To the Island
He put the Ford ute on the ferry to KI for his 70th birthday (I went along for the ride). He’s always been up for adventure, on a bike, in a Holden, or the ute pulling the caravan and me along but no van this time, a holiday house haven. He flashed his camera through wind and rain at Remarkable Rocks, climbing slopes with youthful tourists (the Rocks no more remarkable than he, I thought) and communed with seals clustering under Admiral’s Arch. At first at Seal Bay we thought we had missed the natives, saw only improbable trails in the sand dunes beside the board walk. Suddenly, sea lions appeared on their sandy stage, flippering around, flapping and flip-flopping, heads up, “look at moi, look at moi” to rousing cheers from onlookers rugged up in coats and hats. Too cold for swimming today, even for sea lions. Food and warmth beckoned from afar, the local kiosk shut. He grabbed the chance to put the ute into 4WD over the slippery unsealed road to Marron Café, a gastro-heaven in the middle of the island (marron thermidor for me). When we clinked our glasses I forgot his 70 years, seeing only the tall boy on his bike, riding beside me to school.
Sue Cook lives in the Adelaide Hills. “To the Island” appears in her new book of poems In Focus, from Ginninderra Press, which was launched at the Mitcham Library last month. As a senior English teacher, for a number of years she edited the South Australian English Teachers Association’s annual poetry anthology “Spring Poetry Festival”. She launched the 2010 edition as guest poet, and her poetry has also appeared in Friendly Street anthologies, literary journals and magazines.