To my husband I am a farmers wife. I cook (poorly), I clean (kind of), I garden (I actually like that part), I raise our family. To my friends and family I am a crazy horse lady that is more at home in a saddle than anywhere else in world.
But who am I?
From a young age I have been an avid admirer of the natural beauty to be found in the Australian bush. One of my earliest memories is riding through heavily timber country on my little pony, following closely behind my dad. It is early morning, the sun has not long risen. Spring is coming to an end and the scent of wattle hangs cool and crisp in air that will soon become so hot and dry that it will burn your throat at every breath, but for now, my world is cool, soft and quiet. As we weave through the wattle I am fascinated by the webs of the huge orb spiders. They glimmer magically in the early morning light, like something from a fairy tale, silver threads of silk hung with a million glistening dew drop diamonds. The only sound is the warble of a magpie singing its morning songs and the rhythmic beat of my horses hooves. My fingers tingle with the cold, my mind is clear and focused, my eyes glimmer in awe of the beauty I am surrounded by, I can taste the wattle and damp earth as I breathe, my heart is light and my soul at ease...I am alive and I belong here.
I am lucky that in my life I have been blessed with many moments to just sit and enjoy the beauty of my world. A day dreamer lost in the minute details that only I can seem to see. I could lay in the sunshine and watch a spider spin his web for hours.... a day dreamer? Maybe, but I have been called worse. I see no harm in watching the beauty of the world while most hurry through life missing the little miracles that happen all around us each day. I am lucky to live my life as a farmers wife, living in the country I love, surrounded by the beauty of the Australian bush, meeting a never ending procession of colourful country characters.
The concrete jungle is not for me! I could survive, yes, but I would not thrive there. City friends and family often ask how I cope with the isolation, with the lack of shopping and entertainment but to me my world is not isolated and it is not without entertainment. I can be alone, the only person for a hundred kilometers and not be lonely. I can wander the bush for days, just the birds and stars to keep me company and not hunger for human companionship. I would, and often do, trade a day shopping in town for a day spent reading a book surrounded by nature's splendor. When I try to explain these simple joys to people not from my walk of life I recognize the look of disbelief, the shock, maybe a little awe, upon their faces and in those moments the disconnect between my life and the life of the multitude slaps me in the face. The majority of people who inhabit this beautiful country of ours have lost the ability to admire its true glory, they have not been given the chance to wander the bush and wonder at the simple splendor of golden wattle in Spring, they have no time to sit and watch the flight of a flock of cockatoos as the wheel across the sky at sunset, they cannot find joy in the feel of rich damp earth upon their hands, they cannot turn their gaze upon a million stars to help remind them of their place in this universe over the bright city lights ...they cannot comprehend my world and it saddens me.
As a small child I spent many hours trying to draw all the things in my world that brought me joy but I had no skill with the pencil. I have always been able to see the beauty but the ability to capture it, preserve it and share it with others had eluded me until I discovered photography. These days you are likely to find me wandering around the farm in the dawn fog or patiently waiting in the dark for the stars to shine, trusty camera at the ready to capture, preserve and share all the beauty of my world with those that do not have the opportunity to see it for themselves. Photography has not only become my profession and my creative outlet it has become my way of sharing my world, my thoughts and my passions. I would like to think that it helps to bridge the growing disconnect between the life lived by those in the country and our city counterparts. If I can inspire just one person to venture into our outback and truly immerse themselves in the beauty and rich diversity to be found there then I consider my countless hours behind the camera worthwhile.
If you would like to view more of my work you can visit my website at www.cjophotonsw.com.au or jump on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CJOPhotographyPrint and say G'day.
Hopefully I will meet you in my world one day soon until then take the time to enjoy the little wonders.
Farmers wife, mother, crazy horse lady and photographer.