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A piece of writing for Bathe
KAUKAU, March 2021


On the hottest days I walk to the sea and move around in the crystal blue. Soft golden sand shines up through the water. I let my body travel with the waves as they lift me up and pass around me. I look out to the ocean and it is all clear and blue: the sky, the sea. The sea around me shines in that special moveable way that liquid does.

On windy days I look back at the shore and the sun creates rainbows in the spray caught from the tops of waves. Droplets of rainbow water catch in my hair, drying to salt. The sand is soft under my feet and the temperature of the water is at ease with my body.

At home I lie on the stiff dry grass in the garden and feel the warmth of the sun like an embrace as I look up at the deep blue of the sky.

During sunset a rainbow appears in the sky above the garden. I run to the beach to see it. The beach is quiet and empty and I dance along the sand, soaking it all in. At one end of the bay is a bright orange sky; at the other end is the rainbow, setting over the hills. I exist in the essence of myself in these moments. It feels like joy.

I go swimming as the weather changes. Dark clouds form and the wind starts coming from the sea instead of the land. The water is a cloudy grey-turquoise and choppy without waves. The water feels warmer than the air.

Fog seeps in from the sea, wrapping the beach and nearby roads and houses in a soft, quiet grey. The water is flat and still, with the silvery quality of a mirror. The fog stays for most of the day before dispersing late afternoon to let through streaks of gold sunlight into the cooled air.

After setting up the tents we make our way to the swimming hole where the last of the sun lights up a golden-green area of water and shines through tall strands of grass on the banks. We swallow fresh cans of lime soda and watch others dip in and out of the water until we too submerge ourselves just as the last glow of sun leaves the surface. The mud is silky under our feet and we laugh in exhilaration from the cold. Her gold swimsuit catches the light in just the right way. We swish around in the water as they decide where to place an artwork on the bank. An oval of glass painted with a web of blue-green drawings, cased in a clay frame. They hold it up to the light; hold it close to the ground, crouch down low to peer through it. Later we find it placed by the side of the water, in a circle of stones.

Sun reaches warm and low through tree branches. For breakfast we arrange fruit on the picnic blanket between our tents. Strawberries, blueberries, berry cake wrapped in baking paper. She cuts into a watermelon and I slice a knife around the seed of a mango. Juice drips from our hands.

We walk in a group around the grassy banks of the creek as it winds through the hills. They talk about the swaths of green algae, about how it forms. Crossing over the creek and up into the forest we picnic on bread, carrots and apricots under a canopy of trees. They talk of dancing in forests, of the night sky. We listen to the sounds of music drifting from far away and appreciate the leaves, the wood and the growth.

After packing our tents into the car we leave our clothes on grass mounds and softly ease into the shallow water of the creek. The water is cold and refreshing, washing off the heat from many walks up the dusty track to the car. Sun coats our skin and soft silt and algae flow silkily over our feet and hands. We float our bodies just under the surface. Sunlight filters through golden-green water. The surrounding banks are covered in dark green bush. I feel a kind of blissful calm in myself. I feel at one with my surroundings: the water, the mud, the sunlight, the bush. Dragonflies dart around grasses on the bank and birds call from trees high above us.

I stand on the bank of the creek and look at my friends in the water. Sunlight streams over them and they look so beautiful in that moment, so in harmony with the environment around them. Like creek sprites or goddesses. Like those classical paintings of dappled light landscapes with women picnicking by a stream. I soak in the beauty of it all.

Briana Jamieson
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