Tag Archives: sea gulls

Fish & Chips at Terrigal Beach, Australia.

Yesterday, I stopped off at Terrigal Beach on my way home from an appointment. Terrigal is only about a 30 minute drive away and an hour North of Sydney. Yet, it’s been over a year since I was there last.While we live right near a beach ourselves, Terrigal has its own attractions and I can’t believe we don’t get there more often. Indeed, yesterday was something of a wake up call. An urgent reminder to carpe diem – seize the day.

No doubt, you also know how it is. That it doesn’t matter how close you are to paradise, it somehow passes you by. Not necessarily through any active thought on your part, but more likely through busyness and procrastination, although there’s also plenty of scope for  full-scale avoidance.

Indeed, at the moment, even sticking my head out the back door only an arm’s length away, has slumped into Mission Impossible. Not that I’m depressed, anxious or phobic in anyway. For some reason, I just don’t quite seem able to make it. That is, despite holding Carpe Diem – Seize the day as my personal mantra.

Unfortunately, the reality is often anything but. Indeed, it’s more along the lines of… “Let go of the day. Let it flow away like spilled milk without even raising an eyebrow. There’s an endless supply of sand flowing through the hour glass. Better luck tomorrow. Or, maybe even next week. Or, even the week after that. Don’t rush.”

Sea Squabble

So, I am proud of myself for not only indulging in Fish & Chips from the self-professed “best fish & chips in NSW” (well, there must’ve been some award), but also taking myself for a walk. Getting EXERCISE!!! Indeed, along with all my other doings, I actually managed to clock up a respectable 3,629 steps or 2.4km. Way better than Monday’s 132 steps (must’ve left the phone at home) Or, today’s unimpressive 70 (Yes, I know it’s almost 1.30pm, but I’m still trying to get the motor started).

 

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Looking across to the Fisherman’s Co-op where we used to buy leather jackets when I was a kid.

Anyway, let’s just ignore the bigger picture for a tad, and just focus on yesterday. For anyone who even vaguely knows me, you won’t be surprised that I had my camera with me.  That, also explains why I walked the extra mile. You see, when I’m looking through the lens, I have no idea how far I’ve walked, where I am or even if I’m currently in grave danger. All I see is the shot. Indeed, even if it isn’t a biggy, I’m still seeing and thinking in 6 x 4 and the rest of the world does not exist.

Terrigal beach pano

Terrigal Beach, looking North.

Terrigal was first settled by Europeans in 1826. John Gray, who was the first European settler to the area, called his property Tarrygal, after the indigenous Aboriginal place name, signifying ‘place of little birds’.

4667954221_48c70d0a67_n

Terrigal Beach in the 1970s looking South towards the Skillion.

As a child, our family used to rent a place in Terrigal or nearby Wamberal during the Christmas Summer holidays, when it was a much humbler version of the tourist resort you see today. Indeed, in so many ways, I wish they’d left it alone but there are always those determined to convert a place with such natural beauty into a monument to man.

As I said, I’m pleased that I managed to take this time out to bask in our local environment and although I’m feeling rather inert today, I am feeling the need to get the motor fired up again. The sun is shining. The dogs would be begging for a walk if they weren’t so busy sunning themselves while I’m tapping away indoors like a moron. What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I out there? Especially, when I am so adept at avoiding the To-Do List which, at least in theory, is what’s keeping me here? Indeed, I am so close to being outside, that I could almost fall out of my chair into the sunshine.

Zac in the sun

Zack’s no idiot. He’s not inside on a sunny day. He’s out on his Pooh Bear blanket sunny side up.

Well, to be fair, I have actually been making calls and waiting for replies while I’ve been tapping away here. As most of you will agree, getting even the most simplest thing done, takes multiple steps each with its inevitable snags. Indeed, I’m perfectly justified  for feeling psychologically and physically stonkered (to use one of my Dad’s pet words).

Anyway, before the day completely goes up in smoke, it’s time I disappeared outside and found the sun.

Have you done something similar lately and made the most of where you live?

Best wishes,

Rowena

Inspired By A Living Poet.

Tomorrow, the Annual April A2Z Blogging Challenge blasts off and if you’ve read my theme reveal, you’ll already know that I will be writing: Letters to Dead Poets. Well, have been writing them. While my kids think I’ve finally cracked and this theme is plain “weird”, this journey has had so many twists and turns and to be perfectly honest, I think my head is still lost up a drainpipe somewhere along these explorations.

Anyway, I have one last day to switch gears from the Royal Sydney Easter Show and start heading towards the realm of Dead Poets. However, before we get there, we’re off to the land of the living.

Rewinding back to 1986…

The Flight of a Young Poet

Flapping my wings,

I take flight,

soaring through blue skies

white feathers glowing in the sun.

In the blink of an eye,

I flew through some window

dividing now and then.

 

Somehow,

magically mystically,

I am a young woman again.

You soothe my heartstrings

like a maestro

restoring my battered soul.

I now sing like a skylark,

released from its rusty cage.

 

How did you know me so well,

when we have never met?

Do you know?

…………….

My parents had gone away and I was staying with family friends I’d always admired…a flamboyant, debonair entrepreneur and his incredibly beautiful and equally smart and sophisticated wife. There was talk that he’d given her a full-length fur coat. Of course, for someone getting around in clompy black school shoes and a tartan tunic, this sounded very extravagant, luxurious and there was no thought about how many innocent animals had been slaughtered to enable this gesture of love.

I’d never even been overseas and they were part of the jet set…London, Paris, New York and back to Sydney. Me… I just went to school and it was a thrill to hang out at the station. I guess you could very aptly describe my world as a goldfish bowl. Actually, a gold fish bowl is way too calm because although my world was small, it was a tempest having my heart unceremoniously smashed into smithereens in between studying for those all important end of school exams. That’s right. The ones which make or break the rest of your life.

Anyway, while I was staying there, I was introduced to an incredible book of poetry: The Thoughts of Nanushka by Nan Whitcomb.

This was 1986 when home photocopiers weren’t what they are now and her poetry wasn’t easy to find.  So, I jotted down what poems I could in my school diary and I think it was only once I went to university, that a friend finally gave me my very own volume of her poems. It was like being given a radiant beam of pure gold light. I understand that description might initially appear a bit cryptic but what she gave me was insight into myself, clarity of thought and a way to express and let out something of an inner cyclone. That was far more important to me than gold itself!

I know that I am not the only young person to feel consumed by darkness, crippling self-esteem and a sense that you must be an alien from another planet. There are so many of us out there but we simply haven’t met. Moreover, back then, there wasn’t the same capacity to discover like-minded people around the world via the Internet. You could well be stuck on your “Pat Malone”.

I remember how The Thoughts of Nanushka comforted me:

If you dare

To be different

And you do not

Join the crowd –

If they laugh at your honesty

And taunt you

If you’re proud-

When they talk of you

In whispers

And criticise the things

You say and do-

Do not fear them,

But forgive them-

They are more afraid

Than you-

Nan Whitcomb Thoughts of Nanushka Vol VII Love, Tears and Dreams

I was to find out down the track, that the severity of these storms inside my head, was physical rather than emotional. When I was 25, I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus or fluid on the brain. My sense of being different and not fitting in or belonging, was more than just a feeling but a fact. I had surgery where a neurosurgeon inserted a shunt into my brain to manage the pressure and give me some kind of equilibrium. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be different or that I’m still not different. However, having a full-blown neurological meltdown ultimately kills you and seeing the horizon bounce up and down when you walk is no picnic.

It’s a totally different, different scenario.

However, when it came to understanding the broken heart, Nanushka understood so well. Instead of simply telling me that there were “more fish in the sea”, she said:

FALLING in love
is a recurring illness –
the heady nights
and dizzy days,
the raging fever
and the pain –
recovery –
slow convalescence
with the uncertainty
of where and when or if
this wondrous sickness
will strike again . . .

 

However, Nanushka wasn’t just about heartbreak. She also rode the wave of passion. That intensity of falling in love and put those feelings into words too. I remember when I was so much younger falling in love with a young surfer and looking out over Sydney’s Whale Beach and seeing the surfers tackle a wave known as The Wedge and this poem travelled straight through me:

We sat on top of the world

watching the mist

roll in from the sea-

and far below,

the surfers floated there

like drowning bees-

I looked across at you

and lost my senses

in your dear blue eyes

and knew those surfers

well could drown –

and so might I –

 Nan Whitcomb Thoughts of Nanushka Vol VII Love, Tears and Dreams.

Perhaps, as you read her poems, you might wonder why you haven’t heard of Nanushka. It’s not that she’s been hiding under a rock. Indeed, this poem was read out at the funeral of INXS frontman, Michael Hutchence:

TO mourn too long
for those we love
is self indulgent –
but to honour their memory
with a promise
to live a little better
for having known them,
gives purpose to their life –
and some reason
for their death . . . . .

Nan Whitcomb Thoughts of Nanushka Vol This Moment is Forever

It can be hard for Australians to get their work out there and not everybody longs to belong to the cult of celebrity. Sell their soul just to fly straight into the candle flame and burn. Integrity and being able to live with your self matter to some of us.

Nan’s philosophy on life is to put her heart and soul into the present, never regret the past, but keep the experience and memories to enrich the future.

Beyond the ugliness

In this world,

Is the incredible beauty

Of love and friendship-

That is where I live-

Nan Whitcomb: The Thoughts of Nanushka Introduction.

 

I was initially going to include Nan Whitcomb in my letters to dead poets. However, an email revealed that she is very much alive. So, I decided to write this on the eve of the challenge instead. Although her poetry would have inspired some of these poets who seemingly slashed their wrists with the pen, I thought I’d keep dead poets with dead poets.

So, on that note, I’m off for one last sleep before heading off to Hades tomorrow.

Have you ever read: The Thoughts of Nanushka? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts and you could reference your favourite as well.

By the way, here is a link to her website: http://users.senet.com.au/~nanushka/index.htm

On that note, I leave with one last gem:

A SOLITARY seagull
rides home
on a shaft of golden sun –
our beautiful day
is melting into dusk –
pink clouds
fade back to sombre grey
and your dear face
is touched with gold –
why should we mourn
the passing of our day
because we know
the night
belongs to us –

Nan Whitcomb Thoughts of Nanushka Vol VII Love, Tears and Dreams

xx Rowena