Monday, September 16, 2019

Crow, meet Eagle

A flap of enormous wings and a shadow over the forest. She's a daily visitor and my dog finds her entertainment shaking fist (or a paw) at the giant sea eagle who would steal her fish and her bones. But today it was the Wardong (Crow) who was also harrassing the eagle:

This month I'm heading to Broome to conduct a writing workshop. Broome!

 If anyone is up in Kimberly Country, I'd love you to join in. We will be finding and developing stories from pearling to pastoralism, from turquoise tidal seas to pindan. It's a rich, diverse history and landscape and I'm very excited to be involved.

Monday, September 9, 2019

A beach today

If you have a look at the previous post, there is the same tree. Underwater on Saturday, it now has a car parked beside it.

Friday, September 6, 2019

A beach tomorrow perhaps

               The inlet this morning ... tannin stained water from the rush down of the rivers. Waves have been smashing into the bush the last few days with all this wild weather.

This morning in the gloaming I heard the son of the man-who-was-sucked-out-to-sea put his boat in just down from my place. His father was cutting the sand bar to let the inlet out to sea, when the inlet collected him up like a cuttle bone and took the old man with it. Waves crashing in from the sea ... his boat went through the second wave and he was never seen again.

And now the inlet is about to blow its banks again and he is the old man's son, heading out to the bar. I have a feeling there may be a brand new beach in the morning.

This is my guardian tree, or what Holly calls the mammary tree. She guards my gate, the warty old lady.

Sunday, September 1, 2019


In the dark of night ...
I was breathing, in a blue shirt, pant-less, into my mother's arms. Look into my eyes and breathe, she said, and I thought that was very strange. I dropped my waters onto the bathroom floor and still my mum was unfazed. Still time to go, she said.

My mum retold this story at his funeral recently and when she began I thought 'Oh my God! Mum's really gonna go there.' And go there she did, describing the birth of Stormboy in the dark of night.

We'd decided to have a hospital birth. It wasn't my choice. I would happily have given birth at home but my partner wanted the white coats in attendance. It was a tussle between us: I felt strong enough to eschew doctors and he didn't, is what it boiled down to. So a decision but not really a choice. When my waters crashed to the bathroom floor, both us realised it was time to go. My labour had quickened within an hour or so.

Mum was with us in the Kombi as we hurtled up the main street towards the hospital. He and I had previously gone over our route. Go Aberdeen Street, I'd said. No speed humps there.

He had some kind of blood rush and chose the main street, driving over the granite speed humps like someone possessed, as I stood in the back of the Kombi, holding the side rails. Badoosh! Badoosh! Badoosh! I believe that Stormboy was rattled out of me during that drive. We got to a roundabout and I said to mum, it's coming mum, it's coming.

She checked the baby, at which stage I yelled at her to not push that child back inside me. It was an odd call. I was in so much pain, I dunno where my head was at really. Anyway, we got to the next roundabout and my child was crowning, about to be born, and mum told him to stop the car.

Stop the car, my mum said.

I can't stop the car, he said. I'm on a roundabout.

He pulled over just after the roundabout and Stormboy was born in a Kombi on the side of the road. It was past 1300 and all of the city lights had just blinked out. Mum literally caught that kid in the dark. It was a pitch black no moon night. Stormboy was quiet, cool and silent as I pressed him to my breast. He felt shocked at this sudden turn of events. Mum and Stormboy's dad scrambled around in the Kombi for a torch. Someone threw me a towel and I wrapped it over my newborn. These minutes seemed to go on for hours.

Then Stormboy's father found the Dolphin torch, turned it on and shone it directly into our son's face. We heard his first breath and then him exhale with a decent scream. It's boy! The first boy born in three decades. Stormboy's dad climbed back into the driver's seat. My mum climbed into the passenger's seat and we continued to the hospital, me, sitting in the back seat of the Kombi, holding a brand new child,  heaving, cranking, thrilling with post birth endorphins.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Dirty ears

Last week I had my medical for the oncoming fire season. This medical checkup is great for me because I never go to the doctor. When I was younger, the only reason I went to a doctor was because I was pregnant/needed the obligatory pap smear/had unwell children. I tend to sort my own stuff these days.
The worst thing that came up in my medical assessment for this year, was ...

Hey! Here are some orchids!

Dirty ears. The nurse peered into my ears with that thingy and wrote down on my report 'dirt in ears'.  The doctor later advised me on how to care for my ears.
Flame said to me recently, while looking over my bed that crouches next to the living room fire. 'Sarah, you'll never find a boyfriend with a broadaxe and a cask of wine next to your bed.' Like she's an expert on the psychosexual aspects of relationships, gender and film studies. Apparently it is really all about ear health.

It's funny ... I was gonna write a post about orchids and how I've seen the most amazing orchids over the last few weeks. It's been a shitty season for fungi but really good for orchids.
Anyway, despite what I regularly do to my body and mind, I came through the medical with blazing colours, except for that ear thing.

How are your ears going folks?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Whale skull

Sometimes we dreamed together. a strange thing. We'd wake up in the morning and when talking, our dreams would be similar, even the same.
A few days before we camped at Cheynes Beach, I woke in the morning and told him about my dream. I was on a beach, a long sandy expanse, a squeaky sand kind of beach where the sand is so fine and white, it squeaks beneath your feet. I walked through the standing ribs of a stranded whale.

Half drunk we wandered down to the beach and that's where we found the whale's skull, standing like a gigantic hip bone on the sand. That night we slept on a shelf of granite, drank Stones green ginger wine and fished and pulled up shitty bream and rock cod. 'That skull is mine,' I said to him that night. 'I had a dream about that whale. It's mine. You have to help me get it tomorrow.'

It's quite illegal to take whalebones from the shore (even seashells, so I hear). In the pre-dawn gloaming we pulled his one-tonner ute up beside the whale skull. It must have weighed a ton and a half, but with his crow bar and a bit of lever-logic we got the skull onto the back of his ute.

The next day we drove through town on our way home with a bone that was maybe 8 feet long and 3 feet high. It looked like an elephant's ears. It was amazing.

Recently I told my son the story about how me and his dad found the whale skull and he said that it was mine now.