Saturday, October 2, 2010

of borders and horizons

There is something about knowing you are bound by sea that unconsciously draws you to the edge, to the precipice.

On Kangaroo Island I found myself constantly mediating expectations of perception as we would drive uphill on a crest, and my whole body would anticipate a glimpse of the ocean, only to find before me an infinity of bushland or pasture.

The Island is expansive, taking over an hour to cross from one side to the other and holds a series of mini ecosystems, changing every few kilometres from scrubland to forest, lagoon to marsh, canola field to sheep station, rugged cliffs to still bay or white beach.

I discovered when you're on an island, finding the boundaries and reaching the limits becomes exhilarating.

We stood awestruck at the edge of Cape De Coedic, in the Flinders Chase National Park watching waves of distant antarctic waters scrunch like paper below us, imagining the life of a lighthouse keeper and his family.

And we held our breath while enormous granite boulders sculpted by the earth's molten core dwarfed out bodies on the edge of the vast blue immensity.

Meanwhile, I wondered at the birds constantly transgressing human boundaries in flight, choosing in their freedom to travel over water, to dive, to glide or to rest in a tree. Similarly, I envied the seals who lay on the beach having spent days in the ocean depths feeding, crossing the breach on instinct for survival.

Still, after three nights on the Island, as we drove towards the ferry for our departure, my eyes kept scanning for the horizon. It was only when we made it to the mainland that this strange impulse to map out my surroundings left.

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