Salute to the Sea: A Short Story

The Australian coastline is a glistening ribbon of beauty. It is what defines us as Australians and what separates us from the rest of the world. Our philosophy is that just as we can shape the environment to suit us, the environment plays a similar game; always shaping and moulding us into the people we were, are and will become. We asked some of our readers to consider their relationship with the Australian landscape. Here’s what one lovely lady had to say.  

 

Words by Rachael Scott

Art by Yasmin Kalia

 

It is 6am. My room is frozen in the grey-blue twilight before dawn. My bed and I are locked in a warm embrace.

 

My sleep is interrupted by claps of thunder on the stairs. It’s Dad. In his goddamn sandals. Struggling with sleep paralysis, I force my heavy lids to open a fraction, and I see him softly lit by the waking sun. The bed gives way as he sits down, rolling my sleepy body so it’s curved around him like a cocoon. His eyelashes are cemented by sleep and he lets out an immense yawn. Our cat trots in, on the prowl for company.

I feel the weight on the bed shift again, as he jumps up to join us.  He sniffs around, sensing the foreign presence in his territory, eventually realising it’s just me.   He trips over my limbs, finding the crook of my neck and nestles in. Dad is playing with my ears; his index finger tracing the shell-like contours, the complex architecture of cartiliage. Dad’s hands are like leather, smooth, soft and gentle – Doctor’s hands that are caring and concerned.

Tibby purrs.

My sentiments exactly.

 

This lasts for a moment until Dad whispers, ‘Let’s go!’ and I reluctantly roll out of bed and follow him out the door.

 

We grab the bikes and head out into the clear, crisp September morning,

The wind grabs at me, easing the tendrils of sleep from my body and stinging my eyes. We pedal through the sleepy streets, tinged with pink and gold. The sun is rising.

 

We head down a beach road that is bordered by a chaotic jumble of tea trees, banksias and spinifex grass. Throwing the bikes down on the path, we dash across the sand, drawn to the sound of the sea and the immense orb of golden light peeking over the horizon. Dad lifts his arms backwards, his head forward like an aeroplane mimicking the action we all used to perform as kids. I squeal and run faster- it’s a race. The heaving mass of water moves closer and closer until we make one final leap into the waves.

 

Time stands still, gravity vanishes and all sound is extinguished. My heart rate slows yet my skin is on fire. I remain underwater and open my eyes to an immense and endless blue, tinged with gold. I surface with a gasp. Salty and awake.

 

We walk up the beach, feeling both warm and cool at the same time as our body radiates heat through our cold skin. We watch the sun complete its ascent above the horizon, and turn back homeward for a cup of tea.

We are children of the sun and the sea, this is our ritual.

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IG:

Rachael Scott: @rrachscott

Yasmin Kalia: @yasminkalia

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