Home office beauty

Like the rest of the world, I’ve been working at home for months. I often debate, however, whether I’m working at home or actually sleeping at work. Sixteen hours of every day are spent sitting or lying in the same 3 metre by 6 metre space; my home office and bedroom are one and the same. (For Zoom calls, I angle the camera to capture the book case but not the bed.)

I can’t complain. I have somewhere to live. I have a job. And I don’t have to commute to work. Truthfully, I love working alone. It has always been my dream to spend all day crafting away in solitude. With retail and school closures, however, I live in a full house. Working from home is not the tranquil experience it was in the past (when I was fortunate enough to do it), but the family time is priceless. This is, doubtless, a time all of us will look back on with gratitude and nostalgia — when we spent all day, every day together. That said, it’s wonderful — and essential — to get out. This is something I can easily do. Again, I can’t complain: many people do not live close to parkland and are subject to harsher restrictions of movement than we are.

I’m fortunate to live in a semi-rural suburb, in a housing estate that was carved out of farmland. We’re close to a creek, and forest remains intact for us to walk or cycle through. I’ve never walked more than in the past few months as I’ve sought sanctuary from my home office. In getting out more, I’ve expanded my awareness of what’s around. I’ve found new paths to explore, some of them hidden, but truthfully, most of them well-worn, just hitherto unfamiliar to me. The local kids, on their bikes, have carved out numerous tracks for me to follow, constructing cubby houses along the way.

What’s struck me more than anything on these walks is the fauna, from native wildlife to farm animals on properties that adjoin walking tracks. I had already gained a sense of what was around. Native parrots perch on my fence — long enough for me to photograph them, at least — and blue-tongue lizards are occasionally sighted wandering through the yard. But it’s just around the corner, down by the creek, that the real fun begins: one short walk can offer up ducks, fish, emus, alpacas and even a camel. Through a cold, uncertain winter, such sightings have been heartwarming.

I’ve been able to capture some of these beautiful animals on camera. This short photo essay needs few accompanying words; the animals featured are beauty enough. These photos serve as a reminder to me that an appreciation of, and connection to, my natural surroundings is something to keep treasuring — long after isolation ends.

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