Australia, Beach & Coastal Walking, Streams, Creeks & Rivers
Comments 28

What I Did at the Seaside: An Aimless Thousand Miles #1

Hey, y’all.

For — what? — a couple of months now I haven’t been able to write. Hell, for much of that time I was barely even walking, by my standards, and no walking obviously means not much to observe and record, or whatever it is I do here with the camera and the keyboard.

Admittedly my ambulatory standards are pretty tough. Since I haven’t had much else to fill my days, little money and no work, with a torrent of confusion and doubt raining down, I set myself the target in July or August of a seven-mile minimum each day.

mmm

SWIMMER CRAB’S LAST LAP.

That number had a nice powerful feel to it, and usually I was able to achieve most of my Magic Seven before breakfast. Those miles were often the highlight of the day. I was rising early and alternating between two main local routes.

One lead directly to the waterfront and either out onto the mudflats if tides permitted or along the beachfront walking path if the brine was lapping at the seawall.

mmm

THE EXPLORER, STINGRAY COUNTRY.

Low tide was my favourite, and I can’t describe (although I’ve tried, dozens of times, via this keyboard or pictures) the just-plain-majesty of the sun breaking clear of Moreton Island while I crouched down over stingray holes or seashells trying to capture the tide’s advance and the unmatchable blue of the ebbing night.

The other route wound through a nearby park to the bank of Cabbage Tree Creek…

mmm

DEPARTING TRAWLER BEYOND THE MORETON BAY FIG.

…past the little flotilla of prawn trawlers moored there and out to the creek mouth.

Sunrise at the mouth always offered something interesting: pelicans, dawn rays splintering through the little jetty, fishermen casting nets, trawlers heading out to the Bay.

Then around the base of Shorncliffe…

mmm

NEVILLE, A SHORNCLIFFE RESIDENT, DUSK.

..past the famous old pier, and along the top of the seawall towards the ultimate reward for four miles or so of ambling: caffeine.

Some time in the park with the wifi and Baldy the Magpie…

mmm

MY FAVOURITE MAGPIE.

..and home for a nap before a lot of people had even started their day.

It didn’t feel like I was completely wasting my time, and I also had an ongoing and monumental project to dip into each day (I mean as well as this blog): five and a half thousand or so of my better or favourite images from five countries that I’d first edited when I didn’t know very much and wanted to finally do justice to.

mmm

WATERFRONT BARBECUE AFTER RAIN, DAWN.

But with all the worry, I needed still more distraction. For the second time — I posted about the last time here — I added another completely pointless objective to my collection: a thousand miles of mostly urban walking, recorded each day with a GPS-based app on my phone.

I started keeping a tally on September 10 last year. The mileage, and the picture pile, kept growing.

mmm

DAWN DEWDROPS, SANDGATE.

I lost interest in this Thousand Mile Thing a while back, and stopped even writing dates on the scraps of paper on which I recorded my daily totals. But I kept on dutifully scrawling numbers from force of habit.

I totalled them once — I’d reached 787.75 miles a week before Christmas — but that was that. With the onset of a serious Summer my interest and energy lagged. It was too hot to walk and too bright for my kind of pictures.

mmm

SUNRISE, BAXTER’S JETTY, SHORNCLIFFE.

I was bored, and depressed beyond belief from a combination of setbacks. What looked like a change in fortunes turned out to be a cruel hoax. Uncertainty was king.

And the sun was rising so damned early, beating it to the water was too much damned work!

mmm

TED SMOUT BRIDGE, BRIGHTON, TWILIGHT.

The blog spluttered to a halt, and even the new followers have dwindled away. It felt like paralysis. I’m used to feeling low, but now my last expressive outlet was jammed.

I’ve been watching TV, for gawd’s sake! My degradation was complete.

mmm

STINGRAY HOLES & CABBAGE TREE CREEK MARINA.

For a couple of months I wasn’t even getting up before the sun. Mileages plummeted; a couple of days I totalled Zero, or a mile or two, which is almost the same thing.

mmm

SHORNCLIFFE PIER, TWILIGHT, LOW TIDE.

The Black Dog wasn’t just snapping at my well-worn heels, he had a good hold on my shin and was chewing his way north.

mmm

FISHING NETS, BAXTER’S JETTY, DAWN.

Part of it was monotony. Imagine your neighbourhood; now imagine walking a thousand miles of it in a few months.

I started going days without taking a shot, though the cameras were always in the bag (plus a new tripod and often a laptop) when I did leave the house, so at least I was getting a good workout!

mmm

SHARING THE FOOTPATH NEAR THE WATERFRONT, SANDGATE.

Then after weeks of spluttering and wheezing, my laptop suffered a stroke and sank into a coma. Apple quoted me a repair job “in the high seven hundreds”.

That MacBook had served me loyally, several hours a day, for four years and in four countries. I’d already paid for expensive repairs and upgrades…

mmm

LOST RED HAT & DRIFT MARKS.

I sat here for a couple of days with the TV on, one arm reaching out periodically from muscle memory to make phantom adjustments to non-existent pictures.

grieved for that damned machine!

mmm

DAWN DUTY NEAR THE SHORNCLIFFE BREAKWATER.

Then my excellent parents stepped in and loaned me enough for a refurbished model a year and a half old, smaller but with a Retina screen that makes the pictures sing.

mmm

ON THE BREAKWATER, DAWN.

And here I am, tapping on it. Aren’t you lucky?

Almost as lucky as this guy:

mmm

FLYING FOX TANGLED IN KITE STRING, SHORNCLIFFE. (I called an animal rescue hotline — they already had someone on the way.)

I came very close to abandoning TGTW and consigning it to the outer reaches of the Ghost Blog Belt, but a week ago I resumed my morning strolls, and today I made two important steps forward.

mmm

KITE-SURFER & JELLYFISH, BRIGHTON.

One, I began acting on recurring faint impulses to begin a post — this post.

And two, I added up the rest of those mileages and realised I’d reached my thousand some time back.

mmm

SUNRISE SHADOWS, BAXTER’S JETTY.

My total is 1,142.54 miles. I think I’ll stop counting now.

DSC03051

SHORNCLIFFE PIER & INCOMING TIDE.

So anyway, to commemorate Mania’s End and my hopefully ongoing return to blogdom, here’s a sample of pictures from that thousand-plus miles.

mmm

THE BLOGGER, BRIGHTON, DAWN.

I had too many decent ones for one post, so I’ve split them into three posts’ worth.

Lazy blogging, perhaps, but it’s a start!

mmm

INCA & WALTER, SHORNCLIFFE. Our first meeting. We’re now friends & frequent coffee compadres. Walter too.

All were taken on those local waterfront or creek-side routes outlined above, and they’re presented chronologically.

Hope you like ’em.

mmm

WEDDING FLOWERS, SHORNCLIFFE. Nice one, jackasses.

Oh, apologies to all the commenters and followers I’ve neglected.

mmm

BREAKWATER RAYS.

And finally, Happy Valentine’s Day, you-know-who! Didn’t see this coming, did ya, babe?

mmm

BAREFOOT ON THE FLATS, DAWN.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

Advertisements

28 Comments

  1. Welcome back. Beautiful images and a beautifully honest post. Looking forward to more. Thank you for sharing this with us. Enjoy the new computer with it’s fancy screen that lets the photos “sing.” I can understand the grief over losing the old one though. Some cooler days ahead soon to make explorations more comfortable (I hope!) Those long dark days are hard. It’s a relief when the light starts to break through again. Best wishes.

    • Thanks, Jane. The mornings lately have been magnificent & cool, and right about now, pre-dusk, sitting in the park in a nice breeze, life is quite tolerable. The computer is still singing away. I kept the old one for the inconceivable possibility that one day I might have $800 again…

  2. You have awesome imagination, and you are a great photographer, I like all your pictures. It’s always fun to read your thought on your journeys.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day To You!

  3. Mike Stubberfield says

    Goat,
    Beautiful photographs, beautiful writting. I haven’t read your blog for sometime, just as inspiring as it ever was.

    Thank you,

    Mike

    • Great to hear from you, Mike, your break nicely coincided with my own! Hoping to keep ‘er rolling along this time, but we’ll see.

  4. Denis LeBlanc says

    You should have a huge income, given your abilities. You should know you truly assist those frail humans who can only e-journey, You have the ability to transport me, so that I can not only visualize, but feel your journey and almost smell the sea. To assist those others, like me here in frigid snowed-under central Canada, who need to be geographically oriented, I offer this link: https://www.google.ca/maps/@-27.3557572,152.720858,209136m/data=!3m1!1e3
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Denis, thanks a million, I appreciate your kind words. When I clicked on that link, the first landmark my eyes settled on is one I know very well: Moreton Island, the smaller of the two wedge-shaped masses just offshore. That’s what I observe the sun peeking over most mornings, and it’s the place I’m dreaming of returning to for my fourth circumambulation — in a month or so perhaps, when the chance of frying on the white sand is a little smaller!

  5. Glad to see you back. I hope with the new computer comes new inspiration. Your shots are amazing. Always write for yourself don’t worry about taking a break if you need it. Us followers who are loyal will understand. We’ll miss ya, but be estatic when you return. Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day.

    • Thanks, mate, wasn’t as good as it could have been given that my Valentine of choice is rather inconveniently distanced from me right now, but it did see my return to the keyboard, so a love (love/hate?) affair of sorts was rekindled.

      The computer is doing great, and I’ve resumed taking some shots — also, mornings and early evenings are truly sublime lately. Some reasons to be thankful.

  6. The young explorer with reflection, your self-portrait with magpie, and the pelican are my favorites among these excellent photos.
    Sometimes all it takes is one step and then another to get out of those dark places. It’s true that rebellion dogs my every step.
    I’m scrambling to finish a training course for a job I’ve quit 4 times. Trying to find balance. When I can get out and take a walk,
    I feel much better. When I can post something on my blog, I feel better, too. Kind wishes to you, Goat.

    • I hope it all works out for you, Am. I too am an excellent quitter. Currently enduring a “How to Improve Your Job-Hunting Skills” course I am forced to undertake for this week. Even as a defiantly ex-teacher, I find myself condemning our instructor and finding his skills wanting.

      Another batch of pictures going out tonight, all going well. I believe there are some more pelicans in there. That young explorer was a random score, like a lot of good pictures. All I wanted was some stingray holes, and then he wandered into frame from nowhere and started lecturing me about aliens.

  7. Kathleen McCormick says

    Good to see you are back at it. I enjoy your wonderful photos and musings.

    I know what it’s like to have a dry spell. Had one myself recently. Walking it off helps………..

  8. Been wondering what happened to you! So glad to see you’re back and vibrantly alive again Goat. My absolute faves: Very first pic, Departing trawler, and Sunrise Baxter Jetty. Keep it up please! There are some of us who live vicariously. 🙂 Cheer!

  9. Pingback: Un-Nerved | The Expressible Café

  10. Christina Tanski says

    I always, always enjoy each photograph; your ability to capture not only each image, but the emotion in each as well. I have to say that the shot of Baldy the Magpie, with your reflection showing in the laptop actually made me ghasp aloud-such an unexpected treasure of a “ghost” image of yourself, the Artist that you are, inspired and fresh. I look forward to your posts, and I do hope to someday soon hold in my hand a published work of your pictures and prose. It is a true pleasure to share in your discoveries. 🙂

    • Hey, great comment, Christina, as always. I wasn’t going to include the Baldy shot till the last minute. I’ve got him/her (who can tell?) and his/her partner Beak eating out of my hand now — literally. Kate was skyping with me the other day when they turned up and burst into song. They do it all the time now: herald each breakfast visit with a melodious chorus. They have a juvenile offspring as well who is still a little wary of me at this point.

      I’m glad you can see things in the picture beyond the straight imagery. I always try to say something in a shot, though it only works out some of the time. Fortunately the good thing about blogs is that you only share your good stuff and keep all the crap to yourself!

  11. You know, quite apart from anything else, you really put yourself through it by having the harshest season in one hemisphere back to back with the harshest season in the other. It would drive anyone a bit potty even without the personal heartbreak and frustrations. So glad you are back to blogging, and what a way to start. Another epic set of images full of atmosphere.

    • Great to hear from you, Rachael. If I didn’t have the picture-makin’, I woulda gone outta my mind these last several months. Even more outta my mind!

  12. I found your breathtaking pictures whilst learning about my new suburb. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s