Senses by the Lake

February 8, 2019 at 10:03 pm | Posted in Australia, Birds, Experiences, Leisure activities, Nature | 24 Comments
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I have just come across a couple of pages of notes that I wrote in my notebook back in September 2010 – Spring in my part of the world. I was taking a walk by the lake where I live, and along the way, I sat on a water-side bench seat, not far from a pub, a services club and a café. I opened myself to the sights, sounds and smells around me.


What I could see:

  • the placid surface of the lake, unruffled by wind, reflecting a blue sky;
  • the wake of a passing motorboat on the opposite side of the bay;
  • ripples from the boat carrying all the way to the shore;
  • a cormorant diving for fish;
  • a variety of boats, sail or motor, moored in the bay, moving gently in the moving boat’s wake;
  • people of all ages passing by, just going for a walk or heading to the nearby shops;
  • casuarinas and eucalypyts that grow near the edge of the lake;
  • the concrete walking path that follows the shoreline;
  • the green lawns of homes that stand back from the trees and pathway;
  • a sea eagle that soars high on invisible currents of air.


What I could hear:

  • Corellas screeching;
  • Traffic going by on the road;
  • Peewees’ piping call;
  • The warning cry of masked lapwings;
  • A budgerigar in a cage nearby;
  • ‘G’day and ‘Hello; from passers-by;
  • The squawk of rainbow lorikeets;
  • The rumble of a distant aircraft;
  • Noisy miners (birds) quarrelling;
  • The clatter of a two-stroke bicycle motor;
  • The distant cooing of doves;
  • The whine of a whipper-snipper and the ring of its cord against steel fence posts;
  • The slap of a leaping fish as it hit the water;
  • the soft chittering of Eastern rosellas from a eucalypt tree;
  • the musical warbling of magpies;
  • the unmistakable sound of a postie’s motor scooter as he does his rounds;
  • the ‘aak’ , ‘aak’ of seagulls as they fly over;
  • the burbling of an outboard motor and the sound of voices, as two men tie up a ‘tinny’ at the RSL jetty;
  • the ‘ko-ko-ko-ko’ of a kookaburra as it warns away the persistent noisy miners.


What I could smell:

  • The soft, warm scent of recently cut green grass;
  • A slight tang of salt in the air;
  • The odour of mud and weed, exposed by the tide;
  • The fresh, clean scent of the casuarina trees;
  • The gentle waft of spring on the breeze;
  • The tantalizing aroma of garlic from the pub’s restaurant;
  • The pungent smell of cigarette smoke from the club’s beer garden;
  • A wonderful aroma of fresh brewed coffee.


How fortunate I am to live in such a wonderful place, with nature as well as a small urban area around me. It is great to take a walk along the lake shore, no matter what the weather.


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  1. Great post 😁

  2. How interesting that spring in one part of the world is fall in another. I noticed you made a reference to the kookaburra. This reminded me of the lines we used to sing as kids: “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree . . . !”

    You are very, very observant, Linda! 🙂

    • Thank you Marian. There is so much to see, hear and smell that it is easy to fill pages of observations. We have that kookaburra ditty here too. 🙂

  3. What a lovely exercise in being in the moment and paying attention to all the sensory inputs. Wonderful for writing, and even more so, for living. 🙂

  4. Your description brought back memories. We used to drop anchor round the corner from the RSL and wade through the weed to the shore. That was when we owned a trailer sailor. The RSL would give us free showers if we bought drinks or a meal.
    Your writing turns on the senses. We are camped at Genoa, just over the border in Victoria. The bell birds are constant, there are voices of other campers, dogs barking ….

    I will now go around Victoria smelling, seeing and listening, thanks to your
    timely words.

    • Lovely to hear from you Linda! You have to pay for showers now, I believe at the RSL. But the beauty is still there. I have done this exercise in different places and find that is great for attuning the senses, especially to nature.
      There are many lovely places around Victoria too that will give your senses plenty of exercise. I hope you have a wonderful trip. 🙂

  5. Another testament to keeping notes or a normal. They’re always a good place to start a reflection or spark memories. Lovely sensory post. xx

    • Thanks Linda. Yes, I think I will get the writing groups to do this exercise – and re-do it myself regularly.
      Hope you are still enjoying your travels and discovering more wonderful places around this lovely country. 🙂

  6. Normal = Journal

  7. Wonderful Linda!

    • Thanks, Vicki. I’m going to encourage the group to do the exercise in their own time & see what they get out of it. 🙂

  8. Awesome! Sometimes it’s just nice to stop, look and listen.

  9. Your notebooks must be a wonderful resource for your writing, Linda! Your observations paint a wonderful picture of the lake and its surroundings. It sounds like you live in a lovely place.

  10. We can all feel blessed when we take time to survey what is present in our surroundings. I enjoyed the way you sorted your observations according to your senses. This is a technique that I could use to add missing elements in my writing.

    • I have found that adding the senses creates a much better piece of writing. It brings us into the scene, the action, the feelings. 🙂

  11. Interesting that we share the Peewit, I could spend hours watching their intense aerobatics! No idea what a Corella is – I shall look that one up: Oh, right! It looks like a parakeet that’s surprised to find it’s woken up with a dove’s body. I like the way you picked up on the odours – I could almost smell them myself. Nice piece, nice place, beautifully visual images of a place to really call home.

    • I have a feeling the peewit you know & the peewee we know are quite different in their habits. I’d say ours were named for their similar appearance, as many other of our birds were.
      Corellas are a white cockatoo, smaller than & with a few other differences to the sulphur crested cockatoo, They are not as well known.
      Glad you like the piece – it is hard to write badly about this lovely area. 🙂

  12. Because of your list, I could see, hear, smell that beautiful place. This is one of the creative writing exercises I give to my students. To just walk outside and describe everything that they see. Good job!

    • It’s a great exercise, isn’t it. 🙂 I just sat & wrote what I heard, saw & smelled though I hadn’t intended to when I set off on my walk. 🙂 Great isn’t it that we writers always carry paper & pen (me) or a device on which to record those special times. 🙂

      • Yes! Sometimes I even take a photo to record something I’ve seen so I can take it home with me and write about it.

      • That’s a great idea. 🙂

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