Outdoor gallery swells minds and hearts

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 He held her like a seashell, and listened to her heart.
And kissed her for eternity–nevermore apart.
Author unknown

Exposure to the elements, works of art, water and sand aren’t a typical combination. Except at Currumbin Beach. Each September the Swell Festival brings these elements together.  Lovers of  sculpture, the curious and the unsuspecting descend on the beach as the cold grip of winter gives way to the effervescence of spring. 

Many make the trip because of the sheer delight it brings to squelch through the sand from exhibit to exhibit, some come to the beach and are treated to a marvellous surprise and some, unfazed, go about the business of surfing, building sand castles or jogging along the shore, seemingly heedless of the display.  It all makes for a fascinating spectacle.  The human factor enhances the quirkiness of the art itself and the location.

This is a must see festival with works by both local and international artists. I have made the short drive the last two years to revel and delight in the extravaganza.  There is something very Daliesque about the beach being transformed by an  array of sculptures all  individually unique and interesting and collectively satisfying. The varied works appeal to my sense of play and fun.  What do you think?

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Winter Dreaming

The dreaming or the dreamtime indicates a psychic state in which or during which contact is made with ancestral spirits or the Law, or that special period of the beginning.
Mudrooroo

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While on a short break at the beach this week a friend commented that I seemed to be in my element. She was right. I was. There are two places in Australia I feel most at home; the beach and the bush. I feel a strong connection to spirit, to nature and to my own inner being when in these places.

While it’s winter here in Australia it is my favourite time to be at the beach. Okay, it’s not so great for swimming but it is a joy to walk the stretch of sandy shore without the crowds that summer brings. There is a calmness associated with watching the few keen surfers, zipped into their wetsuits, paddle out into the vast blue depths to catch frothy white waves into the shallows. I enjoy peering into the buckets of wadder-clad fisherfolk who line the shore morning and evening, lines held aloft, in eager anticipation of the catch of the day.  I love seeing families, rugged up against the cold, come down to play a ball game or to build sand castles as reminders of their time in the warm winter sun.

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Images of bronzed bodies on gorgeous Australian beaches abound in summertime though Winter, for me, is the best time to visit.  I love the way the sun warms and thaws my cold core. I love the sound of the squeaky white sand beneath my feet.  The cacophony of crashing waves and the daring and courage it takes to wade into their icy maws are all part of the winter beach experience. What really makes my heart sing is the seasonal beauty and atmosphere of the seaside. The light is different, it’s gentler, milder somehow. It’s hard to explain, it’s just different in so many ways.

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There is magic and healing energy in this landscape. The boundless sea takes my breath away yet also brings balance and renewal while the wildlife are messengers of great wisdom.

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Relaxing on the deck of our beach shack I was visited by a plethora of birds, among which was a gorgeous, curious Willie Wagtail that lifted my spirits and reminded me to seek things that brighten my mood and bring cheer into my life. Twice, a flock of Black Cockatoos screeched overhead heralding a time of liberation and freedom to come. Black Cockatoo is also, for me, a strong symbol of inner strength and spirit.

Image by Alfred Schultie

Image by Alfred Schultie

An Osprey, circling overhead, was a powerful reminder of trusting my own wisdom and freeing my spirit to enjoy life more.

Of course the boundless ocean brought gifts as well. Of not only gorgeous tokens to treasure and patterns in the sand but also whale and dolphin.

imageimage Every day I was witness to the majesty of dolphins at play and whales migrating for the winter. At times the whales were breaching, at others simply rolling around or squirting water through their blowholes. One windy afternoon I watched in awe as a whale made a great show of slapping its flukes. These encounters were at times at a distance and at others, quite close to shore. It is a great honour and privilege to witness whales and for me there is great emotional healing involved. Whales encourage me to seek a deeper awareness and consciousness, they remind me to keep evolving and not to stagnate.

Source if image unknown

Source of  image unknown

Our dolphin friends with their playful ways always lead me to focus on my breath and remind me that, while introspection and self development are good, bonding with others is also a meaningful part of life.

I don’t know about you but the beach is my place to recharge and to get back into balance by listening to the whispers of nature. It’s my dreaming.

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