By Madelaine Dickie
I’m driving up a redmud river. It’s not supposed to be a river, it’s supposed to be a road. A bloke coming in the opposite direction rolls down his window and says, “Yeah, goodluck with that love.” I manage to stall, narrowly avoid getting bogged, spin the car so it faces the opposite direction and hit a few patches of deep water with my eyes closed. When I open them again, I see that the water came up to the doors. It’s my first time four wheel driving. Dusk is coming down fast.
It’s funny how your perception of season changes when you’re up here. You don’t think in terms of the east coast surf seasons: pumping autumn and winter, shitty spring, hopeful summer. It’s the dry and the wet—with variations of which fish are fat and which fruit is good depending on the month. And it should almost be the dry now, but it’s still the wet. I’ve driven up to Bardi Jawi country to join Tom at a mate’s place at the One Arm Point community. On the wall there’s a Bardi calendar of the seasons. The calendar says the month of March is: hot, humid, no wind, no fruit, move very little.
Over the weekend, between fishing sessions, drawing sessions and after our motorcar blows blue smoke in deep, white sand, I’m moving very little and sifting through some old surf photos. These ones were taken deep in the heart of winter, one bitterly cold, offshore day in Wollongong. We have absolutely forgotten what it feels like to be cold. And to surf our old local Puckeys.