Category Archives: Today

As the Willow Gently Weeps: Why did Phillip Hughes’s death affect us so much?

Phillip Hughes remembrance poster

The last time I consistently watched Test cricket, or any cricket, as a very interested fan was several hundred years ago, when names like Rodney Marsh, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Bill Lawrie, Richie Benaud, the Chappell brothers, and Keith Stackpole were bending and spinning, bouncing and gardening, pulling and snicking and lofting. Continue reading

Feeling Cactus? Put the Bloom Back on the Rose Today, Grasshopper

A couple of weeks ago on my morning walk, I saw a cactus flower in full bloom. It was large, white, luscious and lifting its face to the sun. Full of energy.

My partner suggested we return with our cameras to capture the event. But after we arrived home and had breakfast, somehow the cactus flower left the to-do today agenda for the nether regions of tomorrowland.

Tomorrow arrived and the cactus flower was off the bloom, spent, exhausted from the effort of its beauty. Yes, it was cactus.

So the first picture with this post is the lesson for the day which, by now, you’ve probably guessed.

Cactus Flower

Cactus cactus flower

Don’t delay. Act. Whatever it is, do it now if it’s at all possible.

When opportunity arrives, grab it by the double p and shake it vigorously.

A personal case in point – yes, yet another instance of procrastination peeving a person. I wrote a short story about a time in the early 1980s – coming soon to an e-publishing platform near you – and I used a house I lived in then as a location.

As is the way of things, I thought an image of the house may serve as part of the cover design. The house is on the other side of town and it’s years since I was in that neighborhood. I’d been toying with the notion of a photo safari to shoot all the places I’ve lived in since I adopted Brisbane as my de facto hometown. So…

We drove there one day recently and discovered four townhouses where my old rental once graced the long gone grassy slope. They took up the block next door, too, spready little buggers.

Gone. Forever. No wretched image except for the one in my wretched mind’s eye.

I was so distraught that we resorted to cheeseburgers at the rebuilt, refurbished, totally over-sized yellow M take-away opposite so I could re-ground myself in the reality of grease and slamming ventricles – better that than a smack in the face with a dead cactus flower, anyway. Maybe.

You can see, then, that while we discovered another cactus flower actually in bloom, and had the good sense to photograph it before it was too late (again), my old house is eternally lost because I didn’t act in the now that has become then.

So sad. Too bad.

For what it’s worth and this is what all the mindfulness books, essays and blogs will tell you time and again: Act. Do it now.

You can’t always tell the difference between what may give you a re-run and what will disappear.

Do not fertilise regret, grasshopper.

Capture the cactus flower with its head raised in wondrous, sunny splendour, and rejoice in your immediacy.

Blooming cactus flower

Blooming Cactus Flower

A Hero of the Decisive Moment–Lillian Hellman


In a letter dated May 19, 1952, American writer, Lillian Hellman, refused to testify against her associates after being summoned to appear on May 21 before the now infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities.

This Committee, known as HUAC, was convened by Senator Joe McCarthy to root out Communists in the US.  It was an era of fear, nascent nuclear power, and the developing Cold War between the USSR and the West, and many careers and lives were destroyed because of McCarthy and his cohort’s obsessive paranoia about Communism and its followers.

Lillian Hellman, a hero of mine, made a decision of immediate and lasting significance by refusing to dob in her mates.  On this day over half a century ago, the Committee of hate-fuelled little men were advised: “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”  Her defiance saw her blacklisted by Hollywood for many years, but history has emphatically demonstrated who was on the side of justice and honour.

Let’s decide, like Lillian, not to cut our consciences, grasshoppers – but be ready for resistance, mostly from ourselves.

How to be Decisive Momentarily and Live a Different Life

My cat constantly decides - to eat.

What does it take to provoke active decision-making in our lives?  We go along to get along, don’t we?  It’s hard to change even if we want to.  Routine is comforting and useful, it’s handy when you need to know which way’s up.  But sometimes – more and more frequently these days, it seems – events occur – decisive events, fatally decisive events – that shake you up and out of your routine and running on automatic.  They can shake you into a decisive moment.  A Few Blinks More