The small turbo engine plane found its way out of Perth through a blue eye that peered from a darkened sky. Just over an hour later, it was late afternoon when I arrived in Esperance. It felt like the middle of winter. Cold, dark, wet and windy. In fields, now greener than they were last month, black faced sheep kept their lambs close to them. Closer to my hotel, the young Pacific Gull fished out a crab and feasted on it in my presence. Perhaps the animals sensed the imminent storm that was to hit the next day.
I woke to the sound of rain. The Bay, usually calm, gushed waves over the rock wall. It rained for hours. The wind howled. With no electricity, none of the three cafes could serve early breakfast. I went to work hungry and craving a hot coffee. The weather was consistent all day. Just after ten am I felt the sofa slide, just a bit, to the left. Then heard and felt the grind of rock on rock. Alarmed I looked at the person I was with. She confirmed “that’s an earthquake”! It was a tremor from a 4.4 earthquake in another town, some 200 kms away. The 11th tremor to be felt in Esperance in a few days.
Trapped in a hotel due to poor weather, I craved being outdoors with my camera. The gods were kind to me. As I drove to the airport to return home, the sun came out briefly. I took five minutes to drive to Lake Warden and found winter colour in the bush. The yellow acacia tree was in full bloom. So also the red bottlebrush. Gorgeous pink flowers hung low on the Silver Princess gum trees while pink protea below waited to bloom. I also found some very delicate gum flowers, pale pink almost lavender. I hadn’t seen these before. In a field across the road, the sun shone brighter for a few seconds, illuminating the blonde Scottish Highland cattle and setting it aglow. These are moments captured to savour in my own time.
They say pink is the colour of hope. The word Esperance, translated in French, means hope. It is also known for the Pink Lake. But never before have I enjoyed the pinks of Esperance as I did this trip when it was dark and grey. The pinks in blooms were vivid. In the midst of winter, they signalled spring. And why shouldn’t they? Isn’t that what hope is all about?
Until next time,
a dawn bird