Images courtesy of DARE2 sculpture group installation of nests Bicentennial Park, Homebush Bay, Sydney.
Who is Dare?

return to Advent Calendar

The Man From Farther Out

Though lacking the attractions, variety of sights and entertainment, the festivities and general gaiety that the cities offer, Christmastide brings good cheer to the denizens of the ranges and forests, and is looked forward to and enjoyed in the humblest places.

It is a time when the scattered flocks foregather from far and wide under the old roof-tree. There are innumerable homes from which many have gone out to battle with the world, as shearers, drovers, carriers, fencers, tank-sinkers, station hands, prospectors and miners, stockmen and bush rouseabouts, leaving only the old couple, and probably one or two of the youngest members of the family. The boys may be working within easy reach and they may be hundreds of miles away. In either case 'mother' expects them home.

Preparations are made weeks beforehand; Willie and Jim and Bob are daily discussed, and surprises are planned for them. Their rooms are done up and readied, and the old paddock is made doubly secure for their horses, which, being strange, "are sure to try to make back." The chips and bones, leaves and pieces of paper are raked up and burnt in little heaps; the garden is trimmed up, the house is painted or whitewashed outside, the steps and fireplace receive similar attention, and the inside walls are papered, if only with newspapers.

E.S. Sorenson in Life in the Australian Backblocks

December Homing

Consider the meaning of the word homing.

homing adj : orienting or directing homeward or to a destination; "the homing instinct"; "a homing beacon"

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Homing \Hom"ing\, p.a.

Homing pigeon, a pigeon trained to return home from a distance. Homing pigeons are used for sending back messages or for flying races. By carrying the birds away and releasing them at gradually increasing distances from home, they may be trained to return with more or less certainty and promptness from distances up to four or five hundred miles. If the distance is increased much beyond this, the birds are unable to cover it without stopping for a prolonged rest, and their return becomes doubtful. Homing pigeons are not bred for fancy points or special colors, but for strength, speed, endurance, and intelligence or homing instinct.

Homing \Hom"ing\, a. Home-returning; -- used specifically of carrier pigeons.

Recommended Projects

1. Establish a visual journal to record your plans and to write about the projects you undertake this month. You will find lots of good ideas about visual journal keeping in the Visual Journal Lounge at The Soul Food Cafe.

2. While I was preparing this page a small bird began to build a nest amidst our banksia rose that clings to the stable walls. I watched her, fascinated as she flew down, gathered treasure and flew back to weave her home.

To celebrate the holiday season and Christmas use natural and/or recycled materials - wool, plant fibre, pegs, copper wire, toys, jewellery to make a nest in a tree in your yard or in one near you.

3. New Yorker, Audrey Larkin, wrote to tell everyone at Soul Food that last Christmas season her daughter Kathleen decided to do a family project. All the children and adults were involved. Together they created a lovely gingerbread house complete with icing, m & m's, candy canes, chocolate kisses and other delicious treats. If you are interested in taking on a 'nesting' project like this follow these instructions.

" Ever have ideas bussling around in your head but not the time to address them all? Creative people can sometimes get overwhelmed with their own creativity when they get going, but have absolutely nothing later on. Try building an idea nest for your little baby eggs of creativity. Take any materials you wish, anything that can be scrounged up. Maybe use scraps from past art projects, or ones that donít seem to be going anywhere themselves. Use materials that speak to your creativity, or that represent vitality and new life. Put meaning into it any way that you do in life. Make it a personal ritual act whose creation will have a life of its own. Build any kind of nest, even create your own entire concept for a nest! Maybe venture into unique bird nests, or nests that arenít of birds at all, but of mammals, reptiles, even insects. Put it somewhere where it seems to fit and where your little babies will feel safe, in a crook of a shelf, in a corner of the mantle, perhaps entirely hidden to anyone but you their mother, perhaps right out in the open (watch out though, people might start opening your babies.

When ideas start barraging you, write some of them down on pieces of paper, little letters to yourself when your other artistic children have matured and left and you are alone with silence. Fold these up and forget about them, purge them from your consciousness so you can concentrate on the things you already have going, or that are more important. Forget about them knowing they are safe and sound in their nest. Know these new creative beings, these newborn lives, are safe and being nurtured, growing within their shells.

When it is time, lovingly reach in and take one out. Allow yourself to receive this new life, envision that when you open the shell, the new being will be there full of life. Imagine that when you reveal this life, it will be only the beginning of wonderful new possibilities, and be entirely open to it. You are revealing a tiny but beaming creative gem from within yourself that has been growing all this time. The energy will spill out from within the blank, life-less shell. And from here you have to help it grow yourself, finding its path to a matured new work."
Josh Parkinson

5. Find out about the homing instinct of snails.

Associated Links

Homing Instinct by Lois Daley
Gingerbread House by Winnie Cross