Shifting sands

by Vivien Mitchell June 20, 2018

Shifting sands

There is something about the changing beach profile of my local Town Beach that got me thinking about the whole sea change experience.  Nothing ever stays the same, and despite our habits and efforts to keep things constant, our lives are in evolution.   When you visit somewhere or go to work every day, or follow the same routine, it’s hard to pick up on the nuance of change.

But it’s happening.

When my family was getting ready to leave Canberra in January last year, I had this great big vision to keep a regular blog.  You know, a kind of episodic Year in Provence type thing, the sort of wildly successful blog that you read about online.  One that starts as a journal, pretty much just for you, family and a few friends.  Perhaps a little cathartic in the issues it addresses, one that resonates with a few folk and eventually amasses tens of thousands of followers.  I named it The Sea Word before even leaving town.

Am I there yet? Um, no, because I only write like twice a year.  Ok, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. But the sort of thing that holds me back is a fear of rejection. Or having to admit to myself that once I hit ‘publish’ I revert to a younger self, to those seemingly distant days before smart phones - even before mobile phones, when the only way we could talk was by landline.   You know that feeling when you used to sit by the phone, waiting for it to ring? Waiting for that call to organise a first date or bff to phone so you could sit in your dad’s office for a whole hour and just talk the world away? Now it’s about notifications.  Once you hit publish, it’s hard not to get sucked into a ‘like’ vortex, where you’re looking for validation on the post you just put out there.

Nope, you're right, so far I haven't said much about beach profiles - yet. It's been more about social media profiles. Beaches are not static.  You kinda think that a beach is a beach, and that it will stay pretty much the same year in, year out, but that’s not at all correct.  Sands keep shifting and the high and low tide marks change, too.  Once you’ve been visiting a stretch of sand on a daily basis for over a year, you really start to see that it isn’t the same at all.  And it can happen so fast.  Add a huge swell for a few days, a massive coastal low pressure system and the whole thing is eroded away.  Or perhaps has been deposited somewhere else.

Our ‘normal’, our daily reality has entirely shifted.

Sometimes, sand migrates and creates an altogether new part of the beach.  This kind of renewal (it may be less renewal and more replenishment) is visible and exciting. It’s a bit of a wake-up call, when perhaps you've been taking something for granted or realising that someone is actually quite gorgeous once you get to know them.   It’s like looking at something with the fresh eyes of a child, delighting in discovery and experience by just being there.

What lies underneath can be exposed.  When a whole series of rocky outcrops become visible, once hidden under a smooth expanse of sand, it’s like peeling away a few layers.  It reminds me that our lives are changing, that beneath the regularity of our lives, every day is shaping, buffing and refining who we are.

Like shifting sands on the beach, so are the days of our lives.

 




Vivien Mitchell
Vivien Mitchell

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