Before coffee there was nothing? Oh yeah, I could imagine the pelican in front of me saying, ‘you have got to be kidding. Those hipsters need to get out more. The message on the takeaway cup, lying discarded at the river’s edge, seemed laughable amongst the natural beauty of my surroundings. I smiled at the pelicans grooming themselves and then frowned as I picked up the cup to place in a bin only metres away (Grrrrrr).
I was out walking at Dohles Rocks on the Pine River estuary: a small landscaped promenade beside the river, boardwalks through the mangroves, and even a bridle trail. I delighted in watching small scurrying marine creatures and, of course, the seabirds: was that really an osprey? Mudflats and mangroves are so different from the surf and sand at home in Coolum but for me it has its own charm—partly because it evokes memories from my early years of mud walks, mud crabs, and oysters freshly shucked and washed in Moreton Bay, and because these memories have a strong association with my mother.
I can see her now, when she was well into her seventies, becoming exasperated with the hopelessly inept attempt by my sister and me to row a tinnie back to shore at Redland Bay and, taking both oars from us, expertly rowed us there in no time. Miss you mum. You not only had physical strength but an inner strength; and when things get tough, I hold on to the thought that I am your daughter and, therefore, I have some of your strength. (My daughter is twice blessed: both her grandmothers were tough strong women. No wonder she soars!)
Not that I am fighting adversity today. Having finished my walk along the river, I am now sipping on a glass of pinot grigio as I share with you the serenity and beauty of a quiet little place that I never knew existed: water lapping the sea wall; a mother, father, and two little boys intently fishing from the promenade; a boat idling by; and across the river, islands of mangroves with mountains forming a smudgy blue backdrop.