Watching Winston’s Waves
In the silence of the night, I heard them. A long smooth shshissshhissh made of a million sounds merging. White noise made of waves. Sound waves. Ocean waves. Winston’s waves.
When morning woke, I rode to the beach to see what he was bringing.
Ex-tropical cyclone Winston is about 1,000 kilometres east of Brisbane and moving west into the Coral Sea. Last weekend he passed through Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean, as a Category 5 Tropical Cyclone, leaving thousands of homes destroyed and 42 lives lost.
All week the surf has been building. No surfing for me this week though. I know my limits and I know they’re different to what they once were. My physical strength has changed over time but not the sea’s.
When my family moved to live by the beach, my father told my brother and me, ‘never lose your respect for the sea’ and always added, ‘if you do, that’s when you’ll get into strife’. His words weren’t about fearing the sea, as many do. They were about respecting the power of the sea, always.
And when the powerful waves carry their shshissshhissh three kilometres to my nighttime ears, I know it’s not time to surf but time to make my way to the altar of the sea, that edge, blurred and shifting where water meets sand and rock, grass and trees. It’s time to watch in awe as the ocean’s wildness tames the beach, its swimmers, its surfers and me.
I love the reminder it brings.
A video of scenes from this morning’s high tide at Currumbin Alley…