In this briefing from the sports desk, Gonzo spirit well lubricated, my fingers sticky with cheap wine and promise, I bring you news of my new office, perched high above Black Betty’s slick flanks, with panoramic views of the ocean. Somnolent dunes reach high above the water line, strangling vegetation sends out tendrils to choke and maim just metres from my feet and there is silence.
The baby is asleep. So is the husband. All is good in the world.
Birrubi Point is at the northern tip of Stockton Bight, the infamous shifting sands that claims sailors and their ships, a skeletal coast that shivers and sighs, a lost world inhabited by monster trucks and lary drivers, rangy dogs, surfers and their chicko-roll-munching molls, wary dingos and pairs of pied oyster catchers, who mate for life, tottering in tandem along the edge of the sands searching for unwary bivalves.
I am caught in time, the gilded nostalgia of the late 70s and early 80s my camp looking-glass. The air tastes simple, a heady scent of hot chips, surf, sand, Hawaiian Tropic and the hairy breath of excited dogs as they skitter and pound at the water’s edge. The relentless crashing of the waves on the shore is nature’s lullaby, while young magpies warble and trill in the hope of a feed and seagulls hunt for chips.
As I type on the laptop, tethered to the internet on my iPhone, with a solar panel providing back-up power, an inverter at my feet, a trusty technician snoring close by, the irony of this idyllically simple life bristling with technology is not lost on me. But when I flick the switch the peace is golden.
Birrubi is Worimi land, 4200 hectares of conservation park. The land and waters have been used for many thousands of years for living, gathering food, as a meeting place and corroboree site. Middens line the high tide mark, stretching for miles beneath the surface creating an ancient time lock. The sands hold the secrets and stories of the Worimi’s relationship and special connection with the earth.
Beyond the beach front, the swamp-like swales are dotted with wetland areas where fresh water and the tide suck and glut in a race for supremacy, leaving a brackish film of water on the surface. Dig down a little and pools of fresh water slake your thirst, while the emerald fringe of Swamp Mahogany and Paperbark trees lure you into their dank coolness.
As the sun sets, bleeding out across the sky, I am lost in the dreaming.