Love your little heart out.

The songline of the surfers…

‘Only those who brave its dangers…’

With thanks to Grant and John Bolton.

My daughter was born still.  Unmoving. It took a team of people and 7 minutes for her to cough up the last of the blood she’d drowned in and cry out into the new world that was now her own. Retrospectively it made sense that she was afraid of water. She’d scream and kick and wail in terror. She demanded a kind of unforgiving closeness for a twin – sleeping nowhere but on our chests or in our arms. We took it easy with her. Never pushing it but slowly trying to coax some progress. Sleep for me was non-existent. Baths felt like practiced torture.

Then, overnight, everything changed. It was the men who knew what to do. The surfers. These men with their extraordinary bond and kinship – a tribe who lived for the next wave and the sound of the sea. Brothers, yes, and uncles. A gift of Hamish’s family.

At 5 months old, they took the twins and cradled them into the water. ‘It’s a reflex,’ they reassured me, ‘Blow on a baby’s face and they’ll hold their breath under water.’ So gently, ever gently, they took them under – a quiet act of initiation and in it, the songline of her recovery.


The Secret of the Sea:

‘Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea!
All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,
Such as gleam in ancient lore;
And the singing of the sailors,
And the answer from the shore!

Most of all, the Spanish ballad
Haunts me oft, and tarries long,
Of the noble Count Arnaldos
And the sailor’s mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,
Where the sand as silver shines,
With a soft, monotonous cadence,
Flow its unrhymed lyric lines;–

Telling how the Count Arnaldos,
With his hawk upon his hand,
Saw a fair and stately galley,
Steering onward to the land;–

How he heard the ancient helmsman
Chant a song so wild and clear,
That the sailing sea-bird slowly
Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his soul was full of longing,
And he cried, with impulse strong,–
“Helmsman! for the love of heaven,
Teach me, too, that wondrous song!”

“Wouldst thou,”–so the helmsman answered,
“Learn the secret of the sea?
Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery!”

In each sail that skims the horizon,
In each landward-blowing breeze,
I behold that stately galley,
Hear those mournful melodies;

Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.’

                                                – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Once upon a time: Part 2

Portrait series 2015: 03


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Once upon a time…

in a magical kingdom…

Portrait series 2015: 02


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Sotto Voce

As I lie here beside you, I want to get away. I’m busy. There are things I need to do. I’m tired.

Instead, you pull my arm across your chest and hold it there with my palm flat against you and both arms wrapped around it. I can feel your breath on the edge of my fingers and the soft heave of your heart. ‘Mummy,’ you say, ‘staaaaay Mummy, staaaaay.’

It’s the drawn out process of bedtime. Hours get spent like this. We used to sing and cuddle and stroke your backs until you slept but then 2 hours would slip by and the habit became too much. We changed it to lights-out, a kiss goodnight and, briefly, reclaimed some of those lost nights.

Yet here we are. Here we lie.

And I?

Surrender this trespass into my adult time.

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 11.13.37 AM



 Portrait series 2015:01


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The Savages

“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful we quiver before…”

– Donna Tartt

‘Perhaps all the dragons in our lives…are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless…’

-R.M. Rilke

The most beautiful woman I’ve ever met was a St Kilda living, dangerous-curves type. Teenage boys would stop her in the street, nervously declaring to her what she already knew: ‘You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen,’ they’d tremble and she’d thank them but look away. I think it bored her. I wonder how many times she’d heard it before?

People stared at her. They traced her with their eyes until she was out of sight. What most people didn’t know was that half her body was covered in horrendous scars. I mean, you’d see them and think, ‘What on earth?’ Worse than burn scars and strange in the mangling of the flesh. Savage.

The story went – as I got to know her over time – that she was swimming at Bells Beach one summer when she was attacked by a shark. I don’t know how she escaped. I don’t know what happened next. All I know is that she never looked anyone directly in the eye and had developed a permanent, but barely noticeable tremor – shaking slightly before those who shook before her.

Dear to me…

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Clearly, you are dear to me,

You are the Periwinkle to my Honey,

I see you through a LOVE filled lens,

More than twins, we are best friends.

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‘I’m one of those people that you have to keep an eye on or I’ll wander off into the woods and forget to come back…’ – Emilie Ristevski

Forage series: 01


⇔ ∴ ⇔


The edits: 01

I see you, through tender eyes. In the bright light. In the low light. On the greyscale. I see you, in soft silhouettes. The dancing light across the pavement. The still frames of our everyday, entangled:


2  ∴ 0 ∴ 1  ∴ 5

This place…

When we are here, we live on fish and the salt of the sea. It’s in the air, between our toes and in the sandy grit that dries on our skin. Once upon a time, like you, we chased the day along the dunes. We ran our dreams into the evenings and felt their melancholy truce. Here, in this place, what we find is our youth – salt water and sand and the gift of renewal.

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