Jul 27, 2009

The Path Not Taken

In recent weeks, Rocky and I have spent our mornings exploring the stretch of St Kilda beach that starts at the grassy park in front of the white

Michael Gawenda

I am a journalist and writer

In recent weeks, Rocky and I have spent our mornings exploring the stretch of St Kilda beach that starts at the grassy park in front of the white painted  lighthouse beside the Elwood Marina and ends at the outcrop of porous sand- coloured rocks which mark the boundary, the transition, from St Kilda to the more up market Albert Park beach. It was at Albert Park, when we walked there, that we found that both the breeding of the dogs and their human companions was rather more clear and well-defined than in polyglot St Kilda. The dogs in the main were of a recognisable breed and their human companions, in my long dead mother's lexicon were mostly goyim, a term that strictly speaking, was applicable to all non-Jews, but which she used to describe `old' Australians, but not, as far as I can remember, the Greeks and Italians and Yugoslavs of our Fitzroy neighborhood who like us, were lumped together as wogs.

Just why we have confined ourselves  in recent times to this kilometre long strip of beach is unclear, though I am not displeased that we have done so. Each morning, the light is different, sometimes dramatically so, depending on the shape and color and drift of the clouds. Each morning the contour of the shoreline changes depending on the tides and the state of the moon. The birds come and go according to a rhythm that is beyond our understanding, the black swans in particular, are capricious in their habits, there some mornings in numbers, some in repose on the sand while others swim beside the pier in formation like synchronised swimmers resting between their routines. At other times the swans are away somewhere--perhaps on the beach at Albert Park performing for the goyim?  To a large extent I hold Rocky responsible for our St Kilda confinement.

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One thought on “The Path Not Taken

  1. Averil Bones

    I am living something of harbourside Sydney, and when I walk down to the local jetty I pretty much look across at Turnbull’s mansion. There’s something about the harbour that has me captivated. It’s not the pricey real estate, or the views so much. It’s the stingrays and the surprising garfish. It’s the fairy penguins and the green and yellow ferries that, if you know where to get on and off, you can ride all day for free. I guess it’s much the same over Malcolm’s way, but I don’t think Crabb would know enough to sit under a nice shady fig and watch the tide creep up the sandstone crevices, lift up all the rickety sail boats.

    Just so you know, underneath all that clever, rich, ruthless concrete, the Kirribilli that once was – in truth ‘good fishing spot’ – is right there, like Playing Beattie Bow, shimmering beneath the surface. And like all the laboured stitches that make up our vast embroidery of humanity, I’m sure your childhood is there, just like mine, swimming, flashing like a rare and sudden iridescent fish.

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