Sunday, January 22, 2012

Over the hill, I met the sea

Last weekend whilst in Berry, I managed to find time to do part of the Kiama Coast Walk from Werri Lagoon to Kiama.  Unlike in the UK, Australian farmers don't usually allow 'ramblers' to walk across their land. However, the local council has managed to come to an arrangement with local farmers and landowners to allow public access to the coastline.

I was almost the only person on the trail that day. The sight of the swell rolling in from the horizon, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks below, the smell of sea salt rising up over the cliffs and the rustle of the wind as it flew over the long grass that coated the hills: there was absolutely nothing man made to be seen. I felt like a privileged intruder in this foreign landscape. As if I was being allowed to experience it as it would be when no one was looking, when it was alone. The rocks wore the marks of a million year old conversation between the land and the sea. It was a stark reminder of the unerring endurance of this place, and of my own transience in it.  But for the high-pitched chatter of the sea-gulls that hung only metres above the ocean, I could have believed that no one had noticed me. But the sea saw me on the hill.

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