Tag Archives: art

When Wrens Grieve…

artwork by Wendy Slee

A little blue bird

Opens his heart and sings

Until the sky shatters

And pieces of blue fall to the earth.



He sings right up to the last moment.   Because for him, the moment is all there is.   It is immediate, it is present, it is now.  It is the breath upon your lips, the very life blood in your veins and the beat of your heart.

He opens his heart and channels his very soul out into the world.

That’s what blue birds do.   They give of their joy, without limitation, without fear, without expectation.   They just open up their hearts and immerse everything around them in pure celebration of the moment.

A little bird sings

A song that pierces my heart

And lets the blue within me fly free.

photo by wendy slee

When you stand close to a blue bird who is performing such a ritual, you can feel it – the vibrations of the song, and the energy that gives it such power, reverberates through you, and you cannot fail to be moved in some way, great or small.  You feel that song, that melody, that joy, push through you and light up your cells.   It is a celebration.  You resonate! That is the magic of the blue birds.   They lift vibrations, they sing frequencies that touch and heal and weave magic.

photo by Wendy Slee

It is a public display of life, of the pure, sweet being in the moment.

It is a reminder to each of us.

It is sweet, and sacred, and loud and undeniable.   Listen!   Feel!  Be!

A little blue bird

Gives my creativity wings

And my imagination explodes

With new colours to paint the world.

Yet there is more, so much more.   There is the moment tiny claws connect and wrap around your fingers, and something passes between you, something deeper than trust, something that you share with all life, but have long since forgotten.

So you awaken just a little more.

photo by Wendy Slee

Then you have the moment when across and open field a wild bird flies straight at you, with the sole intent of connecting, and landing on or near your person, then hops merrily up your arm to your shoulder, just to get a little closer.   There is humour, there is mischief, there is life.   You look in that bright eye, that misses nothing, the head cocked first one way, then another, and even more passes between you – a connection as ancient as life itself…. A recognition of shared existence and mutual honour for the Earth Mother who gave birth to us all.

Photo by Wendy slee

I always believed the winged ones were messengers, and this little blue bird, he came looking for me.  He had a message for me, a message he asked me to share with the world.  It just took me a while to “get it”.   I thought he was a gift, too amazing to be real, and at times, my fear of loss kept me stumbling around, even as I learned the only way to receive the gifts of the universe, is with an open hand, so they can fly freely.   And when I let go of any need to own or hold onto, he truly blessed me with wings of my own, so I could share the flight.  He showed me how to deal with loss a few weeks ago, and to let go of my fear.   In  bundle of little blue feathers, that had my heart scrabbling with pain, at first for him, and then, when he flew up to show me he was still there, for sadness at the anonymous little blue person who had died, he taught me that endings were always a part of the song, but only so a new melody could begin.  He delivered to me the lesson of cycles, of beginnings and endings, and the pure free flight between.   He gifted me an ongoing joy into my garden, both the literal one, and the true one within my soul.

He also came to say goodbye.

At first I laughed at my strange dream on Tuesday morning.   And wanted to forget and not share it.   But it was one of the prophetic dreams I have and recognize from time to time.  It unsettled me, and it’s message stayed, gaining depth and power instead of ebbing away.   It was a message of love.  This little blue bird, he sat with me and the message passed between us.   “I see you” he said wordlessly.   “I see you” my heart shared back to him.   Then he rubbed the top of his head back and forth on my lips, like a beloved pet would rub your hand or leg,  the most unusual kiss of a soulmate.

And was gone.

Artwork by Wendy Slee

I awoke thinking “how bizarre”.  But could not escape the surge of unconditional love that was all around me from that moment, and the awareness of which has remained firmly with me every since.
And I went out to face the day – a day where he was absent.
And then the next day – he was still missing.

And then the profound realization, that the dream had been a goodbye from my little friend, because this little blue bird has disappeared and now exists only in my heart, my dreams and my images.

Photo by Wendy Slee

Today they go on as if nothing has changed.  The landscape is full of life, and yet it has a hole in it.  My heart feels heavy because I know that something is missing.  There are other wrens alive and well singing in the trees around my home.   There is a family still there and a little blue son to keep the songline unbroken.

photo by Wendy Slee

How do blue wrens grieve?   No matter what happens, what loss they suffer, they just pick up the pieces of their life and rebuild their broken nest, go on with their day to day duties, and all the while, they sing.   Most of all – they SING!   They sing like there is no tomorrow and this very moment is the most joyful gift to be shared with the world.  They do not weep but declare their joy at being alive.    They pick up the pieces of a melody and stitch them together in a new way…. And … They sing.  If we could only sing like that when our hearts were broken!

photo by Wendy Slee

AS the days pass, I watch little Henny frantically rebuild her nest and her life, while nurturing her juvenile son on her own.   I wished there was more I could do to protect and assist her, but alas, within days, she too, tragically disappeared, with only a few feathers and a small broken blue egg left on the ground.   My heart was filled with sadness for the little bluey left behind, hiding in the branches, afraid, his life totally torn apart.   Yet even though he was very nervous and afraid, he would still hold onto the one constant thing he knew, and that was to fly to my hand and sit for a moment.  Perhaps he was oblivious, but I felt he sensed my grief and it matched his own bewilderment and uncertainty.

But within a day, I awoke to hear him singing his heart out as the sun arose.   When I went outside he was merrily dancing in the trees, entertaining a new girlfriend, both of them singing their song of life unfolding, of the mystery of goodbyes spelling new beginnings….
Life goes on….. and all that matters is the moment and how much love and song you can fill it with.

I can cry because it’s over, or I can laugh because it happened, or, I could do both.   Because you can’t have one without the other, you cannot know such joy unless sorrow carves a cavern in the darkness that will be backdrop to enhance the light, an amphitheatre to contain and measure the exquisite wonder of life’s grandest performances.

How can I truly appreciate and honour the presence and awareness of one’s gift to me, unless I experience the absence and subsequent emptiness without it also.

artwork by wendy slee

So I give thanks in these words, for the gift brought to me by a little blue bird.

A little blue bird

Cracks open a sad day

With a song that weaves

It back together anew.


For those who are interested….Blue Boy has his own facebook fan page at

(my apologies for and please disregard any tacky advertising which appears on my blog pages)


Revealing Artists and Storytellers…

29th June 2011

White Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake

I had a discussion with friends recently about what is art and who is an artist.    It amazes me when some people say “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body” and yet they are so skilled at creating landscaped gardens full of visual delights or productive patches of vegetables, fruit and herbs.   Or, they produce mouthwatering meals and exquisite culinary delights for their family and friends because they enjoy doing so  …  or decorate a house in the most eye catching manner,  turning it into the most inviting “home”.   These people are indeed artists though they might not realize it.  They are expressing themselves in creative form, letting their soul colour their lives in a visual, tangible way that is uniquely their own. 

All humans have a creative side….we just express it in different ways…. some people are creative in less obvious ways, they use creativity to solve problems, or to fix or build things.   Some are creative in the manner they conduct their relationships……. or deal with life……or care for their loved ones…..I genuinely believe that living is in itself, an artform!   To deny that part of self that is an artist, is to deny our human-ness  AND our spirit.  Creativity goes hand in hand with soul.  

A person’s “art” is as multi dimensional as their soul….. and like an extension of self, should be ever changing, growing, evolving, transcending… so next time you think you don’t have a creative bone in your body, think again.   Every cell of your being is a creative student, every strand of your DNA is a creative master… and its up to you to let them explore and connect your inner and outer worlds.

The café is small and quirky, but also very warm, personal and inviting.   It is an extension of the woman who created it.    Brenda tells me she loves being here and it shows!   She is an artist in every sense of the word –  in her love and care for her staff, for those she welcomes into her “artspace”, and in what she offers the world.    I always feel so deeply appreciative of the energy and humanity that touches me when I am sitting in the café.

Art for Sale in the Tearooms

The stories come and go, along with their people.    It seems that so many countless stories unfurl into view at these café tables.    Small glimpses of ongoing journeys too grand to describe here, but enough to inspire are left behind like crumbs, on the tables.  Sometimes these exist in memory only; a few words overheard, or energy drifting in the air, and sometimes in written words in the little notepads on the tables.    These precious fragments hide greater stories, which are largely hidden, denied, or on the way to being lost forever.  

On the sunny verandah, an older woman shares her family history with a friend.    She has traced her ancestors back to the first settlers on board the ship with Governor Stirling, landing at Rockingham, Western Australia.   The stories she tells are stitched with hardship and yet rich with fascination for lives in a whole different world.   The same woman has been an integral part of the local repertory club since it’s very early years, and quietly admits to being the costume designer and creator for all of those early productions.   She speaks of all the outfits she has made and kept, now stored (hopefully) for others to appreciate and use.   A vision of rows of hats, and shirts, and dresses, a parade of colour and style and texture, springs to mind with a hint of the scent of naphthalene and dust.  In her collection of memories is a set of all the programs from every repertory production or play that has been staged since the theatre’s foundation.   Except one.   She admits that there is one from those early years, that eludes her.    But what an amazing set of memorabilia that must be.   Even I feel a desire to interrupt and ask “please may I see them?”   Perhaps the one that is missing is yet a story in itself, and deserves a blank page in it’s honour?    At one point this woman wonders if her children or grandchildren will be interested in the stories she has gathered from the past, but feels perhaps they will not.   A look of resigned sadness seems to pass over her face.   But I know that even if one generation might overlook the importance of her memories, there will always, always, be another who will be deeply grateful and excited to discover and relive them. 

The stories of the now might seem insignificant and hardly worth preserving, but to future generations, they will be sources of not only fascination and intrigue, but reminders, lessons and images that portray the reality of these times.

At a table in the corner sit a man and woman, chatting animatedly at times over their cups of tea, at other times lapsing into awkward silence.   What is their story?   Could it be, that this is a first meeting, dare I say it, a “blind date”?    That someone has initiated the exchange of phone numbers, and these two are now meeting for the first time in a comfortable environment such as the café, to get to know each other better?   They spend hours, and numerous cups, and eventually stand, shake hands in an amiable way, and walk away.   I wonder what stories and thoughts will unfold as they leave the café and go back to their own respective worlds.

On the green couch, and surrounds, there is much activity –  a gathering of customers who at first look like business people, holding a meeting over coffee, with laptops and folders open before them, but a closer inspection shows an aura of creativity and flair that indicates these people are in the art or entertainment industry, perhaps discussing an upcoming film festival or event.  Something very exciting maybe arising from this gathering at the café! 

Brenda, Caitlin and Rhys, are rushing back and forth with cups of tea and coffee, and trays of freshly prepared food.    They have a café full of customers, but also a volunteer in the courtroom gallery requiring a meal, the managers of the gallery across the road have ordered lunch, and there’s a regular group meeting in the adjoining artrooms that has to be catered for.   There is a flurry of activity, but the smiles never wane, and are as always genuine.

On the table tops, a pile of note pages flutter.   Here are the little treasures from the café visitors for this week and I eagerly read them to grasp the little stories scribed therein.


One cannot find happiness – it is not lost.

It is within all of us waiting to be let loose.

(Catherine F)



Delighted to see the tearooms up and running again –

we missed visiting.

Part of the country experience

(“The Perth Trio”)




Once I heard an angel

Talking just for me.

Telling me how happy

My life can really be.

If I let the past fade away

And live each day anew,

Focus on the pleasant things,

That is what to do.

When you wake up every morning

Be thankful for that day,

And let a smile, a look, a kiss,

Chase your tears away.





Cup cakes and roses

Are my memories of

Coffee in the

Old post office tea rooms.

(Molly and Brian)



Somewhere along life’s journey,

You may be lucky to find,

Someone who is just for you,

A soulmate, warm and kind.


When you least expect it,

He may suddenly be there,

A friendly smile, a certain look,

He will really care.


At first it might be friendship,

But then out of the blue,

You will realize

That love is there for you.


Artworks For Sale at Cafe



I think it is evident that love and friendly smiles are just some of the gifts on offer at the tearooms this week…. It seems there is always something for everyone, most of all the incentive to reveal the inner artist or storyteller ….. and where others are acknowledging their creativity, there is always constant inspiration for those around them……

Where’s Winter and a Whisper or Two…

Wednesday 1st June 2011

How Can This Be Winter!

 Well a pinch and a punch – first day of Winter is upon us, and in our part of the state, it appeared as if we would get a winter’s day, but no, it was still quite sunny, warm and lovely.   Can’t complain, but it is quite unseasonal!   So I will leave thoughts of open fires and hot soup for another day.

Last week, while taking photos of the delicious food created by Brenda and her lovely crew here, I thought that sharing images of mouthwatering dishes on the table before me each Wednesday, might give you the wrong impression ….. why, you might be lead to believe that my day revolved around what I was eating or drinking rather than anything I might write or share!    (Having said that, if you have ever visited the Tearooms, you would understand anyone’s delight and obsession with the food served there – it truly is all made with love)   So I thought a few white lies might be in order (ahem) and that I would share images of dishes that were ordered for a “friend”.

So I sat there pondering the person on the other side of the table to me…. whoever they might be.   And in that space I realized there was potential for the presence of someone quite special, someone who had been in the Café and gallery all along.  This someone had made their presence felt in the past in no uncertain terms, and was most likely sitting there quietly watching me hog the favoured spot on the green couch while consuming cake and coffee and pretending to be writing poetry.

Passageway Past the Cells

If you have not guessed where this is leading, the old historic courthouse and gaol cells have a lingering energy, like most old places from the past, steeped in conflict, unwritten stories and untold secrets.  When alone in the main gallery, you get a sense of hierarchies of humanity, of lives in the balance of the judicial system through time, of self righteousness, and men wielding the law and their own judgments over others.  When you stand in the gaol cells and let the silence bear down on you, there is strong feeling of despair at a loss of power and freedom denied,  a cry at the unfairness of life; you sense if anything that there was also a great deal of injustice felt in this part of the building, with many layers of anger, outrage and rebellion etched into these walls along with that sadness and hopelessness. reflections

 There are echoes.  There are whispers, if you allow yourself to listen.   Is it your imagination?  Or just the leaves dancing on the roof?  

If you walk alone through the old rooms, and down the narrow passageway to the gaol cells, you will feel a chill, quite possibly even get goosebumps – a sure sign that you may not be alone at all.  

Cell Number 4

What is it about cell number four?  

 Who knocked the teapot off the Café shelf in broad daylight when nobody was anywhere near?  

 Or hurled a small item across the room with no reasonable explanation?  

Staff at the complex call her “Mary” for want of a better name, and so I will refer to this special guest as Mary unless told otherwise.  

So this morning before leaving home, I spoke with a friend about my intention of having morning tea with an invisible friend and perhaps trying to involve this unseen person in my weekly written musings.    I had a chuckle at how such an “out there” idea would be received, and said something like “I am sure Mary will show her presence to me at some point – there may even be a bit of a crash or bang in the building today, just so I know.”    Then I rushed to get ready and head to town, and caught up in more tangible matters, forgot that conversation.  

Until….. I got to ArtGeo,  walked in the door, and spied Heidi, one of the lovely volunteers at the Courthouse Gallery.    As I said “good morning” to her, there was a crash from across the room and several pieces of the jewellery in a glass display case fell down.   Earrings and necklaces came crashing off their holders and display stands.  

For.    No.    Apparent.    Reason. 

…Nobody there that we could see. … 

 Or No Body…

“That has never happened before” said Heidi as we got over the shock and walked over to see.    Several necklaces and earrings were laying on the shelf as if suddenly dropped there.  I realized then, that “someone” was simply letting me know that my arrival and greeting had been noted.  Maybe she was looking for something nice to wear for her morning tea with me!  And so it was, that I smiled and looked forward to what the day would hold.

The Main Courtroom Gallery

There were a bundle of little pages from the table notepads….displaying nothing short of an amusing array of thoughts from the characters who have passed through the Tearooms this week!

Some comments read like fragments of a Visitor’s Book….

“Very nice”   (Kath and Hazel)

“Service also lovely”



“Lovely end to our Busselton holiday.

Love it here!”

(Cec and Sheila)


And from some who savoured the Ploughman’s lunch, the scrumptious passionfruit sponge and Brenda’s delightful stories….


“How refreshing and delightful this is!

Love to all…”

(Heather and George, Melbourne)


Some gems were inspired by what lay on the table before them….

“Chocolate cake,

Chocolate cake,

Smooth and round and luscious,

Sitting gleaming,

Waiting for the boys

To come home.

Boys are home!

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake,

Crumbs all forlorn,

Scattered on the table.

Boys gone out to play!”

(Anne Thomas, May 2011)

(Hah!  I bet most parents can relate to that one!   *smiles*)

While some were inspired by the history beneath their feet …

“In 1892 my ancestor walked these boards as the local Police Sergeant”
Val McDonald  97522552


But what captured my attention was that there were some real funloving visitors in the Tearooms at some point, as they left behind quite a bit of mischievous evidence in the notepads…. 

Here are a few corkers….

“We are a couple of Brits

Who’ve got big tits,

Who’s having fun

In the sun…

Having a cup of tea

So we can have a wee….” (tee hee?)

“Lots of love”

Di from Windsor, England


“There once was a group of friends

Who came to Busselton for the weekend.

They had a lot to drink

And then kicked up quite a stink”


See?  Everyone’s a poet! 

And though I can’t help but wonder “What would Mary think of that!” –   I’ll have what they’re having!




Silence speaks, in volumes that ripple their thick base notes across the surface of my heart.

In silence swims the essence of memory, a slippery persistent fish, nibbling nerve endings of raw, familiar sorrows.

Silence rains with the gentle patter of teardrops against the windows of my dreams.

Oh, silence, too heavy to bear, so cruel a curse, the weapon of choice for a fearful soul. Silence, the sound of fear and woundedness, it cringes in the shadows, and torments itself.

Silence trembles waiting in the doorway, afraid to take that next small step, a limbic dance between then and now.

Silence, the humbling voice of truth, echoes across self deception, and is heard in the cold glassy voice of mirrors past and present, mirrors I have known and loved. self consciously reflecting what it hurts too much to hear.

Silence is the vacuum, a pulsing void of the unknown waiting to become known. Listen… as silence speaks, It is the language of the dead whispering secrets across the veil, icy words to remind and haunt, elusive answers dangling between unspoken lines.

Silence speaks in sameness, in difference,

Silence stands alone without keys to break its own code, an insurmountable wall, a deafening presence. Yet Silence at its worst cannot survive without the spirit of another to shine light into its darkness and kiss meaning onto its cold lips.

But silence has its sunset and sunrise.
It is the falling sun, and the awakening moon.
Silence holds a music of its own,
It dances in the light
And rings with hope,
Like birdsong in the dark hours
Before dawn.

Silence is a gift,
A healing touch…
A solace to the mind;
The herald of the now.

An affirmation of distance,
Invisible hands that push away,
Yet in a change of heart
A beckoning of souls,
The drawing near
Of intimacy,
A holy communion.

Silence bristles with passion,
The connecting force
That vibrates the chords
Between two hearts,
A living entity,
Rich with meaning.

Silence with soul, breathes
The song of the living,
The turn of the seasons,
The waiting breath for a baby’s cry,
The resting place for a body
Whose being walks another plane.

Silence holds power.
The Master musician knows.
In that instant between two notes
The silence dwells,
Defines their diversity and
Enhances the beauty of their union.

Silence is the tide
Between all islands,
A portent of emotion,
The song of the heavens,
And the swell of the heart,
Silence, whose connecting force
Tunes the keys of all instruments,
Lives, and its unsung harmony endures
Beyond life’s symphony, through the final curtain fall.

 (wendy slee)