To visit most beaches, I just hop out of the car and step pretty well straight down onto the sand. This time I walk through a vast bush camping area shaded by spotted gums and graceful red-barked mahogany, and brightened by the jewelled fruit on pittosporums. Some of the campsites are on the edge of the cliff, and I can feel a camping urge coming on me. The air is warm-crisp. I’m delighted to be walking through bush and predisposed for love.
Enticing tracks take me right to the edge, looking out over unexpectedly rugged rocks to the blue ocean, rock islands and strips of distant sand.
I walk somewhat gingerly along the rocks and find myself looking down into a most unexpected gorge, steeper and deeper than the photo shows. The auguries for love are looking good: surprise is an aphrodisiac.
I reach the end of the camping area and find myself entering Eurobodalla National Park, the same park that surrounds me at Potato Point – a long, reclaimed, “non-contiguous” strip stretching down the coast from Moruya Heads to Tilba Tilba Lake. I encounter two families with small children, reminding me that Billy’s is billed as child friendly. And then there it is …
… a small serene beach with a view out to Mother Gulaga’s son, Baranguba. I don’t hesitate. I head for the sunny end, wondering what it will offer me. Underfoot is the scrunch of large grey pebbles and shells. My first impression is of rather undistinguished grey rock, creating uninteresting rock pools. The possibility of love retreats.
And then my eyes are opened, suddenly, as they often are in love affairs. They’re drawn to large rock faces, rather than close up patches. Everything is on a grand scale.
Already smitten, I stroll 200 metres along the beach to the other end, anticipating further delights and I am not disappointed. Other people have been here before me, delineating the meandering lines in the rock with white pebbles. The cliffs tilt and present a range of colours and patterns. The rockpools are vivid.
I realise I’m more than smitten. I’m deeply in love. I look back along the beach and out beyond a rocky outcrop to the sea. I’d stay here in solitude, soaking up the sun, but I’m meeting a gang of friends from my children’s childhood. Love has to give way to friendship, even fresh love. I walk past a huge dune of gravel, back to the wooden stairs, where I sit briefly, revelling in a new amour.
I’m prepared to share my new love with special people, bits of it at least, this time specifically Gilly who has shown an interest in plants and their foothold in rock. For you, my friend.