Bewildered By Beauty


I looked up into an autumn sky today still as blue as summer and was bewildered by beauty. The cry of cockatoos, white, yellow-crested, sounded like a woodwind ensemble. A screeching song in unison – reedy, raspy, rising up to the penultimate note like a cry to heaven.

The cockatoos spread their wings, hundreds of them, maybe thousands, speckling the ground with shadow. I tottered, no longer sure-footed, squinting as if clouds had gathered. Together, as if led by a conductor, the wings began to beat, cleaving the air.

I held up my hands, a supplicant, catching the soft, feather-driven wind; a caress that would drive the hardest heart to tears. The cockatoos moved into formations – a theatre in the sky, perfectly synchronised, facing the sun, turning, pivoting, shimmying. I looked at the ground where the shadows bounced and when I looked back up they were flying away, as swift as blinking.

For moments I couldn’t look away, wondering at the lightness of the sky clear now of birds but not of joy. If life could be like this it would be easy to go on. If life could be like this it would not be hard to discover what happiness is. If life could be like this each day would be enough.

20 thoughts on “Bewildered By Beauty

  1. What a fabulous photo Selma. We have some beautiful bird life where I live, birds of staggeringly gorgeous colours. Where my daughters take their dance classes on a Wednesday there is an oval and every night it is covered with hundreds and hundreds of white cockatoos. Boy do they ever make a noise too.


  2. I’m so glad you are able to appreciate the beauty around you. So many are willing to pass it up for the sake of “getting somewhere.” Oh, and I’m seriously green with envy that you have cockatoos just hanging out in the wild. I’ve only seen them in captivity.

    We do have some lovely bluejays, playful crows, and melodic robins, so we’re not totally bereft of cool stuff, but cockatoos… IN THE WILD… !!! DUDE! Like… WOW!

    Ok. I’ll sit down now.


  3. A cocky tree! Marvellous!

    In the half-light, they look just like blossomes saying in the breeze, until you get within earshot.


  4. yes, what more do we need besides such beauty, unfortunately…humans are never satisfied…i enjoyed all your posts …i wish there was some more, will be back to read more.


  5. What a beautiful photograph! I try to imagine cockatoos overhead and think it would be one of the best sights that I’d ever see. I love those moments of thinking, ‘if only life could be like this always’.

    I am fascinated with how your autumn means my spring and vice versa. I imagine you don’t have the same sense of dread in autumn that I do knowing what will be forthcoming weather-wise.


  6. I would so much rather watch cockatoos take flight than the big black crows that dominate the trees near us. It just makes me want to throw some Jimmy Buffett onto the stereo.


  7. “You guys have cockatoos just out flying around? That is amazing!” – Miss Britt.

    It is amazing.

    Selma isn’t using hyperbole when she writes “hundreds of them, maybe thousands” – I know because there are thousands of them in the suburb of Sydney where I live.

    Great post as per usual Selma.



  8. Be still my heart – perfect photos with perfect words – they move, inspire, and ignite flights of wild imagination. What a writer you are. What a great representative of the human spectrum. Brava!


  9. Selma – beautiful description – I can completely see them – and what a great picture too! Amazing that idea we all have when made breathless with beauty that, “if only life could be like this…” So HARD to remember: life IS like this! We are witness!

    Thank you for writing this!


  10. GYPSY – they sure do make a noise. You know what I saw the other day in the park? About 20 galahs. They are so cute and they always seem to travel in pairs. I do love the Aussie birdlife!

    BRITT – it really is an amazing sight – very noisy -but amazing!

    NANNA – you’re right. My own Nanna used to say :”Sometimes we can’t see for looking.” I know now that she was right.

    KAREN – what is particularly wonderful about the cockatoos is that I live in an inner city suburb – a bit of a concrete jungle – which for years has seen no bird life. About 10 years ago the government passed an initiative to plant more trees and create more green open space in the inner city areas. And it’s worked, our birds have come back. However, it’s nothing compared to where my parents used to live which was about 200km down the south coast. You should have seen the bird life there. Black cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets, cockatiels, even King Parrots. It was unbelievable!

    TRAVELRAT – oh yeah, they’re noisy all right. But so adorable!

    MELEAH – Nanna rules. You should check out her blog. She is a very sensitive, wise person!

    UL – I know. As humans we want more, more , more. Truth is, we already have so much. Thanks for your very kind comment.

    PAISLEY – it is my absolute pleasure. Any time at all.

    KATE – our winters are very mild as a rule. It doesn’t snow and rarely drops below about 15 degrees C (sorry, I don’t know fahrenheit.) Once it got to 10 degrees C and everyone was freaking out. As I am originally from Scotland I like the cold but I rarely get the chance to even wear a heavy winter coat – it just doesn’t get cold enough!

    MICHAEL – I think David Attenborough did a doco once on how crows live in mortal fear of certain types of music, particularly Jimmy Buffett. I believe his music is a more effective deterrant than a scarecrow. Hahaha. Good one!

    DAVID – aww thanks. I really enjoyed the videos. Imagine having cockatoos so tame they come onto your balcony? Glorious!

    CRAFTY GREEN – their presence is tangible, leaves you feeling astounded. And blessed.

    TR – coming from you that is high praise indeed. You have made my day!

    ROSHAN – they are pretty but I love to see them flying free. Makes your heart soar!

    POET – I know. It is already like this. It’s brilliant!

    MELEAH – you know, Michael is such a character. I started reading his blog upon your recommendation and I’m so glad I did. I can’t read him at work because he actually makes me laugh aloud and I’ll probably get sacked. He is incredibly funny. Love him!


Comments are closed.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: