You don't have to understand the world. You just have to find your own way around in it. - Albert Einstein

Friday, 20 April 2012

of Beauty to be Found - Day Tripping at the Public Hospital

Today was a hospital day - half the day spent at the hospital while Mr CJ has a nerve-treating procedure, performed by a pain management specialist. Hmmm sounds like fun...not...much! But I have had enough of these hospital days to give me time to apply my philosophy of looking for the beauty in the everyday, of believing it is always there to be found, even surrounded by all the disasters and dramas that go on every day in a public hospital. So today I took my camera around the building and grounds for a little tourist-in-your-own-town action.

One of my favourite things about this hospital is that is has its own book stall. What a brilliant idea! It's located as obviously as possible, just inside the main entrance, and there is always something different to see here. Some days the shelves are so chockers with books you can hardly get one out without knocking the whole stand over, then a few days later the shelves might be all but bare. All books are $1 and I think I've seen every kind of book imaginable except the 'adult' kind among the collection over time - contemporary novels, classics, academic texts, religious books, children's books, bodice-rippers and trashy romances, biographies and dictionaries, foreign languages and strangely random community publications. I've collected a few fine titles myself here, and I know that some locals actually come here to the hospital just to look at the books. I really think that every hospital should have a book stall, simply for this reason - if you ever find yourself stuck in hospital unexpectedly, a good book can make all the difference. For this reason I give my own books that I don't need to keep any more to this book stall. I always say a little prayer for them to be found by someone who really needs and loves them.

It wasn't surprising, given the current climate of celebration of multi-culturalism, that the old chapel gave way to a modern, multi-faith Spirituality Centre during the last major renovations. All welcome.

Artwork - EARTH and AIR by Patrick Negri, b. 1935, Australia

In a little nook to the right of the painting is a spontaneous art therapy station - a blank book, pens and pencils, and an invitation to put them into action. The book is half filled with children's art, lots of colourful hearts and heartful prayers and letters. It didn't seem appropriate to photograph the contents.

There is a selection of literature from various faiths. I am always disappointed by the conspicuous absence of any pagan religion. The only earth-based religion represented here is the beliefs of the Wathaurong people of South-Western Victoria.

In a corridor on the way to the outpatients clinic, this glass artwork by Wathaurong Glass, and a telling of the creation story of the Wathaurong people.

Then outside to The Garden of Reflection and Remembrance, with a theme of military history. This mural is dedicated to health workers who served in military situations. The Aleppo Pine framing the image is a Lone Pine Tree - a direct descendant of the original Lone Pine at Gallipoli.

There are plenty of park benches here, and rose bushes, and everything has its own little brass plaque, or possibly several, dedicated to our collective ancestors, in groups or individually, by number or by name.

Little splashes of secret colour hide low among the mulch.

Outside the enclosed garden now, and around the grounds to the west and south of the buildings.

This one perfect rose is blooming among a bed of bushes that are all pruned bare, right up in the corner that is closest to all the passing traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular, as though it were reaching out to all the people going by the main entrance.

Roses galore and decadent in a lovely bed outside the day stay unit.

This little patch of wandering jew, tucked away in a shady, windy corner, is, I suspect, a survivor from the old days. Its status as an introduced pest means it was unlikely to have been included in the latest, politically correct, drought-resistant landscaping projects. I'm so sorry that I couldn't come close to capturing the vibrancy of its dramatic autumn colours in the picture. The maroon was positively glowing.

A good swathe of bottlebrush flowers always reminds me how lucky I am to live in this beautiful land.

Rampant salvia in full bloom, resplendent in today's unseasonably hot sunshine. And I mean hot. I got a little sunburned just while on this little nature photography jaunt.

And, of course, I do love a fine gum tree... or two. One of the things I love about the trunks of gum trees is the way they wrinkle so neatly where they bend. These handsome trees are splendid examples - you can see the sharp relief of the wrinkles.

Back indoors, I had my first ever desire to whip out my camera while in a public toilet - I had to laugh at this purpose-printed dunny-door literature. There's a logo in the lower left corner - it says 'Toilet Talk.' It's supposed to make us 'feel better.' I don't know whether to think it's cute or crude, so it's probably very Australian. Featured quotes include -
"You will never amount to much." - German schoolmaster to Albert Einstein.
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." - Decca Recording Company rejecting The Beatles.

Meanwhile, inside the day stay unit, everyone was being very nice to Mr. CJ, miraculous modern technology was employed, and all went well. Nurses are awesome and they need support - please have a look here to see what they have to say.


  1. I'm amazed with your ability to find beauty in hospitals.

    The one thing that baffled me for a moment was the sign of "Darwin defenders" - I thought it was a bunch of atheists who fought for teaching evolution or something like that. but why 1942-1945? Who had time in a world war to debate religion?

  2. Thanks Moddy.

    I find the following things helpful-
    the ability to not care that people are looking at you strangely,
    a zoom lens on a camera, and
    the availability of funding for public landscaping projects.

    Good point - that Darwin sign could seem confusing out of context. It's a strangely little-remembered episode of World War II that Darwin and northern parts of Australia were bombed by Japanese air raids. The event was used as inspiration for the climactic finale of Baz Luhrmann's film, Australia, but the film is not completely historically accurate.,_1942–43

    for more info.