Recently my husband surprised me by taking me to Bunker Bay. Bunker Bay is a beautiful inlet in the south west of Western Australia, on Cape Naturaliste. It was the most exquisite weekend. We stayed at the Quay West Bunker Bay Resort, which despite the corporate-sounding name is actually a beautifully designed resort that is sensitive to its natural surrounds. Villas are low with neutral sloping roofs that seem to sink into the trees and dunes encasing them. The landscaping is beautiful and very natural; you can walk right down to the beach and at night the sound of the ocean, mixed with the singing of frogs, is like an uplifting lullaby. This is a sort of rugged, though at the same time delicate, part of the coast. It is wild but petite, with a roughly hewn coastline and small coastal trees and shrubs that from late winter begin to colour with miniature wildflowers. In winter its colours are pebble-grey and muted cream and custard yellow. Very soft and comforting despite often inclement winter weather. It is definitely one of my favourite spots in Australia.
I love the beach. Ever since I was a child I have been drawn to the coast. My family had a beach house and I spent so much time there it was like a second home, albeit a more fun one because it came without the childhood and adolescent responsibilities of school and playground politics and other not-so-fun things. I think this beach house is why I am a little bit mad about the ocean; it has always been an intimate and familiar part of my life and thus always makes me feel calm, rejuvenated and, simply happy.
As a child I daydreamed about my next trip to the beach, and days filled with rockpools and sandcastles and icy-poles from kiosks. As a teenager I dreamed of the perfect summer bikini and tropical island romances. As an adult pregnant with my first child I dream of being able to take my baby to the beach regularly, the way I was taken to the beach when I was little. Of growing up knowing a little stretch of coast or a little seaside town intimately. Because having this experience – having the beach rolling through all aspects of my evolving life – remains one of the most important and definitive things for me.
The other day I was reading through Laura Valerie’s list of 100 life ambitions and I identified with two particular wishes: to live by the sea and to go to the beach every morning for a summer. When I think too carefully about the possibility of living by the sea I feel a little sad because perhaps the days of owning a beach house in addition to an everyday house are long gone. But who knows what might happen one day and as with all wishful thoughts I think it is important to keep them safe, no matter how whimsical they might seem.
PS: Yes, I hid a little announcement surreptitiously in the story above – The Beauty Philosopher is pregnant!
Take me to the water
Posted on August 29, 2011