The Waiting

Flowering light © Anna Sublet

Morning walk. I wake too late to do my nature writing workshop so I decide to get out into nature instead! Head off at about 7 am, sustained on half a cup of hot water with lemon, a banana and a snack KitKat.

Make it to the backbeach in time to see the gold coming up from behind the sand dunes, flowering light from the lighthouse.

Tiny black and white wren on the rocks, the Plover family just foraging. A heavy gull takes off when I approach. It flies past me, sits and waits, and flies back as it senses I’m no danger. I take photos and slow-mo videos. I can hardly make out the flying birds as they rise into the dark clouds.

I keep stopping to look at things. At one point I lie with my back in the sand on the edge of the dunes. All around the waves continue coming in and the birds call. What would I do without this?

At the lighthouse, Galahs wheel and screech, their pink bellies exposed as they fly above me. A couple fall behind, screeching ‘wait for me, wait for me!’

Further around the corner to the pier, there’s the glistening seagull perched on the rail, and beyond, the silhouette of Queenscliff with the grey and white light of the morning. I see the pilot boat go out with a thrill of anticipation–is it bringing in the ship on the horizon or is there one about to come through from within the bay? I’ll have to wait and see.

Wait for me.

The swell is building in lines and I listen to the waves hitting the shore. A magpie perches on a fence, its partner at ground level in the foliage. I’m pretty sure it will sing for me if I wait.

I’ll wait.

I do my burdle durdle dup and say hello, take off my sunglasses, give it a look at my face. I spend a few minutes there with the magpie singing as the sun comes out and flares on its feathers. It hops down and disappears over the edge of the cliff, following its mate.

Then I notice the ship powering in by steam. It’s coming in past the end of the pier. Smoke propels the large ship towards a tiny sailing boat–it looks like they’re going to collide. I’ve taken about 100 photos this morning, a few in Silvertone, for the gleam. This scene, these Heads, this embracing aspect of the ocean and bay–this is what I held onto during radiation treatment–the lift and release of the waves.

Rip view © Anna Sublet

As I stand at the Ripview car park I think:

‘This would be the view I’d like to see if I were no longer able to get myself around. Bring me up here and show me the Heads, show me the light in the morning.’

Wait for me, world.

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Walking home carrying vanilla pods, thickened cream and a big packet of sugar; going home to poach quinces. As I pass the Lighthouse Arts Collective, I bend down and take myself some sprigs of rosemary and as I head towards home I think ‘this would be a life that made more sense’. Collecting seasonal stuff and cooking it, inviting friends around. Sharing discoveries, taking the time to observe, draw, write. Being less stressed, being more open, being more generous.

Can I keep sane in the city? Do I really want to be living in the house surrounded by the urban jungle people? Could I move down here, half move down here, half live in Melbourne? How much longer do we all have to live? How much longer do we sacrifice wellbeing? Maybe I could then feel the real me, like in Melissa Manning’s Smokehouse–to have a skin she really feels, the woman jumps into cold water, and connects with her true self.

Wait for me!

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Whirling birds © Anna Sublet

© Anna Sublet, April 2021, Pt Lonsdale

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Anna Sublet

Curious reader and undercover scribbler. Published in The Guardian, The Age, Australian Traveller, Footy Almanac, The New York Times.