What’s He Dreaming About?

I’ve been to Australia more times than I can count, starting with my first mission trip in 1991. Although I’ve been back for a family vacation and also to teach an all-day seminar at a computer users symposium, most of my trips have been mission-related. I’ve spent most of my time in the Sydney area, but have also visited Melbourne, Toowoomba, Port Douglas, and Hervey Bay. Plus a few places I’ve forgotten the names of.

My closest Australian friends lived in or near Sydney, however, and I always managed to visit them for a day or two no matter where I’d spent most of my time. And I always enjoyed two special activities–visiting the harbor and the Opera House and walking around Featherdale Wildlife Park.

I never tired of seeing and even getting to pet koalas. Because of those VERY sharp claws, I was limited to contact with one that was safely situated on a fence or in the crook of a low tree branch. Once I held a toy koala that the real one was safely holding onto.

That fur isn’t soft the way you might expect, by the way. Very disappointing.

But koalas themselves aren’t disappointing. Not unless you expect them to DO something. Even though I once got a video of a koala jumping from one tree to another and running around on the ground, most of the ones I saw were perched soundly in a eucalyptus tree, like this one pictured in the poster hanging on my living room wall.

  

This particular picture has always been one of my favorites. Why would I hang it in the living room, otherwise?

It’s fun to look at him (could be a her; I don’t know) and speculate. Is he asleep? If so, is he dreaming about something nice and quiet? Or is he actually thinking…to whatever degree koalas are capable of thought?

No way to be sure, of course, but I’ve always looked at the fellow from a different perspective. That’s why I call this picture “Praying Koala.”

Okay, so maybe koalas don’t have the same relationship with God we Christians do, but they’re just as much God’s creations as we humans are. So who’s to say he’s not praying?

What do you think? How about leaving a comment?

 

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Best regards,
Roger

Memories: Australia Wide

Australia Wide During fall of 1993, I went on my first mission trip to Australia, an experience only some of my subsequent trips have been able to match. Among other mementos–I’m still wearing some of the tee-shirts–were several postcards featuring photos by famous Australian photographer Ken Duncan. They were out of this world!

I didn’t know much about Ken, but several months later when I went into a bookstore in a local mall back here in the States, I came across a beautiful coffee table-sized book of photographs by Ken Duncan. I hadn’t realized that any of his work was available in the U.S., so I was thrilled.

The book was called Australia Wide, which is also the name of his gallery. It’s based on the fact that he specializes in wide-angle shots he refers to as panographs.

I bought a copy. In looking through the acknowledgments, I noticed these words italicized in small print, which made them all the more distinctive:

This book is dedicated to a friend who died and rose again that we may have life in Him. His name is Jesus.

I immediately mailed a letter to Ken’s gallery address–I didn’t have an email address for him–commending him for sharing his faith that way. Sometime later I received a nice acknowledgement from Ken’s wife, Pam. We ended up corresponding off and on by fax for several years.

During one of my subsequent trips to Australia, I was staying with my friend and host pastor, George Stubbs. When I mentioned my interest in Ken, he learned that Ken’s main gallery was only an hour or two away. After making sure Ken would be there, he offered to drive me.

Some people would be thrilled at the prospect of meeting their favorite movie star or recording artist, but going to see Ken was just as exciting for me.

When we got there, Pam explained that Ken was in a meeting and wouldn’t be able to come out while we were there. Yes, I was disappointed, but meeting Pam was really nice.

So can you imagine my surprise when Ken’s meeting ended early and he came out to join us! He’s a tall man, but very quiet.

Ken & Pam Duncan
In fact, when he allowed me to take a picture of him and Pam, he looked almost shy. I’m the one who should have been terrified, though. Imagine, amateur photographer me taking a photo of a world-famous photographer like Ken Duncan.

I’d brought several cassette tapes of my music to give them, and they gave me a copy of one of Ken’s books. More than a fair trade!

Pam also gave me one of her business cards, and it’s unreal! It actually features the whole of one of Ken’s most exciting ocean photos. I never fail to marvel that it could be reduced to something that size without losing its effectiveness.

Ken has another gallery in Sydney relatively close to the Opera House. I’ve enjoyed several visits there over the years, reminiscing about meeting Ken and Pam and–of course–buying more of his pictures.

This poor gal didn’t get to tell me no photos were allowed until I’d already snapped this one. I assured her no one would be able to copy and steal any of Ken’s work from that picture.

SydneyGallery

What about you? Have you ever met someone you consider a celebrity, even though he or she might not be considered one by just everyone? How about sharing a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger