Sunday, 12 August 2012

Out to sea



We gathered on the beach despite the black rainclouds massed on the horizon and waited for the digger driver to finish his cup of tea before he climbed back behind the controls. The waves were breaking against the caterpillar tracks as he scooped the last few shovels of sand out of the channel and the brown water started flowing seaward. Within a day the giant sandcastles heaped alongside had been washed away and the water was flowing strongly right up to the cliffs.

It is a special moment for this town whenever the inlet breaches the sandbar. It used to happen naturally, but declining rainfall and valuable farmland which turns into swamp come the end of winter means the town's folk now dig it out themselves. They once used a horse and dray, and would raffle off the last scoop of sand. Protestors who believe it should be opened further to the east have even been known to come under cover of darkness and dig it out by hand.

We went back to look at the cut yesterday and marveled at all that water which had so quickly reshaped the landscape. The bike racks and bridge were once more on dry land, and the paddock which was just days' earlier a lake was now a boggy mire of brown grass. The small hillock of sand I had climbed to photograph the spectacle for the newspaper was nowhere to be seen. I ran along the river trail this morning, the rain falling softly on my shoulders and the sheep shying away as I jogged past. The track has been under water for the past month and mine were the first footprints to mark the fine silt that covered the broken slabs. I came home soaked through and happy. It has rained steadily all day. My footprints would by now have been washed out to sea.





1 comment:

  1. This must have had every little kid around watching the proceedings. Digger, sand, water... kiddo heaven.

    Such a beautiful spot. I love looking at your blog photos Alison.

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