Bowerbird and the Beaches.

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When talking about favourites, it’s easy to continually come back to the obvious – a cup of hot tea, a home-cooked meal, the touch of a friends hand, the smell of grass fresh after a summer rain and, of course, my daughter.

We live in a town on the southern coast of Western Australia; Bunbury itself is far too big to be quaint but not big enough for many places to go to brave the winter storms. We ended up here by accident and now almost three years later it has become a pretty wonderful-for-now home.

There is a little stretch of west coast beach about 20 minutes south of where we are living – a place I used to holiday at as a young woman with my friends, a place that I now I take my daughter when the days seem too long and the four walls of our home seem to be creeping in on us.

During the witching hour of the late afternoon, it’s not unusual to find us hiking through the Tuart National Park or exploring its surrounding farmlands. Whichever way we go, we always end up with our feet in the sand of the quiet Peppermint Grove Beach.

People tend to flock to the beaches in summer time, but it’s winter when we find ourselves here most often. Especially after a big storm, when the most wonderful of treasures seem to hit the shores.

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She’s drawn to these things naturally – a collection of stones as dark as the night sky, fallen feathers, bright purple sea anemones washed up after a storm, a banksia pod, sweet smelling flowers … the things those of us might miss when we’ve got a head full of wants and to-do lists.

I watch her as she carefully runs her fingers over the rough shell of an anemone checking for life, tossing the ones that still house little creatures back into the ocean. She collects shells and smooth pieces of driftwood and the tiny flowers that grow along the dunes all the while narrating her thoughts as they come to her – where do they come from? How are they are made? Was this someone’s home?

There is something peaceful about walking along the wet sand at sunset, with the chatter of a bowerbird at my feet – it always seems to be in stark contrast with the whining and crying and wailing that would otherwise be our soundtrack if we spent this time of day at home. Proper meals can wait – she doesn’t eat them anyway – besides, little sandwiches and fruit and a hot thermos of tea is all we really need. We eat sitting in the boot of the car, our sandy legs pressed against each other and our pockets full of treasure.

It’s not hard to see why this is my favourite, the time spent with the bowerbird on the sand with salty hair and our noses cold from the winter wind. As the sun goes down we drive back home, forever grateful for the fact that no one whinges at the beach.

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This post was first published on Kidspot as a part of Voices of 2015 and the #shareaustralia challenge.  Inked in Colour was named top 3 for the parenting and style category – and I’m super grateful for your continuous support. Thank you!. 

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