Returning to Australian weekends is easy, in winter sunshine before the wind picks up. We drive the new car out along the spur towards Tilba Cemetery, and suddenly the Pacific Ocean sprawls before us. A sandy track leads us down to a wide beach, backed by grassy dunes, and, towering behind farmland, under bright clouds, sacred Gulaga.
The beach is distinctive. The tideline is marked by lines of small shells in curves and points, depending on the whim of the retreating sea.
The sea is smooth, lazy waves plopping on the sand and splashing laconically.
I’m fascinated by horizontality. J is far ahead as I snap snap snap, his leg functioning well again, the rocks at the far end of the beach dragging him along by his geological curiosity. I’m not focused on geology, just on the feel of Australian sand and wind and sun. I’ve lost any knack I had of geological analytics in my seven weeks in Warsaw. I have to relearn diorite, and … what on earth were the other -ites?
There are no rocks till we approach the northern end and then sudden outcrops and bluffs appear.
I’m easily pleased by sand and rock gardens; rock patterns; and traces of attempted ownership.
We sit companionably for a while in the sun, sheltered by the rocks from the wind.
As we head back, a flock of tiny birds announce their presence by mazes of claw-prints, and then appear, scurry-pause-scurry, shadows and minute sand-spurts in tow.
We return to the car up a different track, through a gate and onto a bare grassy hillside capped by the cemetery