Category Archives: blogging

Story-telling in words, videos, images and sharing

A Blue-Tongue Lizard and Then…


A Blue-Tongue Lizard and Then…Short Story

(Memoir) J.K.Leahy

It was a very pleasant Thursday, ending with an evening conversation with both my sons who are away. I sent a picture of the blue-tongue lizard to  Nathan and Chris about 8:30pm. The reptile was staring at me this morning about 9am when I went to let the hen out in Bellbowrie, Queensland. Its brown carpet patterned scales and raised head had stopped me in my tracks. I thought it was a carpet snake at first.

I had seen a carpet snake, this size and only a teenager, in November near the hen pen. The lizard’s arms and legs quickly gave it away.

My older son Nathan texted me back to say it was cool to have a blue-tongue lizard in our yard. It was common for the family to share our discoveries of creatures that lived on our property and the local bushland. There are many beautiful small creatures such as this lizard and water dragons, possums, koalas and other animals and birds of many kinds in Queensland.

I didn’t hear back from Chris, (my younger son), about the blue-tongue lizard. I thought maybe he had gone to bed, because he had started work at 5am.

Nathan texted me again to say an owl threw itself into his car as he drove home tonight. I thought it was strange and I gave Nathan my various symbolic meanings of why an owl would cross his path. It was mostly to do with deception and revealing truth, but when I thought about other meanings, death was one of them. I didn’t want to tell my son that. We talked a little more before he stopped texting back.

At that moment when the owl discussion came to an end, I heard cars speeding, tyre squeals and a loud bang! It was coming from the junction, 100 metres from our house. Suddenly it was eerie and the night was very quiet.

Nathan didn’t text again. I checked my phone twice.

“I think there is an accident”, I texted him again probing for a  response.

From the direction of the accident, I could hear a high pitch horn of one car continuing, even after the crash quietened down. I was in our lounge where the sounds coming from the junction were the loudest.  When the crash happened, I had been in my office. I moved here because it made me feel better somehow.

There have been many crashes on this junction – Moggill, Lather and Sugars roads in Bellbowrie. A few years ago a 65-year-old motor-bike rider was crushed by an unknown vehicle. Later, the man died in hospital. It took police a while to find the other driver.

I had this urge tonight to run 100 metres up the road to the crash, but part of me felt weird and uncomfortable. There were sounds outside my house; voices, branches breaking as if someone or people came into the property through the bush, and then more voices came from the roadside. I could hear other cars drive and stop at the scene. Two minutes later, I heard an ambulance. I felt relief. Some of the birds near our house made noises – echoing the high sirens. The accident must have woken the birds.

Then, a police siren started in the distance and then got really loud before it stopped at the junction. There were more voices, but no-one screamed or shouted. I heard louder vehicles come and then whinges, metal on gravel and then car doors shutting. I could not see  the road; the huge gum trees blocked the accident scene. The sounds were very clear.

I kept thinking I should go and see it, but something stopped me. It was a fair walk in pitch black.

I texted my sons again about the accident. My older son did not respond. I thought he went to sleep. I called his brother Chris.

“What do you want me to do?” Chris asked me when I told him about the accident.

“Nothing – I’m just afraid, so I texted you,” I responded.

“I’m going to sleep”, he said. Chris was travelling for work in the Sunshine Coast.

“Goodnight son, I love you,” I said and hung up.

By the sound of the siren, a second ambulance arrived. It could have been the same one leaving. I wasn’t sure.

More voices came through the trees. I WhatsApp my cousin in Papua New Guinea – and he agreed, I should stay home. If help was already there, no need to go and I can find out more tomorrow. He is a cop.

My aunt called on WhatsApp and I told her there was an accident and that I felt scared. Over the phone, she said she was scared too.

“I think someone is hurt, the horn didn’t stop honking for a long time,” I said.

“Don’t go there”, my aunt said.

She diverted the conversation and soon, behind the night bird calls, the normal traffic sound returned. I shut all the doors and windows.

Two hours later, my son Nathan responded: “Oh shit! I hope everyone is okay… can you see any cars? ..if you can, do you recognise them?”

“No Nat. I was scared to go and see. The ambulance and police came straight away which was good – but the accident sounded bad.”

“That’s awful”.

I said goodnight to my son and told him I loved him.

“I love you too mum”.

I hope no-one was badly hurt or killed. I will know soon.

Friday – 19/1/2018 – Update

To those that read this story – as it turned out, a friend drove by the accident last night between two cars. He said no one was seriously hurt, even though there was a lot of damage to the vehicles. I saw the remnants of the accident this morning, but I’m glad to hear that it wasn’t as serious as I thought.

 

Art Experiments: Natural Pigments Plus…


Art experiment in progress. My apologies for ignoring this blog, but I’ve been learning as well as teaching myself new things. I’ve been side-tracked from blog writing. It has been an interesting time of working out and documenting what works with natural pigments and what to avoid when I make art.

This test work of a Trobriand (PNG) grass skirt has been painted and (poured on) with tea, coffee, turmeric, David Smith watercolours, watercolour ground on watercolour canvas. I’ve not used watercolour canvas before; it is quite soft and drinks less water than paper. I hope you like it.

We started our Creative Writing Workshop three weeks ago and this week tutor Isabel D’ Avila Winter gave us a fun exercise. Basically it teaches the technique of how to write a story by making connections. Class members chose and exchanged two words, a noun and an abstract noun and in ten minutes we free wrote whatever story that came into our heads in connection with those two words. Try it with your friends or a pal sometimes. You just don’t know what you can come up with. I had the words “happiness” and “feather” – which has probably led me to painting a grass skirt. For those of you that understand Papua New Guinea culture, you’ll know what I’m talking about – singsing. You can find more on singsing and related subjects in my previous posts and once I clean up the copy from the two-noun exercise, I’ll post it here.

Void – Poem


VOID: JK.Leahy Poetry

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A rippling void is dancing across endless waters,

yet returning in the dark night to stab at the heart

The cold wind sings this blackness like its favourite song,

The waves join the wind to mock, jeer and keep rolling by

Birds call, keep strong! fight!

A yearn deeper than the flows of strong murky rivers pushes forward

Thoughts tug at the heartstrings, jarring it with questions and rationales

A child could only wait; for a father could speak at any time

Small Celebrations In November – Family


November is a very busy month for our family and usually it is full of celebrations.

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My niece Joycelin Kauc, (picture with my mother) celebrates her 17th today (Nov 10th) in Lae, Papua New Guinea. Happy Birthday!

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Photo by Leela Rashid. Chris Harris, JK. Leahy and Nathan Harris

We celebrated Chris’s 17th birthday last Thursday, 6th of November.  We will celebrate Nathan’s 20th birthday on November 16. People ask me how I have managed to have my sons in the same month and on the 6th and 16th. I used to joke that it made it easier for their father to remember their birthdays. I also had many other answers of course, but my favourite response is, they were both Valentine’s Day babies. Let’s leave it at that.

In this picture from last Friday, we did not plan to, but we all wore grey the morning of Chris’s birthday. Families do, do strange things sometimes. I enjoy most things in life and am very grateful for them, but I must say, being  a mother is my ultimate achievement – especially when I see my sons grow into good people.

Chris’s girlfriend Leela Rashid (below right) joined us in a breakfast celebration before school. At birthday mornings, I rise early to cook a pancake tower and dress it with as many sweets as I can. This time, two of us were on diet so we had to settle for strawberries, blueberries and light cream.

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Chris will graduate from high school next week and I have a few small projects to finish up, so I will take a short break (a week) from this blog and respond to any comments when I return next week. Thank you very much for reading Tribalmysticstories.

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The only breakfast to celebrate a birthday. Rich, creamy and sweet.

Garden Finds – What Is This Object’s Story?


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I have been slowly putting a collection of things I find in our garden together. These garden finds are only objects of my curiosity more than anything else. There are quite a few regular objects like an axe in the above picture and the knife below.  Every object has a story, just like people and places. We have lived in Bellbowrie house for over four years and the collection is slowly building up.

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Some of you may know I am a museum curator, so I tend to collect things and then I attempt to tell their story. However, even without my museum work, I am always curious to know the story about each of the things my sons and I find on the property. I have some stories to tell.

Recently however, I have been thinking that since I cannot research and find all the stories about each of my garden findings, I may write some short fiction instead. It sounds strange, but I have thought up some fiction you may want to read.

This month, I am busy writing for the NaNoWriMo, so hopefully, in December I will be freer to write some stories about my garden finds.

Let’s see what you make of these objects I have posted.  Please feel free to tell your story about these objects or make suggestions – unless of course, you know what the real story. If you do recognise of know some of the objects, such as the gun, then, you have to tell us.

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An old pistol, or is it real? It is quite heavy. Picture JK. Leahy©
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A newspaper from November 25, 1987. Picture JK. Leahy©

 

A short break for Tribalmystic Stories


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Picture by JK.Leahy©

Dear friends, thank you for your continued support of this blog. I will be taking leave from Tribalmystic Stories for one week to pay my respects to my late cousin George Leahy who passed away last night. George was an important person in my life. He has his own story, which I will tell one day.

I will respond to your comments when I return. Thank you.

 

 

Photographer captures frozen soapy water bubbles


COOL STUFF – ICED SOAP BUBBLES

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Copyright: Angela Kelly

A mother takes her son outside to blow bubbles in the snow and gets inspired to produce one of the most amazing photographic series of frozen bubbles. Found on DNA Art is our cool stuff – a collection of bubble photographs by Washington-based photographer Angela Kelly. The bubbles were created using a simple solution of dish soap, karo syrup, and water blown into a minus 9 degree temperature.

“We blew the bubbles across the top of our frozen patio table and also upon the hood of my car and then we watched in awe as each individual bubble froze with their own unique patterns”. Kelly said.

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Copyright: Angela Kelly

DNA Art

The art and life of the leaves


Let’s explore the anatomy of the slow, steady growing and long-lasting tortoise-like leaves. I just happened to photograph one of my favourite subjects, the Philodendron which has tortoise-like leaves.

A study by Dr. Peter Reich is looking at the different responses of tortoise-like leaves versus hare-like leaves to changing environments, such as higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air caused by climate change. As each generation of leaves reproduces, new genetic combinations are created.

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Dr Reich studies leaves.  Basically a study of leaf takes into account the longevity, productivity and nitrogen content. The University of Minnesota Professor compares the life-patterns of leaves to the fable of the Hare and the Turtle. In the race, the hare is winning the race, but he gets too confident and takes a nap. The turtle passes the hare while the hare is asleep and wins the race. In the case of the leaves, Dr Reich compares the tortoise-like leaves to be slow and steady growers that live longer. The leaves that are hare-like are speedy growers and do not last long.

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According to this study tortoise leaves such the Philodendron’s leaves will grow slowly and steadily.  But sciences also prove that the leaves in the tropics live fewer years than leaves on trees in cold climates such as the spruce in Canada.

Below is the trunk of the Philodendron.

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Even a Philodendron’s trunk has tortoise-like patterns. This part of the plant is where my art inspiration comes from.

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3D Printer Can Create and Personalise Medication


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Spritam, approved by the FDA for people who suffer from certain types of seizures caused by epilepsy, is manufactured in a layered process via 3-D printing. Source: AP

I was catching-up on my Twitter account and I found this article in The Australian about a 3D printer that can ‘print’ pills or tablets. It is quite extraordinary that a 3D machine can make medicine, however, this is the latest medical technology.

Medical technologists believe that doctors will ultimately be able to print any tablet they want while their patient waits and be able to personalise the dose, shape, colour and other features of the pill. Now, does that not sound weird to you? I guess it may not be so for some of you, but for a Papua New Guinean, we make traditional medicine by hand and using various plants from nature, so it does sound weird to me. I guess you could just about programme any machine to do anything these days.

The US medicines watchdog has for the first time approved a pill that is created using a 3D printer called Spritam.

Spritam has been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration to be used to control seizures in epilepsy sufferers. The tablets are printed with air gaps to create a porous structure that helps them to dissolve faster than traditional pills.

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Spritam, said that the drug would be the first in a series of 3D-printed tablets to treat diseases of the central nervous system.

The printing of tablets will also be useful in the developing world, where distribution by health agencies is often difficult. Researchers at the University of Glasgow are developing a 3D printer that can synthesise any molecule.