I: Potato Point beach
Does it never finish yielding treasures, this beach of mine? To start with, a cattle dog, a white fluffy dog and a greyhound. Their human, noticing my delighted smile, says “They’re a weird mob, eh?”
The creek is now dry as far as the bridge. We walk across sand where once we had to wade, past fallen banksia cones and escapee daisies.
The beach curves invitingly, under a blue sky and clouds tinged with grey. The water doesn’t numb our bare feet: but it doesn’t exactly invite us to plunge in either.
The sand shows through stranded transparent jellies; more assemblages, this time of rocks and shells; more shells, in sets of three and in singular glory; seaweed adding orangey-pink to the beach palette.
At the northern end of the beach, shells have been placed in niches: some have been casually placed, some carefully for aesthetics; some, the ones higher up, hint at a competitive edge to shell placement. There too, I’m drawn to sets of three.
Driving past the flat beside the creek we watch kangaroos grazing, shaping up to each other, posing assertively.
II: Bingie to Grey Rocks
This is not unfamiliar beach or bush. We’ve traversed it many times. Our main goal this time is to revisit one bit of local geology that is very well documented to refresh the geological urge. It’s been a struggle to dredge up tonalite / rhyolite / diorite / dacite – the words, let alone what they refer to – after a lacuna of nearly a year. As it happens we don’t get out onto the rocks, but we do establish an intention.
The beach is soft and steep, not friendly to aging knees, so we walk along the Dreaming Track behind the dunes, past a sentinel dead tree. There the chill in the air is subdued to T-shirt warmth. Recent rainfall, although minimal, has done a good job of refreshing moss to a vivid green and encouraging a few fungi. A recent fallen casuarina reveals vivid inner bark at the breaking point.
Kelly’s Lake is in retreat from the drought, and a massive sandbar blocks its way to the sea, although, come to think of it, I’ve never seen the lake open. Joe pointed out hollows in the sand under shallow water: nests for sleeping fish he assured me.
We plod across soft sand to the sea, which is leaving a tideline well-marked with greasy khaki bubbles containing a sparkle: something spawning?
We reach the grey rocks, and there I begin my geological resurrection as I recognise tonalite spotted with darker grey xenoliths, and wonder if all the separated shapes were the result of spheroidal weathering. Slowly it’s coming back.
By the time we get back to the car all I want to do is sit in my beach chair, shake the sand out of my shoes, and contemplate the view, while ants I’ve disturbed scurry around my feet.
III: Snaffling flowers round the ‘hood
IV: A misty morning on Spud
After a few slug days and a sit-heavy meal of sausages – longed for, but never satisfactory – I lurch out of bed and into the morning mist. It rained overnight: the casuarinas are twinkling with raindrops, and the beach is pock-marked. There is evidence of high seas – a ridge of sand and a density of pebbles and shells scoured out from the undersand.
Maisie, a large black dog, bounds up to me through the mist and sits, hoping for a treat. Unfortunately, I’m empty-handed.
I collect (photographically) shells; seaweed; seaweed necklaces; and rock pools.
Crabs have been busy in what was once the bed of the creek: little piles of sand-pellets near a tunnel opening reveal the blackness once they dig down.
V: Pathway, Dalmeny
I’m prompted to walk here by a snippet in the Eurobodalla Shire Council newsletter. It reports that grassy headlands at Duesburys Point and Kianga, created by centuries of indigenous management by burning and now under threat, are returning to native vegetation (mainly kangaroo grass) as Aboriginal practices are revived. It’s an area where extensive middens and burial sites indicate long habitation by Indigenous people.
I find I’m walking in a memorial avenue commemorating battles in which Australians fought during World War 1: Gallipoli, the Somme, Megiddo, Beersheba in the stretch I walk.
Then of course there are the pleasures of the scenery, especially, but not only, the clouds.
And a small mystery. Why has someone embedded a marble in the path?