Cottesloe

Cottesloe

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against beaches.
I like beaches just fine.
I like the shared experience of a beach visit.
I like open water.I like the open sky.
But if it’s up to me, I’ll rarely suggest we go to a beach.

Maybe it’s having grown up near beaches, or maybe it’s the prospect of getting sand in everything, or maybe it’s just the appeal of other landmarks when I visit a place.
Beaches are just not that interesting to me.

So it was significant that I wanted to visit this particular beach.

Last year, I came across the song Carry You (specifically, the version that Tim Minchin and Missy Higgins performed together).

The first time you hear a song can really lock in what that song means to you.
I don't know what Carry You was originally written about.
Sometimes there's a choice to leave things out of frame.
Sometimes there's a choice to say things without saying them.
Sometimes what matters isn't mentioned by name.
Carry You had lyrics that let me feel like they were about my life.
I listened to it at a time when I was broken-hearted and merely going through the motions of life.
It made me feel a little more human, and that's something.

Anyway, Cottesloe was a character in this song and I wanted to see it while I was in town.

It was a rainy, windy winter day in Perth.
“A beautiful day for it,” they joked when they heard about the destination.

When I got out of the car, the wind tore my jacket open, pressed against my stride, and tousled my hair into disarray.
(Rude, if you ask me.)
But that was nothing compared to the way it changed the whole beach. It pulled the water up and over itself. It threw the sand in every direction. It made the ocean shout its song over everything else.

There’s a walkway that leads into the surf and I walked to the end of it, leaning through the rough and changing wind and infrequently tackled by waves that crashed high enough to reach the path.

Awe.
The unceasing roar of the ocean.
The commanding physical presence of the wind.
The way the sun poured through the sky full of clouds.
It made me feel small, but not separate.It’s a kind of deep pull in my chest combined with a raw aliveness and a slow rising excitement. Sort of.
I know the feeling well, but only violent nature can consistently replicate it.
It's a feeling of...I am definitely not in control here and it would be futile to fight the forces on display. But I’m completely safe and isn’t it glorious that I get to be a tiny part of this thing.

I didn’t expect it to be so profound, for a simple trip to the beach to make me feel so wonderfully alive and connected.
Even now, the memory of it feeds me.

I hope I get to see it again.
If that day comes, it can't possibly be the same; the weather can't be controlled like that and it won’t be the same beach and I won’t be the same person.
But it was a glorious display of what nature is capable of doing to me and I'm grateful to have experienced it.
So I'll keep the memory safe.
I'll write a long, flowery post about it and I'll treasure the photographs.