Alfred was a friend of mine who died of old age. I say old age but the hospital would tell you it was stroke. Alfred 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 Alfred. 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 Agrippa ple 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. Alfred