This week has been a stinker in so many ways! The American politics left me speechless and sad and eventually determined. I’ve had another medication increase, which always puts me a little off balance at the start. The Aussie cricketers got thrashed. Then to top it all off – Summer arrived with a vengeance, giving the western suburbs of Brisbane hot, humid days, with temps reaching above 34ºC and the nights only dropping to the low 20’s. All of the above adds up to a stinker, in my book!
So when my friend said that she had to go to a couple of appointments near the sea and would I like to be dropped off at the edge of the ocean to have some cleansing sea time while she went ….. I answered with a resounding yes please! It was just what I needed to clear my head and right the boat. I have done this before and found it a great time to write, think and read. On arrival, I simply sat and breathed in the cooling sea breeze and watched the birds and the sun on the water. But within 5 minutes, I had picked up my pen and was writing ….
I’ve always loved the sea!
As a child, I spent many holidays in a caravan, at the beach. I loved the sun and sand but most of all, I loved the sea. Our days went something like this – breakfast, sunscreen, down to the beach until lunchtime, then more sunscreen, back to the beach until dinnertime. Luckily for ginger haired and freckled faced me, my Mum was ahead of her time when it came to sunscreen application and tee shirt wearing. I was thankful then and even more thankful today.
After dinner we would take the dishes to a community kitchen where washing up would be interspersed with card games, music and chat. Once it was dark, we were not allowed to go down to the beach, so as we got older, it was a snuggle in a blanket in front of the outdoor communal TV. And if it was a really good day, you might actually be snuggling with one of the boys you had meet on the beach!!
I was extremely lucky to have parents that worked long and hard to give us those 2 weeks at the beach. I went every year from when I was 6 years old until I was married at 21 years old. We went to the same beach every year and met up with the same families in the camping ground. Except for the other family we holidayed with, we didn’t see any of the others during the year and so it was fun to catch up with each other and as we all grew up together, holiday romances came and went over the years. We all knew that it would never be more than a 2 week Summer holiday fling but we all had fun, especially if any newbies arrived at the camping ground. It was almost as if – fresh blood!!!
Anyway – back to the sea!
I loved to swim! I was probably under the water more than I was on top of it. But we didn’t only swim. My Uncle Bob made some skim boards for us kids. They were round plywood discs and as soon as the tide went out – there we were, throwing those discs and jumping on and skimming those shallows. Great fun!
Then there was the dingy – row out a fair distance, then fill the boat up with as many swimmers as you could until it sank, then swim into shore dragging the upside down boat behind you until you could reach the bottom ….. then empty the water out and start again! Hours and hours and hours of fun! In the evenings the bait catcher would come out. A plastic container that you filled with bread and threw into the shallow water. All the time holding tightly to the string, as the sprats swirled around you as you stood ankle deep at the edge of the sea.
This usually took place the night before a planned fishing trip out in Uncle Bob’s “big” boat. “Big” because it had a motor!! These trips were not an everyday occurrence for the girls, due to the fact that the men/boys needed to fish most days and I was also prone to seasickness once the boat was anchored for fishing. But there was always time for a cruise around the bay when the men returned and cruising was so much more sexy!!
Our beach had the best rock pools to investigate at low tide. There were also many nooks and crannies in which to steal a kiss with your holiday fling! Of course, there was much carving of initials and hearts into the rocks. I’m sure there is a whole wall detailing my holiday flings from about 1970 to 1980!!
Arkles Bay was the name of my beach. It was a wonderfully safe, family beach. I know that I didn’t really appreciate how lucky I was to be so close to the playground that is the sea. I certainly do now, especially after visiting my son in Berlin earlier this year and realising that the beach should never be taken for granted. To have the freedom to visit the sea whenever I want is truly a blessing.
The air is cleansing near the sea. The salt water is cleansing when you swim in it. The sights and sounds and smells provoke strong memories and soothing thoughts. Thoughts of happiness and family and friends and fun and security and confidence. It is these thoughts that help to refocus me when despair and anger and hopelessness crowd my mind and heart.