CJ was a friend of mine who died of old age. I say old age but the hospital would tell you it was stroke. CJ would have told you it was because his body betrayed him.
After going for a run this morning I climbed down the 74 steps for a morning swim. The water was cold and the waves messy. I ducked, floated and dived before finally letting the waves wash me back in. As I walked back up the steps struggling with my damp t-shirt I thought about CJ. He loved Murrays beach, he pulled out the bitou bushes, to give the native plants a chance, and he picked up the rubbish people left behind. He planted grass and pandanaus palms to stabilise the sand dunes, he wrote many lovely poems about his ‘ancient beach’.
I hope his family won’t mind if I share one here:
My Ancient Beach
The over-arching vault of peerless blue sky.
The metamorphic tongue of blackened rock
lancing the beach of spangling brightness
to islands beyond the surf,
now rookeries for tern and gull.
The pineappled pandanus standing stark
its roots tracking nutrients and water
as it leaches back to the sea.
Crackling waves kiss the beach today
swirling round the polished pebbles
which I sample for my Shinto garden.
The search for tranquility in my life
comes closer to fruition here
and like some druid admiring Nature
I leave offerings by taking rubbish away
pulling out weeds and starting out
a host of young pandanus
to reach out and touch the sky.