This overnight camp and coastal walk represented unfinished business for Tresh and I.
On a clear day in July last year he and I had walked the coastline from Kings Head (near Victor Harbour). As the light faded on that day we rested at Coolawang Cove. I remember a moment where we exchanged a look that said silently, There’s no place I’d rather be now than right here.
Then we had to be elsewhere as we were due to meet our lift some distance along the road that lay inland. We carried away with us though the desire to return here, recapture the moment and then continue our exploration of the coastline to the west.
And so after a few months and a brief walk there we were sitting around a fire indulging in a elongated moment wrapped in the ethereal stillness of nature’s dusk.
We cooked, ate, sipped 18 year single malt and talked whilst our eyes mapped the circling southern cross late into the night.
I welcomed sleep and the dawn too which seemed to come quickly. I lay snug in my bivy and cocooned from the heavy dew and sat watching the waves at eye level.
Knowing the day was going to be warm we packed up and began walking aiming to breakfast at Ballaparuda Beach about 4km to the west.
We followed sheep tracks and a dashed blue line of spray paint which hinted at a re-route for the Heysen Trail. If this was so likely it would mean that the trail would continue along the coast and walkers wouldn’t need to walk along hard-under-foot roads to return to the beaches and grassy headland.
On the top of the cliffs we diverted to a Tanglewood, a copse of wind shaped trees whose limbs made a contorted grab for the ground, a likely resistance to the winds of the Southern Ocean.
We continued along our way till the flat cliff top fell steeply away to the tan sands of Ballaparuda Beach.
Amongst the ants and driftwood we made our breakfast fire and set about toasting and boiling whilst before us the shadow of the hill we had descended headed the way we had come.
Reflecting now on this fast moving shadow it seems to me that this entire outing (from leaving the car as the sun faded, through night, day break and the suns now rapid rise to its zenith) saw us witness to the earth’s celestial dance with the sun. Locked into its rotation and solar orbit we watched night and day trading places more than once. The Southern Cross with its nightly circling another part of the skies choreography.
Living and working in buildings, traveling in cars, eyes locked into screens its easy to loose my connection to the planets great orbiting show. But get away from my life’s daily groove, even for a brief while, and open myself wide I find the song becomes a symphony. The scale is grand, off the chart of my comprehension, but something is retained, some vibration that keeps the symphony humming once daily life is resumed.
And that was true this time as every time before. Within the hour we had navigated the hills and fences inland and were in the car doing 80. Home and family was not far beyond that.
I returned a little richer.