Intense blues walking above Hawker Beach early this morning. There’s a strong offshore blowing and, beyond the shelter of the shoreline, I see the swirls of wind on the water in sprays and eddies, like watercolour paint booms, the sheoak in the foreground.
Another moment of stillness and calm beauty. Two swallows circling around the little jetty that juts out into the Estuary. I’m nearly finished a longish poem about a journey up the estuary and the beauty of all that, but I doubt I’ll capture that as well as the swallows did this morning.
It’s been a recurring thread for me in my writing and thinking: the idea that there are things hidden or buried, or forgotten and still intact beneath the surface of things. It’s there in some of my earliest writing, the very title of my first collection, Lost Things, and in images like the abandoned picnic place, the lost highway, Atlantis etc.
So, of course I’d be fascinated to see, last Friday when I walked to the beach after a busy week at work, the fragments and wreckage of past structures that had emerged over the winter at my local beach.
I’d seen glimpses of early constructions before; perhaps a pier, or foundations for a jetty of some kind, but nothing like these full and intact structures that had been beneath my feet all along, all these years.
I took these photos to preserve them, before they’re buried again.
I’ve been looking at ways of presenting text online in more interesting or diverse ways. Nothing wrong with black text on a white page, but nice also to think of other ways to present and share text, with images as well. This is a new poem, using the app Adobe Spark I would have liked an embed within the blog, but the image below, which I found on Flickr, links to the poem and image as hosted on the Adobe site.
Went for a walk down to look at the bay after work tonight, with a strong easterly blowing almost straight offshore from the cliffs, making the bay look cold and blue, like metal, and swirling, eddying shapes on the water as the wind rushed over the cliff where I stood.
There was a boat anchored just offshore, just where the wind would have felt a little uncontrollable, and nobody seemed to be in it. Maybe they were diving off it.
Then, walking back, I was struck by the wind high in the gum tree and the sounds the wind made as it filtered through the leaves. I took some videos on my phone and put them together.
There may even be a poem in it.
I’ve always been fascinated by those places that time and history has passed by: Industrial archaeology, the stone circles of Celtic Europe, or the smaller, more intimate places, derelict houses or picnic places that have been by bypassed and abandoned.
Near where I live, and cycle regularly, there is a short stretch of the highway that was diverted off perhaps thirty years ago now and replaced by a newer streamlined bit of more modern cornering. The original stretch of highway, that we used to travel on as kids, maybe 400 metres or so long, was just cut off and left to grow over.
Sometimes, riding in the area, I like to take that old detour and explore that old niche. Included in the off-cut was a roadside picnic table and stools, now being overgrown in grass and emerging saplings. Here, I like to think, families would pause in their travels, unpack a thermos and some sandwiches and take a rest. I blogged about it already in 2011 in a post about The Lost Highway.
It’s still falling apart gently. And, I was reminded of it recently when I saw a recent article on WebUrbanist about 150 Vanishing US Rest Stops, which a photographer had been documenting. An admirable project I thought. I heartily approve.
Below, another photos I’ve taken over the years on that theme, a drawing and a poem too. Seems that these ideas keep bubbling up in lots of versions.
These families with their picnic baskets,
their kids weightless on the swings
legs flashing in the sun,
think they invented this place,
think they found this place near the bridge
by the estuary where the creek flows into the sea.
They think they found this place this summer evening,
but we were there.
I walk from the swings and the families,
their wine glasses and picnic plates
their kids racing to the jetty,
the last sun shining in their hair,
someone putting on a jumper against the cold.
Up ahead, up river somewhere,
I can hear the beating of wings.
Top: Picnic spot, near Mildura, VIC. Photo: Warrick
Middle: Abandoned picnic spot on ‘the lost highway’, Mt Martha Photo: Warrick
Bottom; Picnic table, iPad drawing. Warrick
I’ve spent the last five weeks or so travelling, in England and Scotland mainly, doing lots of walking, thinking and some writing. The walking has helped a lot, even though I’ve come back with a sore knee which I think was due to all the steps on Arhur’s Seat.
I’ll post some more about this later, but the two most memorable places for me were the Lake District, with its wonderful walking and Wordsworth connections and Skye (see below) for the sheer beauty of the landscape.
Walking in nature is refreshing, reviving, consoling and inspiring. And, even if it makes your legs sore, or because it does, so so important.