The summers of my youth were spent on a beach, Famagusta beach, on the south side of the island. Famagusta is now sadly closed off to us following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus 40 whole years ago this month, when I left my home with the clothes I was wearing, never to return.
Beachcomber was the name of a very cool club along that beach, and it felt wonderful to even contemplate going there.
1. One who scavenges along beaches or in wharf areas.
2. A seaside vacationer.
Beachcombing here takes me back to those days and makes me quite nostalgic but also opens my eyes to the present and all that is around me.
I was walking in Bribie with my son at the weekend. The day was warm and welcoming. The sea calm as a sheet of glass, chilly to the first touch, but actually refreshing, as the day wore on.
Unlike a previous visit, there were no blue jelly fishes on the beach, just their very jelly like remains which appear to be completely clear and without substance, yet formed.
The shells were few, but I kept my eyes down as we walked and talked and would often stop to examine one or other. This time I picked up some bright green pods, which seemed like splashes of colour on the white sand. I looked at them carefully, popped them in my pocket and brought them home for closer inspection. Here they are and the architect of this world must have known a thing or two about order, form and substance. It seems these are white or grey mangrove pods (Avicennia marina).Mangroves are all along the Australian coast line, but I looked at the colour of these pods, the layers of the pod and the little hairy stem that seemed to connect them altogether. I opened one up, an intense bright green succulent petal, lying flat next to another, the casing solid and strong, the texture smooth and a little darker.I wondered how their shape helped their survival. They resemble a closed fan, a purse with pockets, a broad bean of the sea.
Plants dispersed by ocean currents fascinated Charles Darwin and he conducted a number of experiments on them concluding that most seeds sink and only 1% can float and survive sea water for up to a month and still be viable.
I look at these fruits and marvel at the complexity of their creation and sustained presence on the shores, as the waves caress each one and coax them on to the sand where the little hairy root might find cause to grow miles, perhaps, from where it started.