There is something innate in humans which allows us to adapt: to learn to tolerate the unnatural so often it becomes a new natural. Its not about balance; its about coping. It explains why we can wake at 4:00 am and go to work and not see the sun until the afternoon has made it hot and unpleasant. It explains why we can ignore the sunrise and slog away on a treadmill, greeting the new day through the eyes of Karl Steffanovich.
All the more interesting then, when the first sounds you hear are noisy minors in a banksia tree and the second are discarded banksia kernels raining down in dribs and drabs on the hard shell of your caravan … when the first thing than catches your eye are pink wisps high in a pale sky, silently heralding a new day … when the first thing you feel are the cool fingers of a zephyr brushing you bare back.
This is not home.
Within fifteen minutes, Kylie’s beach had gently woken us and we were drinking sensations with our first mouthful of water and engaging in the small talk of lovers who are having a thirty five year conversation.
Shoes in place – Sue’s tied by my hands, practised since Christmas and her inability to bend – we wander to the deserted beach. There were footprints from others but they were mostly gulls and tern and the large, impertinent tracks of four wheel drive vehicles. It was out luck to not see any of them in the half hour we walked and examined found objects. Our entry point was a small bay which ended at Indian Head, less than half a kilometre away. Crowdy Head was far distant to the south. The sea pounded its relentlessness. Gulls took to the air on an ancient breeze which carried tales from where others might have thought were exotic places like Zanzibar but my money was on New Zealand. They would rise and circle, some would even hover but it was too early for fishing and they would abridge their flight plans and return to the beach complaining.
It was better than walking along Edward St listening to music.
Breakfast was nothing special but not every moment of a good day needs to be.
It was Market Day in Laurieton. Sue loves markets. I, in complete contrast, abhor them. Sue believe in the eternal hope of finding a bragable special of such immense value, that her bargain loving sisters would be well beyond green with envy. I, on the other hand, just believe markets are full of crap. However, holidays and overwhelming love allowed me to offer the activity and it was gleefully accepted. Once there, I took off to find coffee and a shady tree and left Sue to her bargains.
After an hour, she arrived at my tree. I had been writing – a poem about markets and the unusually high levels of distain they generate in me – when Sue proudly displayed her great find. A six piece set of tea spoons to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival in Australia … in indigenous parlance, the day the place all went to hell. Only $15! What a steal. Pity they were painted plastic and came with a warning not to use them as part of a tea service.
The produce was good.
So was my coffee.
After the markets we signed in at the Laurieton RSL and had a very pleasant lunch. Sue had seafood, I had the special. At least one of us is trying to pay of the car and caravan. In lunch’s aftermath, we sat by the large windows which overlook the Camden Haven River. In the moments when Sue was away at the bar, shouting drinks, I wondered what the shoreline looked like in the early 1940’s, when Bob Hope landed here after engine trouble with the Catalina that was taking him between troupe engagement. That night, he put on a show for the town out of gratitude and a need for money. A buck is a buck is a buck. We took some time to trash some reputations – none of them ours – as we drank beers and soda water.
A walk seemed like a good idea, so we left the car and did a circuit of the shopping centre.
It didn’t take long. It was Sunday and there isn’t that much retail excitement in Laurieton even on Christmas Eve. Not only that, but a three piece band was drawing us to the pub. A nice chunky but clean sound was churning out covers, most of them sung by the female base player. The guitar playing was slick and professional. The drummer needed to earn more chops but two out of three ain’t bad. Front and centre in the audience were a hard core bikie group – bikie, not bikers. They were crass and a little lewd but I didn’t want to cause them to lose face by correcting them and I didn’t want to lose my face by correcting them either.
We returned to camp having used most of the day, had hot showers from our camp shower and then ate tea under the stars.
Unfortunately, Sue’s back has darkened the horizon. She has gone to bed with tightness again which usually means worse by the morning. At least she can be no more comfortable at home. At least when she walks in the morning, it will be beside the ocean. She feel frustrated but there is little she can do about it.
Showers predicted late tomorrow and for the rest of our time her. More important considerations tomorrow. At 4:30pm tomorrow, we will have been married 35 years … the last ten of that after taking our vows a second time. “I do” has become “we did”. She chose well and I was just plain lucky.