I’m leaving home today and do so with great anticipation. I’m off to Esperance again. The word Esperance, roughly translated from French means hope, or a positive expectation. In a busy month, these trips are just that. The thought of a visit to this part of the world anchors me amid the disruption of frequent travel.
I love visiting this little town of some 10,000 people who enjoy a magnificent coastline. It is a country of farmlands and fishing. A place where locals enjoy their home by early morning walks along The Esplanade, surfing the waters of West Beach with dolphins, or walking their Shetland ponies in bushland. Proud of their lifestyle, they share their home generously, too, with others. But it takes a while to be considered local. I’m told, the minimum is 25 years. Every time I leave town, I leave with a firmer resolve to make an attempt to qualify.
My visits run to a routine. I arrive after a bumpy flight on a small plane and land at one of the windiest airports in the Southern Hemisphere. The airport is small and isolated. The drive to town is about 22 km along roads that run parallel to farmlands. At night, with only headlights to navigate the dark, I am even more cautious of encountering a kangaroo or fox. After a busy work schedule, I find time at dawn and at dusk to visit the beach or bush, to unwind with my camera. It is not a perk. It is an absolute must for self-care. My work is emotionally demanding. Self-care is a new concept to me but one I embrace wholeheartedly. I don’t need to do much in this town to nurture my spirit. It is that kind of town. Coming over a crest, I am overcome with awe at my first glimpse of West Beach. Every time. The drive along Twilight Beach Road quickens my pulse. It is nothing short of breathtaking. Turning away from the blues of the ocean is never an easy task, but made easier by birds or small animals in the scrub. Early one morning I found the cutest tiny black and white rabbits at Observatory Point. Startled by my presence, they were too quick to photograph. But, now I know they are there, the challenge is on!
Like a relationship, I am getting to know each aspect of this town slowly, and delight in what I find. It has everything that makes my heart sing. Spectacular coastline, and wildlife. It has the best of beach and bush. It is a place where grandeur is not only framed on a large scale, it is also in miniature frames. Birdlife is everywhere – on water, in the air, in the bushland. I have learnt to be cautious about snakes. Watching dolphins enjoy their swim with surfers at West Beach is a must see. Not just for the spectacle but for the joy in people’s faces as they observe the interaction. I am convinced the dolphins delight in their company as much as the surfers. I have yet to see whales frolic in the bays but hear they visit frequently during migration. The banksia cones are gorgeous and I never tire photographing them. My love for this town is obvious but will be even more so in the coming months when I post a series of photographs.
Just over 700 km southeast of Perth, the world is as it should be. Beautiful. Inviting. Welcoming. Peaceful. Rugged. Untouched. I am a visitor to this world.
As visitor I am respectful of the environment as it is home to the locals. Which leaves me with a thought. We are all visitors to Planet Earth. If we considered the planet in the same way, that is, it is home to us and the home of other people, would our attitudes change? Would we live mindfully? Would we live differently?
I’ll leave you with this thought until I return …
a dawn bird