Today is ANZAC Day, 2020. Normally, at least, there would be assemblies of people around the country, honouring the memory of our fallen defense forces.
A dawn service at 6:00am is a tradition that came to the day because of its military heritage. Not unusual for whole families, grandies to grandkids, and great greats, to be gathered together in the quiet of pre-dawn. One day a year. The clink of medals well earned, the comrades in arms catching up a few ‘hellos’ in hushed words. The ringing of Laurence Binyon’s immortal words. “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.”
Then the trumpet call to “Reveille” and “The Last Post”. A minute of Silence.
Next, in most locations a march through the city of those that remain. More greetings, more community gatherings and more shared stories.
Twoup games, and Football.
This year, we found ourselves at the end of the driveway, in the cool of the morning, candles, and lights along the street, people hushed and reverent, and the Last Post rolling down the street from various sound systems.
I like first light. Some might be wary of it, but to me it has always been a comforting, protective time. Enveloped in the darkness, I watch as the first glimmers of light rolls up the day.
A new phase. Deng Ming-Tao, writes, “As we enter a new phase of our lives, the parameters change. We need to revamp ourselves according to our situations. The continuing act of creativity keeps us going.
Learning is the fountain of youth,
No matter how old you are,
You mustn’t stop growing.”
I’d picked this image to follow the one of Mr. Mighty last week. I wonder if you picked why?
It’s a visual thing. The branch this lass is perched on, is the same one Mr. Mighty was made on last week.
I think she might be the matriarch of the travelling party that season. It’s only anecdotal, but it seems to me that a female kept the group focused and moving. A few calls from her and the main group would move on to the next location. The males play little part in it, as they are quiet until its time to return back to the high country and take up summer territories.
The year I took this, (2011), she was looking after a flock of around 15-20. 4 males, 5-6 females and 10 or so young birds, in various stages of moulting into their new dress.
To all my fellow stay-at-homers, I hope all is well, you’re still creative, and still finding new ways of learning and acting.
6 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #79: A Day, Like No Other”
A fine portrait of this lovely lady, David. I have noticed that it seems to be the females that call the shots.
Indeed, a very different commemoration today. There was a wonderful sense of community around here, hopefully that will continue.
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G,day, I’ve watched a number of winter flocks over the years, most of them at Woodlands. Mostly just by sitting in the scrub as the feed through. One of the females always seem to be the loudest and calls the most, so I have concluded that she is in charge in some sort of robin way.
Maybe because of our current confinement, or perhaps not having to get up so early and travel, or simply because the weather was kind, but I must admit to feeling that the 6:00am moment was a much more personal and meaningful time today. Could be the emphasis was on the inside, rather than on the organised pomp and ceremony that is the norm.
We heard the bugle sound at sunrise this morning and was wondering who was playing it, but I stopped and gave thanks for those who gave the supreme sacrifice, and those who returned scarred for life, of which there are and were many, and the problems they brought back into their families, which in those days were hidden or not identified. My dad was one of those, where the horrific had caused permanent damage to his mind and emotions. When I lived in the country I remember giving the dawn service address saying” We are all casualties of war” Every one of is has felt the effect both directly and indirectly. both yesterday and today, especially the baby-boomers. Stepping down off my soapbox I declare what a beautiful capture. It is interesting how particular branches are used by birds to distinguish or highlight their authority. Hope you both are doing well David, we have been renovating and using the opportunity as best we can.
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I’ve done a few dawn services over the years, some in and most out of uniform. Many years I’ve not participated at all.
So it was interesting to stand at the driveway in that amazing predawn, the stillness of the morning breathtakingly fresh. I think I found the silence, and the isolation gave the sombre moment a real pathos that I perhaps missed from a more formal service.
My father’s family had 3 brothers who saw action in WWII, three sisters who served in various roles, and their husbands. So it was interesting as a country kid growing up among all those stories, and somehow their closeness seemed to hold a bond that transcended the horror of the time.
Others I know, particularly as I grew older, did not have that same release, and carried the scars emotionally. I also once helped a first world war digger organise his photo collection, and listened to his stories of the actions in the fields of France toward the end of the war, when the ANZACs worked like stealth raiders, their bushman skills well adapted to the warfare beyond the trenches.
We are still not going out, another two weeks at least.
However I am so pleased that the government has taken the strong action, debilitating that it maybe, but it is beginning to show some real control of this fearful thing.
As I’ve said before, I used to be called anti-social, now its a government gazetted activity. 🙂
Best for the week
It was indeed a solemn day and I thought the individual vigils were in many ways more touching and heartfelt than the more usual public gatherings. And I do agree with aussiebirder that the trauma of war ripples out across the families and the generations.
A beautiful shot of your matriarch David.
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Hello Eleanor, thanks for the insight.
It is interesting that the “Dawn Service” probably has its beginning in 1928 in Sydney, when a number of comrades met at the Cenotraph at 6:00am. They had, the year before, seen an elderly woman laying a wreath at the Cenotaph and resolved to come back the next year at 6:00am From such simple beginnings.
In some ways, the glitz, and high marketing of the day perhaps now seems to have overwhelmed its humble meanings.
I found the solitude of the morning at our front drive a most spiritual experience.