Observations by Patty Beecham
The tide takes its time to fill the mud holes and stingray hides of Maroochy River. As the silver coloured water eases past, unseen children scream with delight. It’s a gimmick to see the sun shine, and a day without rain – or clouds – exhilarates us all. Couples walk hand in hand, slurping milkshakes to the soft beat of their thongs slapping on the concrete walkway. A child drifts in a green kayak, intently watching the sea life below the waterline through the clear window of the hull. Dogs bark. Children question. A skateboard man rides a black, high-handlebar bike, his posture slouched into the seat and spreading.
On the flat river, someone attempts to stand on his paddle board. Behind me a middle-aged man checks his helmet; he looks like an echidna, long plastic tabs protruding skywards. This is supposed to keep away the magpies. It must be working; I can see no magpies following him.
A woman with a tattoo ‘sleeve’ walks alongside a bald man, together they are walking two white miniature poodles. One of the dogs wears pink socks, I kid you not. In front of me, a speedboat pulls up, landing with a metallic thud onto the beach, as it's anchor chain moves. Further north, past the sandbars hosting seagulls as they rest, three kayaks in a neat row make a uniformed tour of the waterways. Walking past me, couples argue whether its “July or August”.
A man in a flat-hulled punt casts a net next to the jetty pylons, hoping for baitfish or prawns. He catches neither.
A not-so-small girl of eight is wheeled by her parents, one either side, as she attempts to learn to ride her pushbike. Her father stares straight ahead. Her mother cannot take her eyes off the child. Her new pink and white bike sparkles in the sun. She wears an enormous pink sunhat with a broad brim, and an equally large pink Barbie helmet, the look is comical; making you turn your head twice to confirm what you are really seeing.
A red Virgin plane growls overhead, its passengers reluctantly leaving beautiful Queensland life behind for a week of work. A black helicopter, a yellow-winged plane, and a small grey plane take turns to clutter the sky with noise.
Two crows race the wind.
The not-so-little girl with the helicopter parents rides her bike past, the mother running beside her, breathless with excitement. She’s ready at any moment to grab the handle bars. This could end badly so I begin to watch intently, knowing I am privy to that sweet eureka day of childhood when you finally master learning to ride a bike.
Eventually she stops riding and stands beside her pink bike; and with outstretched arms she hugs the air in exhilaration. Her first ride!
Two pigeons in red socks strut towards me, turning away from me as one if I move.