My first Winter here has just ended, but Spring seems not to know what is expected, and lets the cold come creeping in.
Deep, dark, bonefreezing cold.
You see, it isn't the rolling Southerlies from the Antarctic one has to worry about, but the irresponsible rudeness of the Nor'easter: bickering with the surface of the sea with no grace whatever. Slapping coldness, stirring up the quiet deepness, chilling me. My fingers act of their own accord and I find my hands are less like fins and more like claws: so troublesome when one needs to glide through the water.
The solitary experience of swimming in a trance is over these days. There are lots of us, to and fro across the bay. The early lap is quiet, almost soundless: the later lap a party of arms and caps and trails of kicked froth. Banter and chatter, we are a school of fish.
Each day I swim with the usual silver fish, assembled quietly on the bottom, or soaring along just beneath the surface canopy. The Luderick with their small smiles, the Whiting with their anxious eyes.
The Morwong with its painted face, the yellowtail scad in a cloud of a thousand, all moving about, catching the light in the green water of the bay.
I count the days until the sharks return...is it seven days, or more? One day I will look down and the mothers will be there, and tiny miniature sharks will pace around just above the wrinkled sand far below. In the meantime, I take stock...
Beneath the calm surface of the icy sea today,
Six pipefish like a pile of pencils dropped
Port Jacksons hiding under ledges
Still in their pyjamas.
The usual rabble
of long nosed Whiting and the other silver friends,
And Big Blue, poking at the urchins with his bony blue lips.
I wish one time
Big Blue might come and bite me
with his little peg teeth
just so I can look into the impossible meniscus
big blue eye.