For “better or worse”, the house I designed has 126 windows. Forty eight of these double paned windows are in the six floor-to-ceiling French doors that line the north and west sides of the house.

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“Better” in the sense that even on the most overcast day there is sufficient light within the house to keep the light bulbs turned off, thereby, saving on the storage of electricity in the house’s batteries. This electricity being gained through roof top solar panels on sunny days. And, also, who doesn’t like the viewed expanse of nature to be so present within one’s home?

“Worse” in the sense that these windows have to be hand washed twice a year. Counting both sides of these windows, the total is 252 panes of glass that have to be cleaned of accumulated grit, salt spray and greasy fingerprints from tiny hands that just love pressing into glass.

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Last week, over three days, I got stuck into doing 80 of the windows.

What never fails to impress me is this: Looking out of these windows before washing them, everything seems okay because the clouding up of the windows is such a gradual dimming of the view, that I don’t notice the change. But after the washing, wow. Such clarity. Such intensity. The fine detail of life that was hidden now pops out — once again.

I say, “once again” because it happens every year, twice a year, this re-enchantment of clarity that comes only after one takes the time to clean up the fine layer of film clouding one’s vision.

As it happened, yesterday a group of Buddhist’s came to visit me with the intention of walking slowly — with focus and intention — Windgrove’s 2 kilometer Peace Path.

Before the walk and after the walk, these ten people were in the house sharing small talk and large talk.

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As I sat with them around the dining table, I couldn’t help but see within the window washing an analogy to life: Slow down, walk with radical presence, observe the minutia of life. This will clear the mind of all those little bits of gritty stress that can slowly build up and dull the intense beauty that is so readily available to all of us. It takes a little bit of elbow grease, but the results will astound.

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This morning, with its clear blue sky, the completed addition of four new galvanized raised beds stand finished and ready for planting out with spring potatoes. They join another eighteen put in place in another lifetime (it seems).

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The installation required placing the beds in place, filling them with dirt (by hand), sinking five upright posts with attached rafters, and lastly, removing the old wire netting and stretching new wire to cover the lot and, thereby, possum proof the garden once again.

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It took three working days. The trick was not to undo the old wire netting until everything was in place. To have started and not finished before night fall would have allowed the possums access to the inner sanctuary and they would have run amuck and feasted on all the winter vegetables growing there.

Three days hard work, plus expenses, for just a few extra potatoes? Why am I not in my studio doing the “real” work of being an artist? Perplexing question as to what work is really important. Perhaps, all work?

Lately, I have been spending more of my time around the property on maintenance and other projects than I have in my studio. Also, last week from Tuesday till Friday I had between seven and nine overnight guests. (Went to bed for two days with a 103 degree fever when they all left.)

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This doesn’t mean that I am not trying to get to my studio. The above photo shows — with the new garden enclosure in the background — an upright model standing just behind a nine foot long hunk of wood being carved to its shape. With time, it will become ten rounded abdomens with belly buttons in bas relief stacked five on a side. A sort of honouring of all placental mammals.

Some considerable technical issues regarding tensile strength, but fingers crossed. I’ll probably be eating the potatoes before the sculpture gets finished. The “artistic” world will just have to wait until “my” world catches up with all its chores and multiple other passions.

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Who is this shrouded companion to the sun who daily changes her shape from skimpy crescent to full figured roundness without embarrassment?

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People would rather tan naked under the summer sun than bare their naked soul to the moon’s subtle rays. Yet more than the sun, the moon speaks to one’s artistic soul in a way few people ever fully understand unless they willingly venture out into the night during all her phases. Shall we say, “Walk willingly into the divine feminine?”

I view creativity as something most often shrouded in mystery, the intuitive and the vulnerable unknown; archetypal qualities associated with the feminine.

When walking under a blazing sun, the path is clearly seen, well defined, well marked. The artist knows, though, that the more challenging, dimmed half-lit, shadowy path offers more opportunity for discovery, for understanding, for reward.

Above, I photographed the near full moon rising on Friday knowing it had previously passed over Brazil and all the world’s soccer fans gathered there. One line in the song Liverpool fans sing is: “… don’t be afraid of the dark”.

And well they should not be afraid. I would also add: “Learn to love the night. Venture into the night with the moon. Learn to love the mysterious, felt energies that await your gentle footsteps come knocking at their mossy doorsteps.”

Below, I photographed the full moon setting during the halftime break between Brazil and the Netherlands.

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With clouds obscuring/enhancing both photographs, it was a reminder that in life, as in soccer, the outcome can never be predicted. Just enjoy.

A song from the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ begins “…sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the days”.

Yet another reminder of our fleeting time on this earth could be: “moonrise, moonset, swiftly flow the nights”.

Let’s walk our dreams.

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Visitors to Windgrove love walking around the property hoping for a chance encounter with some of the local fauna. Along with the spiky ant eating echidna, a favorite, never-to-fail excitement, ring all the happy bells experience, is coming across a wombat.

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To any “first time visitor” to Windgrove, a casual downward glance near the front gate to the house would only show a few wooden stakes of random heights protruding from the ground, slightly above the garden mulch.

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A “second time visitor”, before venturing off on a walk would have been told (during their first visit) the story of the rampaging wombat. They would then see with their mind’s eye what lies beneath the garden mulch in a (not always successful) attempt to prevent one rather large male wombat from burrowing under, through and around all defensive structures in order to gain access to an area of lawn he considers his domain.

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It is a complicated network of wire netting, stones and metal star pickets.

Why go through all this trouble?

DSC_3962Basically, once a wombat establishes territory, it is extremely difficult to stop any further digging of interconnected tunnels in and out of his/her den. Under a house built on stumps such as mine, there would be the real possibility of extensive structural damage.

So, despite really liking this stocky, neighbour hooligan with his insistent determination, I have spent many hours — weeks in fact — building up a several types of barriers to keep wombats from the inner sanctum of the home. Also wallabies, but that is another story.

Love has to have some boundaries.

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There is a certain freedom associated with having the house all to one’s own. The dishes can pile, no time is wasted on deciding whose turn it is to cook or which program to watch on TV, and, most importantly, I get to chose exactly what it is I will do for the day.

The flip side to this freedom is that there are some things that are a little bit more fun/doable when shared with other people.

Take eating, for instance.

Especially having lunch around a dining table that can seat 14. Here, eating by myself is more of a utilitarian chore than something enjoyable.

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But sharing lunch with a class of 5th graders from my local Nubeena primary school visiting Windgrove this past week, this truly is high energy and a buzz of excitement. Instead of an alone adult filling the house with grumpy, crotchety negativity, a passel of bubbling and inquisitive eleven and twelve year olds certainly will brighten up the pine cladding and rid the air of bad energy better than any imported organic incense sticks.

And then there is the tennis court.

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Who wants to sit all alone on a windless, sunny day looking out across a tennis court empty of people? Certainly, this is one void that needs filling.

However, most people — unlike lazy studio artists — work during week days behind walls in structured, time obedient, butt enlarging conditions and just aren’t legally allowed to play with me when the weather is the most gorgeous on a Wednesday.

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My answer? Let me introduce you to my new mechanical friend “Lorne”, named after a certain Tasmanian/Canadian buddy who I hope will occasionally find the time to replace the impersonator and give me a real hit of tennis on some fine Saturday/Sunday.

For a quick, three second look at how Lorne and I play together, have a look at this:

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Is the below photo an abstract painting by Kandinsky? Perhaps, a late Rothko? Or, simply the exploratory work of a first year art student studying the effects of highly textured daubs of colour?

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Better yet, can you see the troll like face of the “little guy” in the upper right hand side of the photo?

Remember when a burnt piece of toast went global because the face of Jesus was seen on it?

Maybe the appearance of “my” little guy has some hidden meaning? For me? For us all? Should I consult with a Jungian analyst? Or the Dalai Lama? Would it fetch $10,000 on eBay?

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Best if you shut your right eye and only focus on the visually imagined little guy with a squinting left eye.

You see, the left eye is wired to your brain’s right hemisphere and this is where intuition, metaphor, paradox, humor and imagination all reside in mutual acceptance of each other.

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The left hemisphere is more particular and only sees the detailed obvious: slimy mold, fungus and bacteria created when I left a pot of chicken stew in the pantry during the month of May as a scientific experiment.

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