At 2 am, I hear my son leave for work, although he is quiet like a mouse. Oddly, I’m not ready to wake up yet, so I relax myself back into slumber by rewalking my late afternoon walk on the headland. Caressing the day like this used to be a favourite part of bedtime, but I need walks to caress. Since my determined effort at digital detox I’ve been walking again, so I can soothe myself in this way. Here’s the walk I caress.
I’m reluctant as I set out and my feet drag. I’m not at my best at the end of the day. But the sun is low and lighting up the trees along the track behind the dunes, and the creek is glinting.
The zieria is flowering, tiny white flowers, petals 2-4 mm long, tinged with pink, and it won’t be long before the yellow hibbertia bursts out of its buds.
Sandplants curve above their shadows, the movement of the wind marked by delicate scuffings in the sand.
I walk up the headland past casuarina tunnels, tick laden and therefore unexplored. Banksias flaunt their cylindrical yellow flowers and their leaves with a silver underside, and the boobialla berries are turning royal purple. I find a spot jutting out above the ocean and sit in silent contemplation as the sun moves further down the sky. I’m relieved that smoke from two nearby bushfires isn’t readily visible and I wonder idly whether I’m looking at rare straight lines in nature.
I break my silence with the geriatric groans of rising, and walk along the road watching my feet to avoid ruts and roots. The light is falling on the bladey grass and my striding becomes a bit more energetic as the day cools.
I catch a glimpse of light on spotted gums and crunch through bark and leaves towards them, wary of snakes. My son had one slither across his foot on another headland yesterday – deadly enough to make him run. The trunks beckon with their grey speckled gleam.
Then I’m drawn by water through the casuarina trunks, and spot a few flotillas of ducks.
The water nets late afternoon clouds and the reflection of a slender tree.
I’m nearly home now. I pass a brutally pruned poison peach, cleared bushland, the trees where a morning walk offers noisy black cockatoos, wary macropods who raise their heads to watch me for a minute or two before they hop off, and the few remaining paperbarks shredding picturesquely.