Monthly Archives: October 2010

Between sleep and awake

I’m sitting in the car, this time a passenger. The sun warms my arm, pulling me into that state between sleep and awake. Music plays quietly in the background with songs seeming to jump forward or a vague recollection of being listened to. Scenery changes, towns pass in a haze. A sensation of travelling through time and space more enveloping than any other. An awareness of time and motion despite my diminished consciousness that is more complete than sitting, staring, watching the scenery go by.


Collecting Shells

Some of us search for things only to throw them away immediately, others hunt for things to keep.

While walking along the beach the other day (looking for the perfect skimming stone), I had the pleasure of watching my daughter collecting shells. Every shell found had its virtues extolled to me, whether it was a broken shell that had a “beautiful pink” or an ornate shell that looked like a “fairy wing”. The passion and fervour with which she undertook her search at times seemed completely random and others fanatically methodical (absolute proof she is my daughter).

It saddened me to think of how that passion is lost with age. Perhaps it is not lost, just redirected to the business of everyday life. I’d like to think I could redirect my passion into the simpler things. Maybe I already have.

Photos are of Grace and her cousins Mia and Pip enjoying the simple things. Next instalment is between sleep and awake.

Skimming Stones

Lazy days down at the beach in the warm sun. A calm ocean invites you to interrupt its surface with the touch of a smooth flat stone. The search for the perfect stone, round, with two flat smooth surfaces and a curve on it’s edge. Well weighted to keep it flat as it travels through the air, not affected by the wind, not twisting like a leaf tumbling in a gust of wind. The search is as much a part of the process as its return to the ocean. The disbelief when found, how could no one have seen this before? Was this put here just for me? Did the ocean return this just for me to find? Worn smooth and shaped as it tumbles relentlessly across the sand on the ocean floor. Or, is no one else looking? Perhaps this is only my search? Other people throw rocks into the water, other people try bounce them across the surface of the sea. Maybe that’s it, maybe they are just throwing rocks into the water and not skimming stones on the ocean.

Once found, there is the sadness. A perfect skimming stone is there to be returned to the ocean yet I want to keep it, but what good is a collection of skimming stones if not for skimming? It’s true beauty is it’s flight across the surface, touching down briefly, teasing the ocean, as if to say “not here, not yet”. Then, after its momentum is spent, being swallowed up, perhaps for an eternity. Its pleasure over so quickly, sometimes too quickly, prematurely perhaps, certainly disappointingly. However, a perfect release, a flight of potential, the multiple touches with ripples spreading out, a potential realised, a joy experienced, a hope fulfilled, that is the dream. Now a return to the search.

Stay tuned for Collecting Shells.

A Road Well Travelled

It’s time again for the semi-biannual trip to Adelaide. Thirteen years of road trips between Melbourne and Adelaide have become the necessary evil (perhaps evil is a little strong, but I’m currently short on more subtle euphemisms). I should also clarify that the journey and not the destination is the evil. If there was an economically or scientifically feasible method of transporting a family instantaneously from Melbourne to Adelaide we’d happily undertake it on a regular basis (even flying would suffice).
The trip is more an express ride filled with attempts at small child entertainment, punctuated with rest breaks that seem to be increasing in length over recent years. This in itself isn’t a problem, the rest breaks allow a more detailed exploration of small town parks, public toilets and eating options.

Over the years a number of landmarks have come to my attention that now serve the dual purpose of breaking up a relatively boring (scenic wise) trip and gauging our progress.
This is a summary of our most recent expedition across the border to the land of pie floaters (gag), crow eaters (still don’t know the origin of that) and Coopers beer (don’t mention the others, more gag).

A noticeable change this year is the greenery and water in the lakes, this is the first time in over ten years I’ve seen water in both Green and Pink Lakes.

Highways and bypasses also help to speed up the initial stages of the trip (whilst only removing the scenery of Melbourne’s western suburbs).
West of Ballarat are two of my favourite points on the trip, the first being a simple sign that says “To Glue Pot Road” which is located in Cardigan Village, don’t ask me why, I just like the names. Shortly after this you pass through the town of Beaufort. Rachel and I always joke about moving there because we like the name and there are a couple of pretty houses, including this one.

I’m sure the dream is much nicer than reality and the climate is much colder than I care for. It’s still a nice thought though. Here is the rotunda.

Other landmarks include the truly grotesque giant koala (with the gift shop in its bum) at Dadswells Bridge. I’m sure at some point we will be expected to stop there for further investigation. And the string of towns Coonalpyn, Ki Ki, Yumali and Coomandook which for me mark some of the final stages of the journey.

A change of routine had us leaving at midday (never again, let’s just leave it at that). The only advantage of an afternoon departure is driving across country at dusk and into the evening, occasionally making for some beautiful scenery.

Of course with dusk travel comes the millions of insects that are now expired on our bumper and windscreen. Not even a triple blade wiper will clean that (not everything can be that clean Mr. Rock).

After being shot out of the Heysen Tunnels (a down hill roller coaster ride, that always seems steeper than is necessary). Arriving in Adelaide is both a relief and a reminder of how small yet pretty Adelaide is. You just have to block out thoughts of the return trip for several days to help dull the painful memories of the trip over.

Next is Skimming Stones. Hope you enjoy. This was produced using WordPress and Photogene on my iPhone 4.

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