Time is crazy. I’ve been chatting with Cheshire and some friends back home. I think it is last night. I look at the dates on this blog and they are not necessarily reflective of when I posted. Not exactly. I acknowledge how tied I am to clock and calendar. How would I do in a Star Trek universe? Jumping galaxies, condensing and expanding time. I’m overthinking. I am inclined to hold the time differences in my head—it doesn’t work. I write, I post, I text. I just hope I haven’t woken anyone up.
Very slow day. Sleeping late for Julia. Easy breakfast and a bus ride to Bondi Beach. Lunch at Bondi Massive Cafe —the avocado mashed with edename, tomatoes with a bit of mint on toast with a poached egg on top is worth trying to recreate at home. Thank you to whoever told us about the place. Julia has a big veggie and rice filled wrap. On a travel plus side—julia can find something that she will eat at almost any restaurant. I know many kids on the spectrum who can’t. She is coloring a lot. We need to do school work but it can wait.
Bondi Beach. Surfing beach with waves breaking far out to ride in. Plenty of surfers out there on a winter’s day. Cool and jacket worth in the shade, warm in the sun. We have sweaters and windbreakers and are comfortable. Julia investigating rocks and looking for shells. I am perched on a lovely rock tapping. One guy with a metal detector walking the beach—is there one guy doing this on every beach? It feels so Jersey to me. Surfers paddle really far out and wait. And then, ride into the beach if they are lucky. I don’t think I’ve been to a real surfers beach before. I’ve never seen such long rides in my Jersey and Fire Island days. Of course, I might not have looked in the right places.
The sound of the Australian beach—waves, wind, children, sea gulls and the low murmur of a radio— is no different from Fire Island. Or Jersey. Oh, so good! We are going to walk from Bondi to Coogee and maybe beyond. And yet, I hate to move from this spot.
Sitting. I remember sitting in beach chairs with blankets with Jim Jones at Fire Island. Cheshire was an infant and I was on a rare nap break. We talked about how Cheshire had changed my life—so much time taken up with care and feeding. I was missing my indulgent pre-child time. How little I knew.
That was 31 years ago. I still miss talking to him. And Jon.
Two young girls—maybe 12 or 13– have been trying to get in the water the entire time I’ve been tapping. Inch by inch with many squeals and retreats. They are very silly, one falling down and pulling the other up when she extends a hand. Friends or sisters having an easy time together. I don’t thing I would have been so aware of their interaction before Julia.
Later, we made it to Waverley Cemetery, about two-thirds of the way from Bondi to Coogee. The walkway above the beach had been damaged in a 2016 storm and is being repaired. Julia was tired and I was concerned it would get dark before we made it to Coogee. We set out into the neighborhood to our cousin’s house. It was a shorter walk but one that took us up and down many steep hills—neither one of us appreciated the short cut.
If I was ever to be buried in a cemetery (which I’ve never wanted) it would be one overlooking the roar of an ocean. Such a place would please me, but more how lovely it would be for anyone who visited or passed by. Waverley Cemetery began in the 1870’s. Lots of large and ornate stones and monuments, unusual to us sayings, and enough decay and damage to lend an apprehensive air to the area. The feeling completely different from the beaches and cliffs.
I could not pass by the inscription. “Also Sarah widow of the above” At the very bottom of the large monument to a beloved Edward who predeceased her by 30 years. Questions bloomed—was she not so beloved? Had the economic conditions of the family changed? Was there no one to whom she was singular and special? Found a few other examples, men and women, partners who were remembered as ‘also’. The time after a partner leaves can be a time of also. How easy it is to sink into the also. And yet, rather stubbornly what comes to mind this morning is a line from a Mary Oliver poem.
“Tell me, what is it you plan. To do with your one wild and precious life?”
Indeed. And yes.