The Morning After…a Walk Along the Beach.

“You see but your shadow when you turn your back to the sun.

Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

Last night, as we watched the full moon rise over a sprawling landscape of twinkling lights, I felt such a mixture of hope and dread, like you do when, for whatever reason, you become intensely conscious transience. As much as you desperately try to hold onto the known, the familiar, the beloved; you know your efforts are futile. Change is in the wind and you’re losing your grip. Like that mysterious world at the top of Enid Blyton’s: The Magic Faraway Tree, you don’t know what’s coming next. Whether it’s better or worse, or just different. All you know is that you can’t turn back. That door is shut. Indeed, it’s so firmly shut it’s like that world never even existed and has escaped to the realms of dreams, legend…fantasy even.

I AM FOREVER walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and the shore will remain

Kahlil Gibran, Sand & Foam

Even though I’ve conquered many hurdles, especially in relation to my health, I’m definitely no Captain Courageous. Oh no! I can withdraw inside my cocoon just as much as the next person but I’m also starting to figure out what works for me and that if I don’t want to wallow in the mud, there are things I can do to lift myself out.

When you lose something precious, it is all too easy to forget what you still have. What is left. It’s understandable that I’m upset about losing our escape hatch at Palm Beach but we actually live 700 metres away from the beach, an absolutely smashing beach. Umina Beach fronts onto Broken Bay, just North of Sydney and has a postcard view of Lion Island, Pittwater and across to Palm Beach. Indeed, I can even wave to the Palm Beach Lighthouse and I swear that sometimes it even waves back.

Walking, I find, is also very good for clearing out the soul and after several weeks of rain, the sun returned yesterday and gave another encore performance today. Knowing that Winter is just around the corner, I’m grabbing these sunny days with both feet and getting out to the beach…carpe diem: seize the day!

Wally the Wandering Wombat and Ernie at the beach. But where's Bert?

Wally the Wandering Wombat and Ernie at the beach. But where’s Bert?

So after school drop off this morning, I went down to Umina Beach not only for a walk but to do a photo shoot.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been involved in a project to promote awareness of my auto-immune disease which involves photographing Wally the Wombat whose wanderings from the UK and around Australia are being well-documented. Dermatomyositis can affect children as well so I headed off to the beach to photograph Wally with Ernie from Sesame Street.

Memorial to the lives lost in the Christchurch Earthquake. On the 3rd anniversary of the earthquake, a single red carnation on each chair in remembrance of all those who died. Photo: Joyce Majendie

Memorial to the lives lost in the Christchurch Earthquake. On the 3rd anniversary of the earthquake, a single red carnation on each chair in remembrance of all those who died. Photo: Joyce Majendie

I also took along a cane chair.

I am currently putting together a farewell to Palm Beach series based on the image of the empty chair. The empty chair has been used to symbolise loss and grief in various works and Geoff Le Pard reminded me of that when he told me about a memorial to the victims of the Christchurch earthquakes called 185 Empty White Chairs with a chair to represent each person who died in the quake. I Googled it and was quite moved by the memorial and loved how they’ve used such an eclectic array of chairs, including a wheelchair, which have all been painted white. It was very evocative.

Vincent Van Gogh:

Vincent Van Gogh: “Van Gogh’s Chair 1888”

So here’s to new beginnings…I think! That and being thankful for all that we do have, even at timesof loss and transition when it’s so easy to forget.

xx Rowena

Umina Beach looking across to Lion Island and Palm Beach.

Umina Beach looking across to Lion Island and Palm Beach.

Chair and foam

Chair and foam

The tide shows no respect for what's been left upon the shore.

The tide shows no respect for what’s been left upon the shore.

10 thoughts on “The Morning After…a Walk Along the Beach.

  1. Ali Isaac

    A beautiful, thoughtful and thought provoking post, Rowena! That beach looks amazing. There is something liberating about the endless motion of the rolling sea, the vastness of space and light, the roar and rasp of the waves on the sand… our lakes are beautiful, but I miss that.

  2. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Monika. It’s actually a kid’s chair and great size for fitting in the boot. Another one of my op shop finds. By the way, I’ve banned myself from op shops for awhile, Sadly, I can not fit the universe in our house. xx Rowena

  3. roweeee Post author

    Yes, I certainly appreciate that sense of space. Our house is packed to the rafters, especially at the moment with furniture and my op shop finds returning from Palm Beach. There’s barely room for me to play my violin and stretch my bow xx Rowena

  4. Ali Isaac

    Well you must make space for playing that violin!!! Music is soooo important to our wellbeing. I believe that, after seeing my daughter’s reaction to it. She cant walk or talk, but she ADORES music… she would love to hear your violin playing!

  5. roweeee Post author

    I’ll try to find a recording of my ensemble playing an Irish song. I’ve forgotten the name of it at the moment. There’a actually a guy from Cork City in our Ensemble.
    The violin playing has really helped me improve my neural pathways. I’ve been playing with the ensemble for 3 years and I’m now noticing that I can play while listening to the other players. Given my hydrocephalus, that’s quite a breakthrough. Given your daughter a hug from me. xx Rowena

  6. Ali Isaac

    Gosh that’s wonderful! I always believed there was healing in music. She loves her hugs, so I’ll pass yours on, thank you!

  7. Minuscule Moments

    Rowena a wave of change is rolling in and there is no stopping it, we must embrace it. Enjoyed your photos and I am enjoying these warmer days too. Soon we will be wrapped up in beanies and big coats down here. Happy Mothers Day for tomorrow.

  8. roweeee Post author

    Hope you had a great day today. OUr MOther’s Day was quite unconventional as we had my cousin’s wedding in the Hunter Valley and we saw my parents last night. Well, that was without the kids so we’ll be doing Mother’s Day with Mum on Wednesday. Goeff and the kids made us pancakes for lunch and while the process was a bit painful and my recipe writing kids proved cryptic at best, they turned out well and we had fun. I’ll be posting some photos shortly xx Rowena

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