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Sunday morning is freezing. I cower in the living room as J thumps around the roof with the leaf blower. This weekend he spends a lot of time on the roof: on Friday I arrive just as he discovers the chimney has caught fire. At least in the chill (snow in the mountains), the fire is going safely again. Then we discover, after all this time, that our view of the progression of low tides is reality halved, and that coveted low tide doesn’t happen till 1pm. 

We set off at 9 anyway, and suddenly the world is warmer. We drive south and turn off the highway along a dirt road between a caravan park and a creek, and leave the car where the creek is in conflict with the outgoing tide in a swirl of rushing current.

The sea is blue and agitated, and the sun surpringly warm, although I still sport the innovative fashion of sunhat pulled down over beanie.

Today J takes the level high road in support of his leg and I walk the tideline. My pleasures are small ones and of the present. Geology takes a back seat in the face of expanses of sand, where seaweed settles, surprising colours and textures from the sea are showcased, and black and cream patterns emerge.

Along the dunes, sand collapses after high seas have made smooth shelves; trees tilt with a lifetime of wind; thick grass runs long distance, anchoring itself with runners and delicate shadows; and dead branches make a subtle pattern against vertical rock face. A lagoon glimmers dark with green reflections and then blue behind a barrier of trees, the same expanse of water you can see from the highway just past the high school.

I look at rocks and pebbles without geological speculation; explore the occasional track off behind the dunes; and try to see inside the greenish bubble-worlds the receding tide leaves behind.

Occasionally however geology does intrude. This is, I am assured, “unmistakable BIM.” Including chert.

J’s damaged leg has carried him the furthest he’s walked since the damage happened, and he discovers the comfort of barefoot walking on sand. We scrape off the sand, return to the car, buy a pair of custard tarts, and eat them looking out over Wagonga Inlet towards Gulaga. We end the weekend raking up leaves ready for a calm-day burn. It’s a long time since I’ve experienced the satisfaction of combing the surface covering of the earth into piles.