*Please note this is not a new blog - it is a reposting of a blog I wrote over last (southern hemisphere) summer and which I chose to take down at some point. I am reopening my blog so am reposting some old entries along with new ones.
There's a place I go, away to the south by the sea, cold and unwelcoming and marvellous, whipped by a wind that knows only endless miles of hostile ocean before finally racing gleefully across and up this yellowed hillside overlooking the bay.
I can see a line of old yew trees far off at the bottom of the hill by the shore, planted by someone who must have felt that this land could be bent to their use, bit by bit; a fence here, the rusting ruins of a small shed a bit further on, and behind that the foundations of a cottage, laid out in stones now half buried.
The trees at the water's edge are old, and their roots have been exposed by the pounding of the sea, in winter when the storms arrive. The grass grows long right up to the trunks and a pair of sea eagles have made this place their home. The trees at the water are old, but this land is older still.
Where I stand I can see the wide water of the bay, point to point, stretching cold and grey today, out to meet the sea, ringed by rocky beaches and watchful gum trees.
There is a clearly defined line in the water, roughly a quarter of the way between the shore and the centre of the bay. It is perfectly curving line that follows the countours of the land and on a sunny day it marks a transition in colour from the bright, light blue of the shallows to the sudden dark bluegreenblack of the deep at the point where the seafloor drops away.
The edge of the dark.
There's good fishing there if you can keep the little wooden rowboat right over it. My grandfather used to take me sometimes. I don't know what happened to that little boat. It was painted green once. I guess it just rotted away somewhere. Everything does.
There's a moment I have sometimes when I'm in the thick of things, a kind of view for a second or two from outside myself. It's just of me, standing there, messy hair, too skinny, little purple lines decorating the inside of my elbows, brushing my teeth or something, looking in the mirror, or down at the basin, or at nothing. It's not unusual.
And then without anything being different everything is different, and I have this sudden perception that that person is ME standing there, messy hair, too skinny, little purple lines decorating the inside of my elbows, brushing my teeth or something, looking in the mirror, or down at the basin, or at nothing. It's so completely unusual that I need to stop and take a deep breath, remind myself of where I am, remind myself to keep moving; or else.
There's a change that creeps over your when you're really in the thick of things, a loosening of the grip. Little by little the tides and the winds are turning around and are starting to push you out, away from the shore.
In those moments - suddenly aware of myself but outside of myself - I think it's that change I see.
There is yellow grass and old, old trees, and I can hear the growing howl of salty wind; I see water, light, bright blue water, and I see a line where suddenly that water is dark, black dark, deep dark that I know goes down forever. The edge of the dark.
And I see the last few rotting boards of a little wooden boat that has been put aside and forgotten. It was once painted green, but now there's almost nothing left.