This is the famous "Blue Lake" at Mt. Gambier. I took it when we were there last year just before Christmas. It used to be an ancient volcano crater and for half the year, it turns this brilliant azure blue colour, as you can see. However, during the autumn and winter months, it's as grey as the other surrounding lakes. That lake is both beautiful and functional. As well as supplying Mt. Gambier with much of its water supply, it has many stories of folklore and mystery surrounding it.
This was taken on the lower coast of Victoria around Port Campbell on the Great South Ocean Road. We walked down a cliff to this cosy and wonderful inlet. There's my husband and kids in the picture. Getting down there was the easy part.
As you might've guessed, the ease and freedom of using photos at last is still playing with my head! Now that I've done them, I'll get onto the main subject of this blog.
I took my son to his archery lesson last Saturday morning because my dh, who usually does it, was busy. It was a lovely clear winter's day and I did a bit of window shopping and had a quiet walk by the river. But it was most interesting when I actually watched a bit of archery lesson in progress. Logan, my 12yo son, is one of the youngest and smallest competitors. At 152cm tall, he stands about level with my nose. I'm used to thinking of him as my "big" boy, compared to his 3yo brother! It was really weird to watch Logan alongside the other competitors. Many of them are really tall beanpoles in their late teens. It surprised me to see just how small he looked.
So what is he? Big or little? It seems he's both, in different contexts. I think he's probably getting approaching the threshold of a huge growth spurt. Logan's 14yo cousin, and other 14yo boys we know, are all about a head taller than him, with pimples, voices that have broken and the whole works. I can't imagine having to look up to a boy who is taller than me to scold him or tell him what to do! I'll make the most of the time left while he is still shorter than me and looks "little" in some situations.
It started me thinking of times when I myself, have discovered that I'm not quite as I think I am, either. Way back in 1987, I used to think I was very bright at High School English lessons because my teachers built me up with high marks and lots of verbal approval. And I was one of the students who got the highest possible marks from the year 12 English state exam that year (What were they thinking??) I began my English degree at Uni in 1988 still thinking I was bright, but it turned out not to be the case. It was the typical scenario of a big fish in a small pond being transferred to a large pond, and finding herself a very average-sized fish. I was absolutely crushed at the time. I was only 18yo and felt as if my identity of "top English student" was being smashed. Yet now, as I look back at some of writing from my teens and twenties, I can see why the Uni English teachers didn't give me the grades I wanted!
Does that mean I think I'm smarter now? I've definitely improved but I've honestly stopped thinking about it. Perhaps in my sixties or seventies, I'll look back on what I wrote in my thirties and think, "How far I've come!" In a way, I hope that will be the case. We're all works in progress. We all want to be developing and improving. Staying static means there is no growth. It's quite true that whatever you do, there will always be greater and lesser people than yourself, as the old proverb says. I've been in the "comparing" trap too many times, and finally wanted out. It either makes you proud or miserable. "I could do as well as that!" or "I'll never be up to scratch!" Both attitudes make me depressed.
Some advice from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, is worth repeating. She says:-
"When we are working well, it is always tempting to take credit for the work. 'I am so brilliant!' we want to say. But if we do, we then put ourselves in a position of judgment rather than neutrality. One day we will not seem brilliant. One day, striving to be brilliant, work will be difficult. One day, exhausted from striving, work will be impossible. When we allow work to work through us without the ego's constant judgment, we often produce work of a steady caliber. We are less bedeviled by the ego's ups and downs. We are less affected by mood. If it is our job to take care of the quantity and God's job to take care of the quality, then we can produce our work more readily, the way an apprentice chef serves a master chef, preparing the vegetables without knowing the full recipe"
I've often thought the proverbs, "I'm not special but I am unique" and "I am unique just like everybody else" are perfect for helping us keep a decent respect for ourselves while at the same time keeping our feet on the ground.