Coogee @ Dawn

In the kind of pattern you follow when you mow grass, there were three or four men with metal detectors on Coogee Beach this morning, methodically making their way up and down the sand. Along with a couple of early morning walkers, a few English backpackers still out from the night before, some council workers, and a young couple getting far more intimate than I thought was polite in the open air, the metal detector men were in charge of Coogee Beach at about six o’clock this morning. How do I know this? Well, I was there too.

The sky was beautiful when I woke early this morning. It was about 5.25 or so, and with uncharacteristic enthusiasm for the day, I decided to hop on the first available bus and head down to the beach. Reminded of the last time I’d been on the beach at dawn – the morning after a friend’s wedding on the Gold Coast – I thought the day presented me with the ideal opportunity to take in that ocean air and generally marvel at the wonder of nature.

After a few minutes sitting on the beach I walked towards the water. It was then I noticed an older man doing laps in the unofficial ocean pool. As the waves crashed around him, he looked up at me, and with a totally exhausted look on his face, acknowledged me in the kind of way that says, “what are you doing here?”. Making my way over towards the nearby rocks, I found myself a nice spot to watch the ocean. And despite the nearby woman with her child, and the backpackers sitting on the rock ledge above me, I felt some brief inner peace for just a moment.

And there’s nothing like a bit of nature to do that for you. Even though I’m not really a “beach person” (my skin is too pale and, since the light to too bright to read, I get bored sitting doing nothing), it was great to have a brief moment where I could re-connect with nature. As a “boy from the bush”, I need a bit of nature every so often, and I guess this early morning desire to visit the beach may have come from that inner desire to re-connect with some essential aspects of my soul. Spiritually revitalised, I headed back up the road, picked up the paper (nothing much to read), and had coffee and toast overlooking the beach.

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