I’m in Busselton, just a short 45 minute drive further south from Bunbury. It takes me an hour and twenty minutes due to road works. I have carried the misery of gridlocked city traffic with me to the country. I work the day steadily. By four pm the stress of early delay catches up with me. A long monotonous trip home is shelved and I decide to make this place home for a night.
On a previous trip I succumbed to the seduction of Geographe Bay, and return to it. My heart skips a beat. It is blue as his eye when I get to its shore. Soon, I, along with a seagull, watch it turn from sedate as silver to brashy show time at sunset.
I wake before the sun, dress in the dark, work for an hour and leave my room hurriedly. I am not the first one at the Bay, now serene as a nun, amid the cacophony of raucous Little Corellas. Three workers in high viz clothing are a vivid splash against the grey sombre. A carer and an elderly lady in a wheelchair are there too, talking in hushed tones. They have been here for a while. A half eaten plate of home made sandwiches sits on the stone wall before them. A father, power walking his infant in a stroller, leaves the mother home to catch up on sleep. An experience I know well from years ago and a time of my life that brings with it mixed emotion. I am still uncertain whether the end of a long relationship was meant to be punitive. But I do know, like a seagull, I walk away from the memory of it, head held high.
I have come to visit royalty of this region, the Busselton Jetty. The 1.8 km jetty, the longest in the Southern Hemisphere, is a good walk at any time. It curves lightly, like a genteel arm, across the shoulder of the Bay. Like me, another photographer packs away gear and leaves reluctantly.
I decide to treat myself to breakfast at The Goose on the shores of the Bay. It is perfect! I share the moment instinctively with a friend thousands of km away. I find equilibrium again. The incongruity of timeless Motown beats in the background is just an added bonus. Fascinated by their simplicity, which some regard as blandness, I watch seagulls. They are a constant reminder to me, ordinary can be perfect, and, especially when silhouetted against the most glamorous of backgrounds. Yes, despite all odds, I am happy. When my earthly journey ends, I want my children to know I am still travelling, and as before, chasing sunrises, sunsets and seagulls.
The South West of this State nurtures me. I have been convinced for years, if my vital signs were checked just past Windich Bridge, they would read within the normal range. I love the lifestyle of fresh produce, less reliance on super markets, beaches (although you can find them anywhere along the coast of WA, they seem more accessible regionally), and diversity of birdlife. It is an easier pace. I also know should I leave the city, I will never return. Ambivalent it may be, but I have a relationship with Perth. It has been home for over forty years. Walking away is a major decision. But, I have walked away before, holding the hands of little children, and with the crushing weight of love in my heart.
I started my business with the phrase leave the ordinary behind. Perhaps I need to give serious thought to applying it to other areas of my life. I offer a silent toast to this option sipping the last drops in the mason jug, aptly, or perhaps, prophetically named, ‘Happiness’ (beetroot, orange and lemon).
For now, there’s more travel, more photographs, more words to come … until then,
a dawn bird