My Bay


Wine Glass Bay
Tasmania
1979

I grabbed the kangaroo from behind and reveled in the glory of conquest. My arms were stretched as wide as they could go to reach around her. She could be my pet. I could tame her. We could play. I would be noted for my amazing capacity to communicate with kangaroos.

She hopped out of my grasp. She won. I lost.

My dominion at Coles Bay was the little creek beyond the campsite, white sand, pale gums, blue sky, calling birds. In the morning I would eagerly run there, and sit and look around and feel happy. A bull-ant bit my leg as I perched in my spot, and the pain seemed momentous, noteworthy on a grand scale, to be recorded in the annals of history. Nobody else in the family seemed very interested in my bullant bite.

A steep trail led through the bush to a saddle. It intrigued me to imagine that lofty hill as a horses back, and the image didn’t quite fit into my mind. That’s what Dad called it as we slogged our way up the hill, hot and tired and annoyed at not being able to stop. But the other side made it all worthwhile. Blue, beautiful and seemingly untouched by humanity, Wineglass Bay stretched beneath us, long, fragile and eloquent. The water seemed hyper-real, it was so bright and vivid and sparkling. The breeze cooled my hot face as we descended, wriggling gum roots creating a regal stairway down which to walk.

The smooth, crisp sand drew us close to the magical water. One moment, a huge expanse of sand stretched down to the water – almost instantly, a huge rush of creamy water would swirl over the sand, pouring its excitement and wrath and danger down on the beach in a loud jangle of movement. Delighted by danger, Tom and I ran as fast as we could down the expanse of sand, and as fast as we could back. Tom ran further down than me. Part of my being delighted in the thought of seeing what danger would look like if it happened to someone other than me, but a larger part of my being feared something terrible happening to my beloved brother.

Tom had a delightful, daring way of defying harm, of laughing in the face of that which is menacing, of surviving. I loved to dare, but in comparison to Tom was reticent, scared, uncertain. Nobody was devoured by the sea that day, and we both were delighted to have danced with death. Perhaps if I went back to Wineglass Bay today, the waves would seem piddly and not at all menacing. But in my memory, they are huge, loud, dangerous, and ever at the cusp of engulfing my self and my brother and all the life I had dreamed of and hoped for.

Comments

baker st jones said…
i'm so glad nothing happened to you and dear tom
a
sam and becca said…
ah, delicious.

love you. sam

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