Locked down, and perhaps about to be locked down even more securely, it seems more important than ever to focus on what’s right in front of you. As Victoria struggles to bring down the number of Coronavirus cases I’m grateful that I can still walk by the seaside and, through my mask, take in the shape of the world.
I’ve always been interested in the look of water from above; looking down into it from Avon, impenetrable mostly. I saw an exhibition of Roni Horn’s photography and bought a copy of Another Water,photographs looking down into the Thames.
My little vignettes were taken on an afternoon walk near Mornington Pier this week after work. It was a beautiful winter day with so much to look at, but on this walk it was the textures on the water that attracted my interest: the differences between the two sides of the pier, the little swirls and swells of energy pulsing across the shallow sand, the sense of depth and cold with even the sun swirling on the water. I suggest watching them full-scree, on repeat! Shut out today’s news.
One of the nicer things about winter is the lack of crowds. Another is the bay on cold, still mornings where it seems to be in hibernation, breathing lightly. This morning the faintest of pulse-like wavelets, arriving on an island of sand at low tide, and wrapping their energy gently around them.
I stood there for a while, filming it, and taking it in.
A friend of mine bought a drone and too me out flying it, setting up dual controls. He flew, and I took some photos. I was interested in the change of perspective, of seeing this familiar coastal strip from a different angle. Here’s footage, flying towards Bird Rock, where I’ve spent many summer afternoons. It was a clear winter day and the water was so clear.
There’s much to be said, and has been written, about the virtues of walking in nature. I’ve written about it myself, read about walking, and it’s something that I’ve always connected with writing.
This holiday break I spent a few days walking sections of the Great South West Walk, a trail in south-west Victoria that’s been developed over the last twenty years. We walked bits of it, day-walks and nothing too arduous, but memorable nevertheless.
Two things resonate me now that I’m back at home: the site of an wedge-tailed eagle making its way along the dune-line. We stopped and watched for whole minutes. There’s a poem coming, though I doubt I can outdo Hopkins’s The Windhover, which was in my mind over and over as I watched.
And, the long walk along the wild ocean beach of Discovery Bay. In the distance the sky was getting black and blacker, surely a storm was coming, and the white of the surf became almost luminous. In four hours on the beach we saw no other human beings.