My oldest daughter - not yet a teenager and already she looks so much like a woman. She's too little to look so grown up - I remember my teens, I think on all the things I read about the teen world today and I want to beg her to wait, stay small, stay protected. The world is so big and so unkind, but I know there's no point, and instead I'm just proud that she is so much herself, that she is independent and assertive, determined and fiercely loyal.
And yes, still some times she looks like the little one she really is.
On the beach I think of as home, there's a rocky outcrop on the closest side of the bay, that's called the Point. Along the back of the Point are a series of rockpools only exposed at low tide, small spaces of calm, little worlds protected by sandstone from the wilder waters of Bass Strait. (Which yet is not as wild as the waters beyond Bass Strait.)
Exploring rock pools is something that should be a right of childhood - there's something so deeply meditative, peaceful and yet rewarding about the slow exploration.
Time moves differently with the sound of the waves breaking surrounding, the feel of the water, sand, of seaweed underfoot, the excitement of the discovery of a favourite shell, a crab, an anemone, a washed up jellyfish. Very occasionally there are penguins, far from home, seals, dolphins, a whale far out to sea. Once as we swam in one of the sheltered inlets a group of rays came to greet us, the water the intense green before the storm, and then lightning began striking out to sea.
Light plays upon the water, distorting the shells and sand below, the tide constantly changes, the lap and shush of the sea is a constant, and yet within the rock pools, for a time, all is calm, the still surface only slowly reveals the life within - the small fish, the tiny crabs, the shellfish.