You may have noticed. The whinge about Easter and repeated failed attempts to get out of the city. The tendency to bang on about work. And salivate over other people's travel. Yep. I've got cabin fever. Good and proper. Despite the hellish pace at work over the past few weeks - I have had novelty punching bags delivered to my desk by colleagues who appear above the partition sporting worried ‘appease the wildebeest’ faces... at day’s end I go into a coma on the couch at nana o’clock, waking like a drugged automaton amid mysterious puddles of drool - I've been rampantly bored at desk. Crafting the same old word widgets. Dancing the same old jigs for clients. I've become a very industrious, obedient, purposeful ant. Scurrying to and from the nest, busily occupied with nation building, in exchange for the daily dispense of crumbs. I've become one wired little wage zombie. With little space for much else.
Last weekend I finally let a little light in. I woke late, grabbed food, notebook and music and fled like a possessed survivalist, driving two hours to Alexandria Beach. Stunning blue day. Salt. Sun. Little breeze. I walked in the back way, through my favourite snatch of coastal heath. Womping great banksias, pale yellow, lime, amber, umber, bronze and char. Prostrate ‘birthday present’ plants with leaves clumped like birdsnests of finely spliced ribbon. Skirted grasstrees which shimmy amongst lush green drenchings of shade. Lolloping saw-toothed palms threaten to fold in on themselves. And all of it leaning landward, as if receiving a secret. Straining to hear above the din of the shore.
On the beach I sit. I eat. I want to swim but my body yawns so I lay in the dunes. Then walk. And walk. I breathe it all in and try and hold it. I think of the plant I keep on my desk who I call ‘Sol’ to remind me of mine. And marvel at why the forgetting always happens so quick.
Suddenly the sand beneath my feet is not white anymore, it’s black. Stained with oil. The shit of life has its claws on everything. Even this sunny little sweep of beach in all its unfettered nudie joy. A little tear appears in my renewal. Two young guys are sticking their toes into the slick, looking, maybe wondering. And I wonder too, how long it will take for this forgetting to happen, for the miles of beaches to forget. And recover. I'm sure it will be longer than it takes for Us, probably already coveting the next shiny (imported?) widget and jumping in cars for the next long weekend.