Some days just don’t go according to plan.
When I awoke yesterday morning, my schedule had me leaving around noon for the drive to Hobart for a series of appointments, culminating in my giving, that evening, the opening speech at an exhibition of paintings by Faridah Cameron (her ‘Rock Pool Starry Night’ is shown).
Instead of feeling buoyant about the day, I was both slightly nervous about the speech and troubled in spirit because of a current, neighbourhood issue dealing with the noise of trail bikes in the area. Nine property owners in the Roaring Beach community had written letters of complaint, but enforcement by the council wasn’t guaranteed. Without going into the details, there were a series of very early morning phone calls to me from some of the concerned neighbours. To deal with them, I had to cancel my first scheduled appointment in Hobart.
However, I was determined to make the best of it because the next scheduled appointment in Hobart was to have a massage. This was to be in celebration of this day being the 1000th day of my daily commitment to going into the water at Roaring Beach. And, boy, did my body and soul need some caring hands.
This appointment, too, though later in the afternoon, had to be cancelled.
I was in the house putting on my warmed up wet suit for this one thousandth surf when I began to hear a series of “whoooooooo’s”. A lovely, deep, very guttural sound that I had never heard before.
Let me say here that one reason I took on the commitment to surf for three years, three months, three weeks and three days was to learn about the many voices of the land and sea at Roaring Beach that made up the large, communal “Voice” of Roaring Beach. The “whoooooooo’s” were an interesting new addition.
With curiosity I went outside to track down the source of the sound.
And there they were. A chorus of five humpback whales spread out across the width of Roaring Beach. Yes, five!
I won’t say that they were at Roaring Beach specifically for me, but as it was the 1000th day, I did allow myself the privilege of feeling honoured by their presence. It was as if they were saying: “We have gathered here for the day to support you and the rest of the Roaring Beach community in your efforts to respect and protect this very, very special place.”
They blew, they kept sticking their massive heads out of the water for a view of the beach, they flopped around, they waved their pectoral fins. One of the more frisky whales slapped his/her tail and splashed about repeatedly. They hung about all day. I watched them from every advantage point I could: from the cliffs and from the water. (I have to admit that when I went into the water, in my excitement I forgot to zip up my wet suit and when the first wave hit, my whole wet suit filled up like a balloon with some very cold water.)
But I still had to give the speech. At four PM in the afternoon, instead of ten AM in the morning as scheduled, I drove off to Hobart feeling fully loved. I opened the exhibition on time with a speech peppered with a passionate, fiery love for this earth and the greater cosmos; where all is a fusion of matter and spirit. My encounter with the whales had me totally reinvigorated and empowered and I throughly enjoyed the evening.