Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tuesday January 11 1972. 

We set off early, moving eastwards slowly. In this heavily forested part of Western Australia, every town seemed to have a name ending in '-up': Manjimup, Kojonup, Ballingup, Nannup, Jerramungup. They are all aboriginal names. (I wonder what Kojonup means?)

Driving beneath forest canopies all day is strangely fascinating, particularly since most of our journey before Perth was across flat sandy desert. Like going from the Sahara into the Amazon.

After all the '-up' towns, it was somewhat odd that at the end of the day - which found us back on the coastline - we stayed overnight at a town with the unlikely name of Denmark.

Denmark is of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It is set in a small inlet off the Southern Ocean, framed by forested hills on one side and the sea on the other.

The camping ground at Denmark was carved out of natural bushland. Unmade pathways led in between trees and around hedges. It was overgrown and contained a series of dells and groves. Uncle had cleverly parked the caravan half under a high, dense overhanging shrub of some description. It was shady inside the 'van. In winter you would have called it cosy.

I spent the rest of the day exploring the sand dunes along the bay. I thought to myself, 'This is the kind of place I would like to live in one day.'


Next morning, early, perhaps six o'clock, the tide was out. I walked out across the sand flats. There were pelicans, sandpipers, gulls and marshbirds of various kinds - all in their hundreds. I climbed the rocks at the edge of the sand flats and climbed to the top of the highest sand dune beyond the rocks.

I looked back over the sand flats, silky smooth in the early morning light, just a kiss of rosy orange from the east. Some pelicans rose in the air. Such heavy, ungainly birds - how can they fly? They wheeled around, the sun's rays touched them and they were gone, golden specks disappearing towards the north, inland.


On the radio in the caravan:

it is the special one
it never sees the sun
it only comes up
when the moon is on the run
and all the stars are gleaming
it´s growing in the street
right up through the concrete
but soft sweet and dreamy

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

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