09 August 2013

a life less ordinary // keeping it real

I have just arrived home, nerves afire, wide-eyed and bone-shaking after the scariest drive of my life.

Up the Eastern Beach, in the seaspray dark, on a rapidly incoming tide, the black ocean licking our wheels, invisible drop-offs at our side, the creeks surging around us and the soft, wet sand dissolving beneath us, threatening to swallow us if we don't keep moving. 

Me at the wheel, my first real dark, dark night drive, because I missed a boat (but got lucky - there was an extra return today!) and need to get home.

And in the dark, it's an inexact science of tide heights, times, beach and weather conditions and a fair thwhack of guesswork.

I was lucky to have K on the radio at home talking me through it.

When we finally arrived home, there were chunks of sand in the wheels.

Nobody really gets the impossibility of living in this beautiful, crazy outpost.

What it takes.

A 12-hour return trip for a blood test (me today) // emergency physio (K yesterday). With little down time, because it's also a chance to replace the number plates that were stolen. And find screws to fit. After you call the RACQ to get the car-that-won't-start going, and convince them you're legit despite the lack of number plates and our failure to update our details when we replaced the plates six months ago - oops. Throw in a police chase because you're driving (without number plates) to catch a boat. Add some serious pain. Yep, K is having a really awful birthday week.

Can you tell we've had two really crap days involving two separate, trying, perilous pilgrimages to the mainland? 

We're lucky, so lucky to live where we do.

But sometimes, it just bloody does our heads in.

We watch sunsets soak their watercolour glow into complete horizons.
There is sand through our house and often in the bed.

Our small boy chases pelicans and dabbles on the shoreline.
Our cars are being eaten alive by rust.

We don't come within a credit card zap zone of a shop for a month.
But then spend several whole days doing nothing but.

We don't have to deal with traffic or pollution - except after a storm when we get half of south-east-Asia's rubbish on our eastern shore.
But don't have playgroups or playgrounds, doctors or libraries, supermarkets or swimming lessons.

I am so lucky to be able to mix paid work and child-raising comparatively seamlessly, mostly without commute and with the flexibility to be there when I am needed.
Did I mention there is often sand in my bed?

I yearn for a simpler life, yet this life less ordinary is complicated.

And I am so, so happy to be home.


Female Relic said...

Gosh Sam - that makes getting a base off-isle sound very inviting! Hope you don't have to go through that experience again any time soon. Did the off-isle car situation clarify itself correctly in the end? Lastly, how is poor old K going - his back again I assume? Love to you all,

Emma Elliott said...

Sounds like a awful few days you had hectic to say the least hope the.next few are bliss xxxx from.the uk :-)

Anonymous said...

I have so much trouble even comprehending this Sam! I take for granted the dash to the shops at 5pm when I've forgotten something, etc. Your life sounds magical, though I imagine not without hardships. I've come to the conclusion there is no such thing as a simple life, no matter which path you choose. I hope you have recovered from a stressful few days and you're back to enjoying the sun, sand, ocean and family xxxxx

little earth stories said...

Thanks all.

Female Relic - It does! The city car got fixed (though it was the second call out to the RACQ in as many weeks).

K is hopefully getting better after inhaling a woodchip (chainsawing) which set off a pre-existing jaw issue. Love back to you all. xxxx

Emma - thank you! xx

Motherwho - I totally agree, no matter how simply you live, or how great your life appears, everyone still has stresses in their life. We are recovering and hoping for a better week! xxxxx

Jane George said...

love this and can relate to your sentiment even though my situation is very different! My eldest daughter has a very very rare syndrome, smith magenis syndrome and our life less ordinary too is a heady mix of magic and do your head in challenge! your drive sounds like an epic adventure of film worthy status, only great to listen to after we know the ending was happy! Hold onto the circle my lovely girl in the tough bits, it always always rolls round to magic again xxxx (by the way so happy to find you!!!!) x

Airstream Family said...

Incredibly well described. For a second I could picture the panic you must have felt as the wet sand dissolved beneath your wheels. I seem to be collecting people who are living the dream and pursuing simple lives, the reality is always harder than any of us realise. but i promise you, playgrounds and playgrounds are just boredom fillers. You are offering your son a magical experience x