a change in time

musings on behavioural change – the small stuff and the big stuff.


Finding my way back

This blog originated as a response to having completed a Grad Cert in Sustainability at Swinburne in 2014. Rather than expect you to go back through the archives, I’ll give you the brief summary of the history of this site. I chose the title, ‘a change in time’ as a homage to ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. It occurred to me that a change in time, as in us changing our behaviors, would add up to something of value. I still believe this.

A book I borrowed from the library. I didn’t end up reading it but I couldn’t resist the title.

Originally, my dear husband Peter, did not feature in my posts, however as our lives became so closely linked to hospitals and the need and desire to survive them, my posts became inextricably linked to those times and those changes, many of which were to do with our ability to change our attitude, as we weren’t able to change our circumstances.

Peter, weathering the storm of hospital life with his trusty Ovation guitar

When Peter died, I didn’t think I would ever be able to continue to write about such seemingly ‘minor things’ as zero waste and climate change, however over the last few days, some little miracles occurred that have lead me back on the path, both literally and metaphorically. Let me start at the beginning.

Last Tuesday, my girlfriend, Susanne, flew over from Adelaide to spend a few days in Melbourne with me. It is the forty year anniversary of our friendship, so a catch up was compulsory.

Susanne seems to pick the perfect time to visit – last time she came to Melbourne she cheered my mother up immensely.

Our first stopover was a visit to my dermatologist in Moonee Ponds to check on a couple of spots that were a bit suss. We were early so we went for a walk in Queens Park, one of those gardens I have driven past many times and never stopped to visit. We were impressed immediately by the range of trees and shrubs and the iconic water fountain in the middle of the lake.

The fountain often appears as a background image for one of the major news networks.

We noticed a worker raking out mulch around one of the trees. Susanne, in her usual friendly way, greeted him and before long we were chatting like old friends. We soon found out his name is Russell and that he has worked for Moonee Valley City Council for forty years, with most of his time dedicated to this park. I could write an entire blog just about Russell however, for now I will just let you know that, after asking if he knew of any magnificent trees we could visit, he recommended the Ada Tree near Warburton. Based on this advice, we decided to travel there on Thursday.

The following day was my first day back at work after a three year break. Susanne went exploring around the local area, ending up at the vegan bakery in High Street Preston, where a fellow customer sat down and, before long, recommended that we visit the Redwood Forest, also near Warburton. Once again, there is much more to this story but I will cut out entire scenes and let you know that we ended up choosing to visit the Redwood Forest .

Spectacular! OMG! Add your favorite superlative!

I bet you’re now wondering, ‘What the hell is a redwood forest doing on the outskirts of Warburton?’. My first thought. Once I entered the forest – officially a plantation – I no longer cared how it got there. It’s not often that I feel that sense of awe one felt as a child, but here, in the midst of these 1400 or so trees, one feels both small and infinite. It’s not something that I can easily capture in words.

With my ‘red’ hair and brown outfit, I blended in perfectly.

As we were leaving the forest, a few seconds after we walked out, a branch fell from a tree just a couple of metres from where we were standing. Woah! That was close! There were some other folk nearby so they came over and we marveled at the branch falling and us narrowly escaping being clobbered by it.

I chatted with Michael, a Christian monk, who has a strong association with the trees; he actually takes groups there to meditate. He also organised a group of locals that managed to get National Trust status for the trees so that they can never be cut down. Bless! He was both pleased and saddened about the recent interest in the trees. As more people visit, the roads and tracks are being damaged, and rubbish is being left behind in this once pristine area.

It is a sacred place, without a doubt. I felt a similar feeling to the one expressed by Michael. I wanted to tell everyone I know that they need to experience the strength and silence of these trees, and yet, if too many people visit, the peaceful world of the Sequoia sempervirens will be compromised.

That night, Susanne, my brother Rod, and I attended an event at Preston Town Hall – the council had organised an evening to acknowledge World Environment Day, screening two films on the damage plastic is doing to the oceans and waterways. The film that stood out to me is called Baykeepers, in which we meet the local community who remove rubbish from the beaches so it doesn’t enter Port Phillip Bay.

Neil Blake, one of the team, and founder of the Port Phillip Eco Centre, came along to answer questions after the film. Neil is a great example of how one person can make a huge difference, just in following his own beliefs and acting on them.

That’s Neil in the middle, listening to Paul extol the benefits of joining Darebin Creek Sweepers.

After our day amongst the redwood forest, and an evening watching and listening to inspiring people, I could feel a shift in my being. I was back on the horse, and back on the path. And most importantly, back in touch with my desire to do what I can to continue to change my own behavior and maybe even to inspire change in others.

All of the serendipitous encounters that occurred on this day – and there were many – pointed me in the direction of ‘the way back’. I will carry all of those who contributed with me in spirit, including Peter, whom I know would love this story, and would love that I am back on track. Although he may have a go at me for overusing a metaphor!