On the jetty, Edithburgh, at dusk

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I’m just watching. It’s all I want to do right now.

The jetty is warm.

The fisher people are patient, they move in and out of all the rooms of the evening. They are on the jetty looking for squid. One man handles his rod as if it is a pencil. He only needs one hand, light, delicate. He writes on the water. He leans over, frowning, as if looking for mistakes.

There is a child who is running in circles with a green bucket. The father says, ‘Here, bring it back.’ The mother continues to hold the line, staring downwards. She is wearing raspberry coloured sports shoes. She is blown about, swaying, and looking downwards, into the water, looking for signs in the green, green water, wondering how to improve things.

One man sits in a chair. He wears shorts, a singlet and rubber boots. He says, ‘Away then, away then, come on you.’  The next man is motionless.

The child is chasing seagulls. They hop backwards, an inch, another inch. She is so fast; they must hop back…two inches this time, hop, hop, and then they tilt their heads. She stretches and dips. Maybe she will put a seagull in her bucket. But she can’t, her father is calling and calling, ‘Here…. where’s me bucket…?’

The jetty is warm.

My family land a squid and it releases its life, in ink. Heads turn. Heads nod.

They are going for green tonight. They only want the green jigs. The information is passed on.

The sun settles, depressed, smoky. It can’t get clean. The eyes of the squid are wet emeralds, soft and gone. More fisher people pass us, heading for a place on the jetty, finding it, a precise place, a warm spot that works for them. They stop to prepare fishing rods, put down a plastic bucket and kneel to the sun.

My family land another squid; it releases another finale, across the jetty, ink, fire, a catastrophe, whatever. The running child with the green bucket pauses, glances across the stain,  reads it, moves on, calls back, ‘Got it’. She runs and leaps, entirely alive.

I am only watching.

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Noah and Max unpack the entire tent

2018-01-12 12.34.59.jpgNoah and Max have so much to do. There is an entire landscape of camping supplies to process and record.

They are each making new maps, superior charts that include sound, shape,  heat and hunger.

Babies are master cartographers. No corner that is valuable will be missed. Nothing that is useless today need be included. The maps of babies are not cluttered with regret or objectives.

Instead they are inked with the tiny details of small details such as the pull of muscle against saucepan, the tight clang of enamel bowls and the wind under canvas. They both want the broom. They record the hands of each other,  sticky on the broom handle.  They blink at light through mesh.

Abruptly there is a new sound,  it is footsteps on gravel and the pace and weight of this noise has been recorded before.  This information has a high yield. It is Pa, passing by with fishing rods and both infants become still,  noting the intrusion,  mouths remain open and then he is gone.  They taste the retreat, process the loss and Max allows a short scream of rage.  Noah maps Max’s scream of rage.

Then they press faces against the mesh windows again,  snuffle at sunlight and heat, sand and dry grass, three seagulls and the sea in the distance and somebody filling a bucket with water. A plastic cup is breezed off the table.  They stare at the cup rolling on the ground.

Suddenly there is no more information they can contain, the maps are full. They reject every new voice and ward off every new idea. They hurl strawberries to the ground and tie their distress to their parents with loud and elaborate knots. For the next few hours they can only be towed.

 

Noah and Linden

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Noah’s hand is so small that it can only just hang onto his Pa’s thumb. But he holds onto it, not even knowing that he does. His Pa is 193cm tall and Noah is 65cm tall. Noah’s Pa towers over him, a monument of strength and gentleness. Noah is protected on all sixty sides. Who knows what his life might be. Maybe he also will grow tall and true – if all goes well. If all does not go well, he will probably grow tall and true anyway. He has, after all, stories, music and parents that gaze at him for hours on end. And outside, he has a small vegetable garden, windy days and opportunities to look all around while sitting on an ordinary lawn.