Australia, Beach & Coastal Walking, Urban Walking
Comments 8

Sleepwalking into Sunrise

Insomnia. It’s been part of my life since I was a teenager, but lately, with all the stuff going on, it’s been absolutely raging. My obstreperous brain is like a hyperactive kid that won’t sit still and do its homework. It wants to get out there and play — and playtime of late commences around 4:15am…

Finally, after a couple of weeks of this, I decided to go with the flow and make use of the early starts to do five miles or so before work, taking my new camera…

..for romantic morning strolls around Shorncliffe, slowly familiarising myself with its features and quirks.

My last week of work coincided with this year’s La Niña weather phenomenon, which has added some welcome (to me anyway) coolness and rain to proceedings. Mornings commenced with me beating the alarm clock to consciousness, donning the daypack with its umbrella, dry-sack and tripod, slinging the Sony from my hip, and cruising up the sleeping street… the Sandgate waterfront.

Some mornings were blue-grey and sullen…

..while on others the sun won some temporary ground:

One tide’s crop of stranded jellyfish:

Most days I walked a clockwise loop, passing the weatherbeaten fig trees…

..some optimistically demarcated wildlife preservation…

..and the odd local out for some exercise…

..till I reached the Shorncliffe Pier:

One morning pint-sized delinquents had vandalised the beach…

..and crumbling fortifications stoically awaited their inevitable demise:

Passing Timberhenge… path led around the rocky foot of Shorncliffe, where a homeless person has been encamped for a couple of weeks now:

(Actually, I spied two pairs of feet in there as I passed one morning…)

Looking back towards the breakwater and the pier:

Sometimes I’m completely alone on this little path…

..and sometimes I have company.

I love how the camera, freezing his movements in a random hunch, seems to evoke something sinister where it (probably) doesn’t exist:

A string of hardy juvenile mangroves:

This enormous log, which I think is a camphor laurel, has been here since deposited by the January floods:

A pandanus palm:

And the ancient strata that make this area popular on school geology field trips (I dimly recall digging around for plant fossils on a high school excursion in the late-’70s):

Rounding the headland, and the mouth of Cabbage Tree Creek…

..I’m about halfway home.

The vivid, scarlet poincianas have been aflame all over Brisbane of late. One morning I made the most of a lull in the rain…

..and made it to the waterfront un-soaked.

The path was strewn with rain-downed cotton-tree blooms…

..and the sky towards Redcliffe still appeared troubled…

..but I found a lucky omen in the dirt, which cheered me immensely:

Friday was my final day of day-classes, perhaps my last day ever at my old school. I felt oddly ambivalent, as I resumed my foggy ramble towards the water, past the local Salvation Army op-shop (thrift store):

The sky was clearing, a warm, inviting glow seeping over everything:

I’d hoped to shoot this curving seawall in shadowless silver-grey, but the day had other plans:

My heart wasn’t in it. A self-portrait with feather concluded a severely truncated walk…

..and home I went.

At work, a last breakfast at my desk…

..and a final day with what has been a very enjoyable class:

In the afternoon, with the rain out of the picture for the moment, we went outside for a bit of a picnic and a final portrait. I set up the Sony on the back of a bench with the Gorillapod, and I was really delighted with how this picture turned out.

A mixed bunch indeed, this class: students from Taiwan, France, Poland, Korea, Japan, Macau and China:

Oh, and don’t forget the Colombian. You should have no trouble picking him!

And that, friends, is one approach to dealing with insomnia. But it’s certainly not a cure. Things are still chaotic in these parts — this morning I was up at 3:30!

I don’t have to tell you what followed…

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote



  1. Let me know if you need some decent sleeping tablets. I’ve got some beauties down here! It sounds like you need them. I’m liking the look of the new photographic Goat. I think you’ve made a good camera choice as every review of the Sony I read is a good one! Nice post, nice hat 🙂

    • Thanks Greg. Can I put in an order for about 5kg of those pills? I should’ve stocked up when I was in the States…

      That hat: Bury me in it.

  2. Whoops! Goddamit, on closer examination, that looks just about the most appetising hand-made rhubarb muffin I’ve ever seen! Don’t know how I was so mistaken the first time around. Please forgive this momentary lapse of culinary perception!

    • Now you’re talking. Don’t worry, we all have our off days. And that other item was some kinda coffee-bread stuff. I was wired for hours.

  3. I know this is an old post, but it resonates with me. Since I arrived at Sandgate some 9 years ago, I’ve been waking up early and going for walks … also in the evening. There’s better things to do around here rather than lie in bed.

    • You got that right! I can’t imagine being back in the Sandgate area without walking the waterfront or the mudflats when the tide’s out, in the dawn or evening.

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