04 March 2012

lighthouse days

We moved here in September last year with our small babe,
two weeks after we brought him home from hospital,
and two weeks before he was due to arrive.

He is now super sized and I've written nothing of our windswept Cape,
our lighthouse cottage or our island home.

And there's a framed note, typed by a little girl who lived here in the 1970s with her two sisters and their dog, Fluffy (!!).
Which got me thinking about writing my own notes
about lighthouse life.

I must start with the views - it's either them or the weather.
Our windows could be paintings hanging on the wall,
ever-changing watercolour daubs of ocean, banksia and sky
and dunes, coastline unfolding south. 

I often stop - mid-laundering, mid-sweeping, mid-whatever - to wonder at the impossibility of such views. 

And how we were ever lucky enough to find ourselves here.

Lately it's been clear enough to see the thin ribbon of beach on the mainland
and the silhouette of the Glasshouse Mountains and Mount Coolum.
From my bed I see trawlers winking in the night.

The weather at the Cape is never dull

Some days equatorial, oppressive with not a whiff of breeze.
On these days you'd never guess that the
muddy splatter on the bathroom ceiling is from the south-easterly forcing rain up through cracks in the louvres.

The wind! It is why our clothesline is inside the house!

It has all kinds of sounds.

Sometimes up in the lighthouse it's like a swarm of bees.

Other times, I'm convinced there's a choir wandering the public track.
And of course there's the plain old howling and whooshing.

We've had bushfires and flooding rain.

There's lots of burnt country now and new lakes in the dunes.

Coastal lagoons appear and fade.

Roads wash away, some by ocean, some by rain.

There are no shops on the Cape, not a thing to buy*.

But horizons and blazing sunsets and the heady expanse of star-mottled sky
Punctured by a steady beam which shines four-in-twenty - how Ocker is that!

Our local is the beach.
More often than not, it's just us and the birds. 

Curlews make me laugh out loud.
Scuttling across our lawn in their stop-start, you-can't-see-me-if-I-don't-move way
And their wail in the twilight. Haunting. Beautiful.

The holes in the lawn were a mystery until one night we spied a bandicoot.
We've had green tree frogs, red bellied-blacks and carpet snakes in our yard.
And whales, egg-laying turtles, dolphins and dugong in the sea below.

Oh, here's the note, published in the Queensland Lone Guide magazine in 1973. Excuse the crappy photograph. Also, excuse the general lack of accompanying photographs... computer issues prevail.

*Actually there really aren't any shops worth entering on the island. There's a crappy general store at the resort where you can get a Magnum that's past it's use-by-date, and a general store at Bulwer, which I've never ventured into but suspect it'd be good for white sliced bread, bait and ice-creams. Our favourite place to buy things is the oyster farm down south.

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