Friday, 23 December 2011

Clovelly at dawn: embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty

Clovelly at dawn: concrete meets open ocean
My android-phone alarm rings at 5am and I stumble out of bed. It rained throughout the night and I wonder if the water at Clovelly Beach in Sydney's eastern suburbs is polluted from the run-off. It's gloomy outside and I wish I could return to bed, but I promised to pick up Miss Freeasabird on the way to squad training so there's no way out. 

We arrive at Clovelly well before squad starts (see my last post to find out the consequences for latecomers). 

Dawn opens her arms wide and draws us into her silvery light and I'm glad I made the journey. Miss Freeasabird and I marvel at the beauty of Clovelly, which is sort of like an open-ended ocean swimming pool. It has a narrow beach that runs into an ocean 'channel' bordered by concrete for sunbathers to bask upon. The amazing thing about Clovelly is that its reef and accompanying sealife have survived, even though it is a hugely popular destination for swimmers and snorkellers. Families like it because it is calm compared to the neighbouring surf beaches of Bronte and Tamarama. 

Clovelly: It's not as calm as it looks

Our coach Mr Mean turns up just before 6am and appears to be in  a 'good place'. Later on during squad training he orders half the squad (me included) to do 100 strokes of butterfly after we fail to follow his instructions. 

I don't mind. It's a beautiful day and the fish are just starting to wake up as the 15 squad members splash above them. Mr Mean gives us lots of fun things to do. For example, we swim out to a small, round white buoy that is close to where the concrete ends and the open ocean starts. Then we hold our breaths and dive down as far as we can. I'm not good with numbers but it's easily 10 metres to the ocean floor. We're meant to touch the bottom but there's no way I can get there.*

It's one of those days where I feel like I can swim forever (but maybe that has something to do with all the asthma drugs I pump into my lungs). 

In many parts of the world, Christmas is celebrated on Sunday. Merry Christmas or (if Christmas isn't your thing) happy holiday.

My gift to you is a quote from scientist and philosopher Albert Einstein: 

A human being is part of the whole called by us a 'Universe': a part limited in time and space. He experiences him or herself, his or her thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires, and to our affection for a few persons nearest to us. 

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.  

*Everyone else in the squad sees a really big groper. Of course, I miss it. Story of my life.
Looking towards the beach

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