Having moved to the coast, I expected warmer climes, tempered by the nearness to the sea…
But in this recent cold snap, apparently experienced in many places unused to such low temperatures, I find myself needing to rug up at night and early mornings as much I ever did at the Mountain.
In 2007 I did this illustration for The Woman on the Mountain (the publishers didn’t use illustrations in the end) and apart from the ‘primitive’ desktop Mac instead of my present Mac laptop, I am wearing much the same now!
But I am near the coast so I took my new/old/2006 VW 4motion camper to Hat Head National Park recently to briefly test it out. I learnt it needs a lot of work to make it suitable for my off-grid type of camping…
While there we did part of the Connors Walking Track, along a stunning coastline where kangaroo-mown lawns slope down to dark craggy cliffs and an endlessly rippling sea.
It is always hard for me to lift my gaze from the ground, especially on an exposed headland like this, where treasures will be small and shy
Also, as I do not cope well with heights, I stay well back from cliff edges and admire the views from afar.
Up close, I could see hundreds of native yellow paper daisies, snuggled amongst the cropped grass and growing low to avoid the wind.
There were few rocks to afford extra shelter, but plants took advantage of those, with bright pigface and greener grass savouring the lesser evaporation.
Making it as far as Third Beach, I focused on the rocks there, black and round boulders, lichen-painted and dotted, multi-formed and -coloured as they were.
Yet again I wished I knew more of geology to understand how so many disparate shapes and patterns came to be together.
The tide had receded, leaving lines of tiny earth offerings… including hundreds of tiny bits of plastic, most too small for my camera to pick up. Plastic bottle tops were many and obvious, but it was these small bits that appalled me.
So it was a relief to see bird tracks large and small… although would their crops be full of such tiny plastic particles?
As we left the beach, I spotted an isolated clump of Pandanus/Breadfruit trees, propped on their sticklike legs amongst the rocks edging the sand. I am always amazed at the way small pockets of different ecosystems find their perfect niches.
And after the flood and the move, I found I’d needed that brief break as a reminder of the whole natural world of wonders out there awaiting me…