Wednesday, October 5, 2022
I arise before first light to take photos of the sunrise over K'gari and the Sandy Straits.
Before the sun appears, the ground is sharply cold underfoot. There is little sand, but rocks, oyster shells, gravel. Within the water sludge-silt lines the bottom. The clarity of the water is disrupted by my careful footprints and brown rises in clouds.
I am a newcomer to the area, still feel a newcomer to the state. Despite having birthed two kids here, married a Queenslander, lived here for getting on to ten years I still refer to 'you Queenslander' and blink in astonishment at various things.
But here. On the shore. Here, wading in sea, tottering over rocks with my non-balance, questing for falls of light. I belong.
Happiness is the sea.
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
One of our cats died this year.
Back in May, on Mother's Day. My oldest daughter cried inconsolably until midnight. And it's taken me this long to be able to write about it.
It seems odd that a pets death could be so deeply traumatic, but he wasn't old. It wasn't his time. He was only five. Our old house was on the edge of a vicious mouse plague and we lived on the outskirts of town in an elderly house so mice were a problem. We didn't poison, but neighbours did.
We couldn't find Smudge for a few days before I tracked down the smell in the girls bedroom, and found him. From his body he was clearly the victim of snakebite or poison.
Our cats have an enclosure for outdoors, but they are Houdini's, and worked out how to escape under it and how to pull down the zip to the opening. Now, in our new house, we have the enclosure like Fort Knox, and the zip is attached to the wall with two bike clips. When Smiggle comes inside he always prowls around looking for routes to the great outdoors. Now, all our windows have mesh.
We got Smiggle and Smudge from a rescue place in Toowomba, for my oldest daughter's 7th birthday. We thought that the kids surfeit of love might be too much for one cat, so we got brothers. I spent hours searching for descriptions of kittens who were bold and courageous and liked dogs and kids. Oddly, this does not apply to most cats. Smiggle and Smudge were described as cheeky, 3am toe biters. They sounded perfect and we drove the 5 hour round trip to Toowomba to pick them up.
Despite being brothers, they had very different personalities. Smiggle is very much my daughters cat. Smudge loved everyone, including our dog. And he was bold and beautiful and had a deep and wonderful purr and I still miss him so much.
But... it's time. And now I can be glad we had the years we did. But I still miss him. This weekend we're making the long drive to Toowomba for a friend for Smudge. Hours of searching has found our perfect-for-us kitten, at the same pet rescue as before. She and her siblings were found under a car out in Dalby when only a few weeks old. She loves kids and cats and dogs.
At the moment I can't imagine ever loving her as much as Smudge. But that may change.
Goodbye Smudge. Thank you for your years with us. We'll miss you forever.
And they thrive.
Home to so many, unobtrusively shaping the coast, saving the coast, their roots binding against erosion even in the most inhospitable salt-laden environment, they are the unsung heroes.
Mangroves, I salute you.
May I strive to be like you. Indomitable. Resilient. Green and growing. Life sustaining.
Summer is speeding its sweat-soaked, heat-stroked sticky way towards us, but not so many days ago, as I walked the dogs in the early morning (at a decent hour in the winter - none of that ridiculous 4.15am sunrise stuff*) frost hung on each blade of grass, each spiders web, each wayside flower.
And it was heartbreakingly beautiful.
And the air felt perfect at a brisk, invigorating 0c. The dogs were patient as I exclaimed over each frost caught frond and strand, although all to quickly the sun strengthened and the frost melted, leaving dew in its place.
*There is talk Queensland may embrace daylight savings. Yes! A thousand times Yes! I understand that it's not so great for those really out West, or up North, but in this I'm willing to be ruthless. Yes, I am one of those weak southerners clinging as close as affordable to the coast. Up from Mackay can be ceeded to the Northern Territory and west of Chinchilla can be handed over to South Australia.
I've noticed the Northern Territory and South Australia have the distinction of being at the half hour when it comes to time - as in, when its 12am in Sydney its 12.30am in Adelaide. I did not know this until recently.
Anyway, being used to such time oddities I'm sure the locals of the respective states can guide the ex-Queenslanders through any hiccups and the rest of us in the densely populated South East corner can enjoy having sunrise at a decent time, and schools and work starting shortly after sunrise when the day is yet to truly broil up.
Yes. I am panicking at the approach of Summer.