As I sit indoors watching the wild winds toss the foliage and trees around outdoors and the blue sky shines down upon our lovely quiet housing estate, I can’t help but long for a little adventure.
A trip up the country.
Scenes of some mountains.
Or hills would do.
Anywhere but here indoors.
Then I feel a little embarrassed in talking about such longing as the wildfires devastate the west coast of the U.S. I watched some of the YouTubes on the fires a short time ago and once again, was horrified at so much loss on top of the massive COVID surges in the U.S. Then I thought about the other countries crushed with war and civil unrest. I thought about the millions starving and how each crisis was faced with courage and determination (to survive).
So I hope you won’t think me insensitive in wanting a little adventure at the moment.
Just like my maternal Grandmother, second from the left, in the picture below. it looks like she was a great walker and adventurer. Check out the old boots my female ancestors were wearing up in this gold-mining town.
OR my Mother in her youth – shown below with her bushwalking friends. I always think of my mother in her garden, cooking, sewing or doing something indoors.
It wasn’t until I found the photo below and a few others that I discovered she was a great bushwalker before she came to Melbourne and got married.
Back to the story………
Back in winter 2014, I felt like a little adventure too. Not having a car means some outings (or adventures), have to be fairly close to home or at least close to public transport.
I decided to catch the train down to the bayside beach I visited many times in my childhood.
One of my paternal Uncles lived there with his family so I knew it well.
(or I thought I did)
I remembered the fun we used to have in the large sand dunes and picnics on the soft deep sand, sheltering from the wind with our large colourful beach umbrella or spreading the large beach towels and picnic rug between 2 high sand dunes. My younger brother was still a baby, but that never stopped us having little adventures, either with just our parents, or with the family friends we shared so many happy school holidays with.
Note: the family beach scenes below were made at Portarlington, not Carrum, but they serve to illustrate the scene.
My older brother and I used to take running jumps from the top of the highest sand dune we could find…..as long as it had lots of tufts of coastal grass to make climbing in the deep soft sand easier.
I don’t remember much of my childhood but I do remember those jumping competitions.
I don’t have any photos of us walking along the beach at low tide, on wet sand at dusk or even exploring rock pools or shell strewed wet sand at low tide. But that’s what we did many, all those years ago.
I also loved to search for jellyfish in the receding tide. To find one of those fat, curly jellyfish was considered a rare prize.
I still love walking along the beach looking for unusual shells or clambering over rocks, peering into rock pools.
Anyway, I set off pretty early (for me) and walked down to the local train station on the 13th July 2014.
I ignored the weather forecast……….
…..despite it being mid-winter, very overcast and poor light for photography: for, after all, that’s the reason for my nature walks since retirement. Photography.
Something like an hour or more later, after stopping about 20 times for each suburban train station, (should have checked the time-table for an express train), I arrived at the tiny seaside town of Carrum.
It was nothing like the childhood memory. It wasn’t like a quaint seaside town.
No smell of hot fish and chips either.
Did we eat hot fish and chips down the beach on family outings I ask myself now? Probably not as we always packed a picnic lunch from home.
Carrum beach was all so very ordinary.
I finally found how to get to the beach via a side street from the train station platform and walked through a gap next to a beach house.
Where were all the spectacular sand dunes I remembered?
Why was the beach so narrow and what was that long boardwalk stretching far into the distance?
Had some of the beach washed away? Or was it just high tide? (Note: I didn’t think to look at the tidal info online before I left home).
I took a few quick photos and then dark storm clouds finally opened up and lashed the area with a torrential downpour.
Within about 15-20 minutes I gave up on my little adventure and still struggling to keep my umbrella from turning inside out and my camera bag and tiny backpack getting wet, I walked as quickly as I could back to the train station and caught the first available train home.
By the time I reached my own suburban train station the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful afternoon and a very enjoyable walk home.
There’s still that child in me that loves to explore, but perhaps I should REALLY look at the weather forecast in more detail AND perhaps I should just set off with no expectations in mind to avoid disappointment.
Some of my favourite memories and little adventures have come about in retirement, by just setting off from home, with no destination in mind, just out to enjoy whatever comes my way.