AFTER THE STORM, Venus Bay Circa, 2001/3
She had never felt so small, so completely vulnerable. The storm raged above, around the tiny Cedar Cottage…..screaming, wailing winds battering the walls, and nearby, behind the sand dunes at the bottom of her garden, the roar of the ocean, so beloved….now terrifying. Curled into herself beneath a pile of quilts, she understood the way the wild winds had shaped the trees…..the coastal Banksias, their twisted forms leaning almost horizontal, like huge, ancient, Bonsais.
When morning came, the storm gone…..she went out, exploring.
The two dogs running ahead, they turned towards the Surf Club, closed now for Winter.
Up the winding road, to the steps leading down to the sea.
Torn away in the night!!!
Yesterday, grassy topped sand dunes sloped gently to the beach below, with chained wooden steps leading downwards from the road.
The dogs ran back and forth across new ground….a jagged cliff created overnight…..the stormy seas gouging huge chunks of dunes away…..tearing the chained steps down to a crumpled mass way below near the water’s edge.
And far off, along the beach, a fur seal, sitting in enormous splendour , head tilted upwards…facing the cliff.
And so, sliding down the unstable ground…..they went to see.
Dead, and yet so life like, still.
Fearful, hackles ridged along their backs, the dogs circled cautiously, a constant low growling.
It was an incredible thing to behold , so close, towering above them all, unbelievably dead in its great looming presence.
Later, she spoke with her friend, a local Wildlife Carer, who had been called to the seal, earlier in the day.
What had killed it, yet left it so perfect???
Worn teeth….unable to feed (it looked sleek and fat)
Injured by something in the storm???
No answers, only more questions, and the image of it seared into her brain…..an awesome presence, so alive in death to be fearful, yet gone….just like the storm.
Gone, peaceful, perfect.
MA©️. Winter 2018