The sun lingers on the inner harbour at the end of the day, and all is still.
The concrete wall at the jetty is as warm as toast, even though the day is filled with winter chill, nippy winds and freezing wells of shade. But here I can snatch half an hour to do my tai chi and sit in the sun.
People disappear from the inner harbour beaches once the tide goes out. The sand gives way to layers of mud and weed. It becomes squelchy and hard to walk on. But out there at the tide’s edge, visitors are flocking in to feed. This is the place of the kai moana, food from the sea. It’s rich with nutrients: tiny fish, sea snails and all the little morsels that seabirds love.
Gulls, waders and herons are busy dipping their beaks in and out of the rich mud. Meanwhile I sit with my back against the wall, and watch. Soon I too will feed, but for now watching the birds feasting is enough.
When I studied ecology I was told that estuaries are some of the most fertile places on earth: the ‘nurseries of the sea’ in fact. This inner harbour feels estuarine, with its quiet rhythms and tides that come and go while yachts bob contentedly on the surface.
I think how often I seek the edge in my inner worlds, and how my creative spirit is fed by rich pickings beyond the conventional trails. As I watch the birds feeding, I feel a oneness with them. I find myself dipping for words, seeking to pull up a poem. It hasn’t quite emerged yet, but in the quiet of winter I know it’s there, waiting maybe for another tide. One of the gifts of winter is that everything slows down. There’s no rush.