Spring is arriving in Queensland. It’s a beautiful thing.
Two weekends ago, Rick, me, and seven other friends packed up and went to Stradbroke Island for the weekend. It was the first beach weekend following the winter. It was absolutely gorgeous too. There were prefect gentle breaking waves – Rick and I both got out for a surf and we got a few of our friends up and surfing for the first time. We saw some dolphins while we were out on the water, we saw several whales, a few turtles, a few kangaroos. It was magical.
It’s taken me some time to embrace beach culture. And, when the sun is high in the sky, I maintain (as I told Rick early in our time here) that the sun is a “fiery, orb of death” and I will not venture out from my shade tent without protection. But, I must admit the beach has worked a little bit of voodoo on me. I really do enjoy it. The salt and sun, and the feel of traversing wet sand with warm waves breaking at your feet, the breeze without a hint of chill – it’s magical.
Perhaps I’m savoring it now more than ever with the realization that this may be the last of my beach days. Though job prospects in California may pull me in that direction, I’m just not sure it’s what I (or we) want. So, I’m soaking it all in – literally. Forgetting to protect myself from tan lines, swimming in the waves, immersing myself in the sand and salt. This lifestyle is one I never would have asked for, but I have grown to love it. It is so gentle and peaceful. It’s slow. It’s relaxing. It brings me to a state of of tranquility that I don’t often find for myself.
I’ve always identified with deep woods, with rivers, with sunsets on piney-shored lakes. I’ve learned to expand my horizons to mountains. But I never anticipated I would become a lover of the beach. Maybe a cold beach or a rugged shoreline. But not a hot, sun-soaked beach. Australia, you’ve changed me.
Laying in the shaded rocks at the edge of the sand last weekend, watching families and dogs play in the surf, pulling beers from our esky (that’s a cooler for the folks at home) after a surf, it finally hit me that this has become something I love. I love strapping our surfboards (MY surfboard – my very own longboard) to our car, and treking to some point
break where we can ride some gentle breakers in relative peace. I love the beach trips we take to Noosa, to Byron, to Coff’s Harbour, or hell even to Manly (in a few weeks) or Bali. These are places I’d never anticipated loving the way I now do. I’m so glad that this door was opened for me, that the beach stole my heart.
Each day (of our last) here in Australia I feel pangs for the life we’re leaving. I haven’t loved every moment here, true. But this is a life that I know I will look back on fondly, and I am so glad that I’ve awakened a passion for this beach life in myself. I know that Rick and I will always have a stronger drive to make our way to beautiful oceanscapes going forward, but they probably will never have a the hold on my heart that Australian beaches will.