rendition. Words to walk with: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth. Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same. And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had


I was inspired by a recent post by James at Points of Light which showed the same lighthouse photographed at different times in different light conditions. I thought it's time I visited the South Lawson waterfall circuit again to see what might be different this time around. This 2.5 km circuit which takes in five waterfalls starts at the bottom of Honour Avenue. I have walked it quite often but perhaps never at the height of the spring flowering. I was amazed at the profusion of flowers I found, all of them familiar from other walks I did during my year of learning. Today's flower is a Drumstick ( Ipsopogon anemonifolius ) -- wonderfully photographic with it's neat symmetry. Words to walk with: From The Broken Drum by Edgar Guest "There is sorrow in the household; There's a grief too hard to bear; There's a little cheek that's tear-stained There's a sobbing baby there. And try how we will to comfort, Still the tiny teardrops come; For, to solve a vexi

The meditation of my heart

A small moment of contemplation near the little waterfall at the end of the my walk. Something new tomorrow. Words to walk with: Psalm 19:14 the Holy Bible "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."