GITA IRWIN: Visual Media

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Mystery and Wonder:Thursday 22nd October 2009

Posted by gitairwin on October 24, 2009 at 9:15 AM

Diary entry for Thursday 22nd October 2009:

It is cool and overcast, so different from the 30' degree heat wave of yesterday.  Some may even label it gloomy but I don't. I like it.

There's a sense of mystery and magic in the air - a sense of wonder in the universe undulating in the earth around me.  The waves ripple with it, the air pulses with it, and the earth hums with it.  It is an indefinable stirring of energy but it is there.


I'm doing the 5km walk from Waverley to South Coogee, past Trenerry Reserve to the furthest shore where the cliff walk ceases. At the south Cooge e end, making my way back to Trenerry Reserve, there is a miniature wilderness beside the sea which is most appealing, where the local council is trying to retain the natural peat moats and native scrub bush. Walking beside the marsh ferns on one side, and the craggy sandstone jutting out by the ocean opposite, looking up and pondering the sky so densely clouded yet softly grey, and alternating to stare at the ocean, a leaden silver blue like an unpolished jewel, I experience a vibration of slowly growing anticipation.  There is a sense of expectancy.

I don't know what it is, so I walk on.  Inside of me, I am waiting, waiting, and waiting. There is nothing more than a feeling, so I walk on.  

And then it happens.  A spout of water shoots out of the ocean.  At first there is one, then two jets of water thrusting out.  And a large dark dorsal fin crests to the surface and breaks the waves.  Then another fin fractures the calm water.  Several of the cliff-walkers stop midstride and stare.  I am transfixed by it.

More of the marine bodies break the wave surface than submerge again, and if what I'm seeing on the surface is any measure - than what's underneath must be some leviathan.  I've never seen a whale before, except for the skeleton in the Australian Museum.  I know, from new articles, that they've been seen off the shores of Sydney beaches before.  But in my quarter century years plus, living and growing up near the beaches, I've never seen one whale.  And here is two of them.

Even a couple of joggers with their IPODS fixed in place, who were oblivious to their surroundings two minutes ago, have stopped and stared.  Then after several appearances - a fin, a back, a bit of a tail - the whales go as quietly as they came, with only the distant whoosh of blasts of water to mark their departure.

A pale grey heron glides past me in the air, and in one graceful fluid movement, it lands on the plateau below.  Wings tucked neatly back, narrow beak and long neck cocked to the side, regarding me.  

Across the bridge of ferns, where a collage of small boulders dots the shoreline only a few paces from me, one of the boulders stirs.  Intrigued, I look closer.  A small faun coloured little dome moves and reveals an aquiline head, a curved beak, and glittering watchful black eyes.  It is a sparrowhawk.  It too regards me for a moment.  There is a silent communion between us - a shared feeling.  Then it spreads its wings and takes flight.

A drop falls from the sky but it doesn't rain.  One single drop.

Yes it is a magical day.  A day of mystery and wonder. 

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