As a child, every holiday away was spent up north. Others would head south to escape the sun, but not us. We’d chase the heat.
I was young the first time we went, crammed into the back of our silver wagon before dawn. I remember clutching my pillow to my shoulder and slipping back into a doze.
Soon, the vanta black sky faded to purple, then delicate blue.
When my eyes adjusted to the light, I stared at the vast never never, where the roads stretch until the eye can see no more, and the heat is just as endless.
The rolling hum of tyres on road and the interminable mosaic of greyish green scrub and parched dirt, lulled me into a trance.
After more hours than I could count, we arrived at the dessicated town. The whole place appeared crusted in salt.
With a kaleidoscope of coloured zinc applied to my face, I kicked off my thongs and hopped along the scorching sand, jumping over conga line of caterpillars that danced across the track. As I climbed the dunes, the whooshing wind whipped the hot air and I picked up my pace to reach the crest. And there it was. The pale translucence stretching out like an arm held wide, welcoming me to its embrace.
I tumbled down and ran to the water’s edge, tossed my shorts and shirts to the sand, and waded in. The crisp coolness soothed my feet, tickled my waist and armpits, then taking a giant gulp of air, I pushed myself under.
Somewhere in my memory, Run to Paradise is playing and I’m singing and humming along to its fast clicking beat.
I don’t swim much these days, but my love for the beach has only grown. Holidays are always by the coast and I run by the beach whenever I can, just to see the shimmering colour and abundance of water reaching for the horizon, and the ever changing mood of the sky. It reminds me of how enormous this Earth is, how little we are and the beauty and brevity of it all.
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Run to Paradise by Australian rock group The Choirboys was released in 1987.