It’s spring and with this lovely season comes the bonus of day light savings. How wonderful to think that every day from now until April 2019, a rebellious sun will defy its own bedtime to linger longer in these beautiful Newcastle skies.
It has been an exhausting few weeks which accounts for my tardiness in writing this post. I have been distracted and made somewhat distant by things designed to break your heart in a thousand tiny ways. Perhaps I take too much time trying to make sense of my world knowing I am often looking for explanation where there is none. Yet amongst the chaos and uncertainty, there have been some wonderful moments of kindness, a few short road trips, the deeply bonded gift of lasting friendships more precious to me than all the stars in the darkest of nights, plans afoot and ocean waves. Procrastination and inspiration it seems, make for strange bedfellows!
There is difficulty in acknowledging I have also been a little stressed of late. I have come to realise though, it is not the stress which is most wounding but my reaction to it so given this, I have taken to drinking water laced with apple cider vinegar shotted with turmeric and ginger along with green smoothies. They are by no means pleasant elixir’s, but learning to be a responsible adult by looking after oneself and eating healthily is ………all well and good until it hits 10 pm and there’s no gin or dark chocolate left in the house!
I know my best does not come easily. It takes an awful lot of work yet I still very often fail spectacularly when it comes to looking after myself. There is no pride in saying that, its just the hand I have been dealt just as it is no secret that I often make poor decisions (some nutritional and many under the influence of gin) when what I really need do is permit myself a little self compassion. Such a simple desire but as with most things, it is easier said than done but I’m working on it.
Occasionally when I post my photos, I am immediately transported back to the early 70’s. Sharing my photos reminds me of a time when a relative or family friend who had just returned from an exotic holiday (and yes, Surfers Paradise was a wildly exotic destination in the 60’s and 70’s!) would turn up in the evening with a projector under one arm and small rectangle boxes filled with Kodachrome slides in the other.
There is no doubt many of these nostalgic old images have been lost forever yet I still remember that large bulbous glass lens so hot to the touch, those tiny coloured slides, the whirr of the projector and the beam of light which I always thought was made of stardust. Little did I know back then, the gossamer haze which fascinated me so was nothing more than dust particles floating in a beam of artificial light. But one can dream a little when you are lost to a more innocent time of abandon.
A collection of slides, the precious ghosts of someone else’s memories…….
I woke early one morning, grabbed my nipper board and underwater camera and headed up to Seal Rocks, a small coastal settlement on the mid north coast of New South Wales. Surrounded by state forest, Seal Rocks is little more than a scattering of houses and a stunningly beautiful beach. Unpretentious, this spectacular part of the world is achingly beautiful and somewhat isolated which is why I love being there.
And on this day, as luck happens, the beach was completely deserted………..with the exception of a few locals.
This was one of those near perfect days where the aquamarine water shimmered with sunlight and schools of small fish. While sitting out on my board lost in thought and watching for distant whale spouts, a fin, not half a metre from the front of my board sliced through the calm. My heart raced like that of small deer and momentarily I wished I had worn a brown wet suit, then a pod of exquisitely winsome creatures broke the surface………
I think I reeled off about one hundred and one photos in the space of a couple of seconds but these gentle creatures were far to quick for the old cameras aperture. I slipped from my board and dived deeply to watch these most beautiful of aquatic mammals swim above me and then as quickly as they had appeared…….. they were gone.
I climbed back on my board and wonder-stuck, just lay there. As the wind began to pick up and the chop gathered I turned and paddled back to shore. After dragging the nipper up the sand, I stripped out of my wetsuit and stood for a while letting the warm sun flood my soul and dry my hair.
This is about as close to a selfie as you are ever going to see of me…….x
Dry and happy and in search of coffee, I walked up the pot-holed gravelly road to the small general-store-come-post-office located near the headland. I could not smell that unmistakable aroma of freshly ground beans and once inside, could see no espresso machine. I skulked around looking at the kitch on sale, flicked through a local tide book and tried to find a best before date on a packet of twisties before casually asking the woman behind the counter if they served coffee.
She looked up from the paper, slid her readers to the end of her nose and eyeballed me with a death stare to rival Julie Bishop. Suddenly, I felt as though I was standing before the most priggish librarian ever imaginable while holding a stack of trashy Mills and Boon and asking if she knew who wrote Pride and Prejudice!!
I took her reaction to be a resounding NO! on the coffee front. I said something off the cuff which actually made her laugh and just as I was about to leave the store, she offered me a cup of instant. I wandered across the road and sat on the grassy knoll of the headland nursing my mug of graciously accepted Pablo thinking how lucky I was to be in this place which I loved so much it actually hurt my heart. My alone time, sitting on that greenest of grass was nourishing and I have to say the coffee was also pretty darn good although I am still not sure if was the coffee itself or the location.
How’s that for feigning charming ignorance! Of course it was the coffee……. 🙂
Buoyed by the strong bitter brew, I started on a walk up to the Sugarloaf Lighthouse. Constructed in 1875, this magnificent structure standing watch over the Pacific Ocean, is the perfect place to watch for migrating whales. I often crave the silence of solitary walks and the walk to the lighthouse, on a track which winds around She-Oak, Black Wattles, Gymea Lily and towering Gums, resonated like a tuning fork with me as all was blissfully quiet save for the occasional call of the Green Catbird.
Once at the lighthouse, life takes on an ordered simplicity. Everything is white, neat and deeply tranquil. These buildings are not just dazzling white plaster, glass and wrought iron as each building, beautifully preserved, has a story of humanity attached to them.
I enjoyed this day so much. It was one of those ‘spur of the moment’ days where everything just seemed so perfect in its allowance of me to not lose perspective over how truly fortunate I really am.
Possibly my most favorite sign ever! Oh be still my aging childless hipster heart…….
This is just a little of what happened on this precious day and how wonderful the dolphins, you will have to imagine for yourself. Leaving Seal Rocks was difficult and I won’t pretend otherwise but believe me when I say it is one of the best places on earth. Just watch for old girls and spunk rats and for the love of Pete, don’t ask for coffee.
Footnote: This was my 155th published post. Who would have thought……..xx