Wednesday, 11 September 2013

It began with getting lost

11 September 2013

It began with getting lost on the way to Mindil Beach. For a start I headed in the wrong direction but with the aid of my Navigator app I found myself on the edge of the Arafura Sea. I love seas – love their flatness, ripples and tiny waves which plop. The tide was in. Oceans are another thing entirely all slap-bang and I will eat you waves. An inland born girl I prefer calm water. I didn’t stay long and my thirty minutes to get there walk turned into an eight minute return, past the old cemetery with Chinese headstones facing the sunrise and through the gardens to the George Brown Eco House.

Did some bird spotting on behalf of my bird mad friend, visit her blog, Sent her a list of birds I saw without even trying: magpie geese, Torres Strait pigeons, double barred finches, peaceful doves, ibis, brahminy kites. Asked myself the question why didn’t I bring my bird book?

I received an invitation for dinner at Stokes Hill Wharf with poet, Kaye Aldenhover, and her friend Bronwyn Mehan an ex Darwinite and owner of Spineless Wonders Press

Stokes Hill Wharf is a popular eating spot for the locals (human species), whiskered terns and silver gulls (airborne species), moonfish and barramundi (waterborne species). It is the best arrangement for these three species to share food, humans at tables at the edge of the wharf, birds patrolling the airspace, and fish below keeping an eye upward for any food which may fall, occasionally lifting a fin out of the water to make a splash.

Our happy party ate delicious Thai food and drank champagne as the sun set. This was my second sunset dinner and I am thinking I would try and make this a tradition while I am here. Members of our party were eating our choice of icecream and feeling pleasantly satisfied with our lot until an orange glow on the horizon was pointed out as The Detention Centre. It looked like its own mini setting sun and it sucked something out of the evening, stole something from the fun of eating in the outdoors watching the flight and glide of fish and birds. The choice of icecream became a little sour knowing that across the other side of the bay there was a group of people who had no choice. No choice in their own country for freedom. No choice but to flee. No choice but to risk all.

As we left I couldn’t help but think this shameful glow will be there tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

And how did I sleep? I know you want to know. It was fine apart from the 2am gunfire…gunfire!!! Fire crackers left over from Territory day in July the locals assure me — not a midnight gunfight.

I don’t go to the beach often.
It is not my place.
The salt in me is lake not sea.
The birds in me are black not white.
There is flame in me not wave.
The sound in me is still.
from Descended From Thieves
Coral Carter
Mulla Mulla Press 2012

I went to a garden full of colour and light and water and bronzes of naked women kneeling and reclining and one holding both legs to her breasts exposing her cunt to fecundity all round. There were walkways of roses, wisteria, plum trees, orchards of citrus rotting, avocados hung like sinister black baubles, the garden shed with stained glass windows and chandelier, poppies filled to the brim with bees, pansies irises, violets, roses, nasturtiums, clematis, clouds of white camellias, stairs and seats and lily ponds, red rose avenues to fountains with a view as purple and orange push into the dried yellow dull green of the summer eucalyptus forest. Guests waved their free hand to explain the property extends to those trees over there. They bought that block too for privacy. And that is the dam. All the water is pumped from there to the lily ponds and look they are building a gallery for their collection. The workmen have the day off.
In this garden of prosperity and good fortune we drank champagne and exclaimed how blue is the sky and how perfect the day.
we are privileged
we are lucky
raise up your glasses
because out in the ocean
the cold deep ocean
the far away ocean
some of us flounder 
some of us founder
and some us of drown
from Descended From Thieves
Coral Carter
Mulla Mulla Press 2012

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