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!

Author: rhinophile

I’m interested in how we live and how we die. I like to try things on and see if they work for me. I find the human experience a fascinating one. No matter how much we hear about there being evil in the world, I also know there is goodness, and many people who are dedicated to caring for everyone and everything.

19 thoughts on “Finding my way back

  1. You know how I love serendipity! Especially when such events occur so close to each other. And even more so when they lead to an outcome such as yours. Wonderful! I am often struck by the power of individuals and the amazing difference that the actions of one person can make. This can be in one’s own home, engaging strangers like Susanne does, or on a broader canvas again such as Neil has painted. Or it can be writing blogs like you do Ruth. I am sure their reach and impact are/will be wide and deep. 🙂

  2. I love this comment, in fact I’m awarding you the ‘best comment for 2018’ award! Sisters who love serendipity! 😄

  3. You still need to visit the Ada Tree at some stage Rhinophile….it’s just as amazing in its own way as the Redwood Forest. Luckily I’ve seen both but long ago (hope they’re holding in there well) – and both inspired me. As you do! And as Peter did…bless you both.

    • We were disappointed not to visit both sites however time was not on our side so we chose the closer option and were no longer disappointed! It’s great that you have been with both Ada and the Redwoods – lucky gal!

  4. Yep!! I’m going to be with the Ada Tree one day, too. Love the blog. Big hugs Dear Friend

  5. Hi Ruth! Great to read about what you have been up to lately. It sounds like you had a fantastic time during Susanne’s visit! It must be a great feeling to be back on track with your passion for sustainability. I found your story on the Redwood Forest very interesting, and I’ve noticed that same paradox you describe in operation at various places I’ve visited. The increased interest bolsters conservation efforts but at the same time works against those very efforts by increased damage to the land, pollution, litter and sometimes even urban sprawl.

    • Thank you for your comment, Lisa. I heard about Lord Howe Island the other day and how they limit the number of people who can live there and the amount of people that can visit. It would be great to see more places take this on.

  6. I found your blog via Rachael. Thank you for reminding how precious life really is, a cliche, though one that popped into my head as I was reading your post.

    • Hi Suzanne, I’m pleased that this post resonated with you. I love the way that posts create themselves. I never really know what I’m going to write about next and then a ‘topic’ pops into my head. Life is definitely precious! I have traveled across to have a look at your blog, such a great idea! I’ve signed up and look forward to following your escapades!

      • Thanks and I love it when thoughts flow freely into written form. Hopefully that continues for us all!

  7. The plantation has a will of its own, and is both grand and gracious. How wonderful to know that something has shifted within you. I am so glad for you.

  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and letting us see a part of your world through your eyes and thoughts… like you I had unexpected changes in life also but the heart does go on filled with memories… 🙂

    “There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, people we can’t live without but have to let go. “ ― Nancy Stephan

    • Sharing our life experience through our blogs is such a lovely way of getting to know each other, from right around the world. And now I have a new blog friend in you! I really like the quote you included from Nancy Stephan. There are many folk out there whose thoughtful perspectives contribute to our lives in such meaningful ways!

  9. I found your blog through comments on Rachel’s Blog. Serendipity is a magic aspect of life. However it is the comment under “Author” which has really resonated with me.

    • Thank you for your comment! I’m glad you like that little ‘musing on life’, it’s the kind of thing one can write on a blog, not the kind of thing you would necessarily say at a dinner party, but maybe I should start saying such things! And I have had a peak at your blog as well! I can see why you like my author’s comment. ☺️

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