Second swim

It’s stinking hot – 41 degrees here, 43 plus in the city. The drive from the Wonthaggi Museum to Cape Paterson’s Bay Beach is sticky and uncomfortable. I long for the cool relief of the water. It will be my second swim for the day. Earlier this morning, the ocean was dead calm. Diving into the crystal-clear azure offered immediate relief from the heat. I swam about 50m, out into the middle of the bay, before turning back to face the shoreline. I lingered there for a quarter of an hour, treading water and planning my day, reading, ferreting, puzzling, searching, speculating – my attempt at connecting dots, piecing together stories and recounting histories.

Plenty had already found their way to the water: families, couples with pre-school children, and the elderly – the retired, semi-retired and leisurely settling in for a day in the sun. I paid them little heed while paddling. Instead, I looked to the clifftop, where land meets the sky. Beach houses, discussions, play equipment, planning overlays, parked cars, wooden signs, and watercourses. A world of interconnected possibilities, all beneath blue skies. Objects are a document of their times, so they say, but what about the relationships and associations? Where do they fit in? How are they documented?

Now it’s late afternoon, I again find myself submerged in a cooling sea. I haven’t ventured out quite as deep this time, I stand upright, feet planted on the sand so that the water laps at my neck. The sky has changed, its mood offers the first sign of the cool change that will soon hit. The air is still hot, but the gloom is ominous. The ocean becomes sombre and moody, reflecting the heavy bank of grey cloud that looms closer. My eyeline sits at the waterline which stretches toward a barely distinguishable horizon. The steely grey ocean laps indifferently at the verge of the coming storm. With the work and thinking of the day done, I can reflect and ponder. I speculate on existential things, life after death, climate change, bushfires, corruption, inaction, and my inability to concentrate for any extended period of time. I think of the people who have trodden this land before me and swum these seas. I think of the people who might tread after me and the fish in the water that surround me.

Did you know that, just like birds, fish sing to the sun?