19.1 C
Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Sand, sadness and sharing

Latest News

Seapeace: the late Tony Maxwell’s wetland legacy

Many curious minds have pondered the purpose of the rice paddy-like waterbodies that scallop the contour lines out into the Ewingsdale coastal plain that can be viewed from St Helena Road.

Other News

Parking permits

Liz Levy, Suffolk Park Why has Byron Shire Council decided to impose a layer of digital tyranny for residents wishing to...

A little bit of COVID…

Mandy Nolan has stated in The Echo, ‘For 30 years I’ve fought to give a voice to the voiceless...

Government modelling fails to reflect women’s interrupted careers

New research to be released this week analyses two decades of Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to estimate the actual labour force experience of women over their life and accounts for working when super is not paid.

Bangalow blackspot puts school children at risk

Will action ever be taken to protect school kids getting on and off the bus on Lismore Road, Bangalow as trucks fly by at 80km/h?

Leadership lost

Paul Leitch, Ewingsdale Thanks to Hans Lovejoy for commenting on the proposed Ewingsdale Development (24 February). It is worthwhile noting that...

Ben Hamilton riding for kids with cancer

Ballina man Ben Hamilton is riding his bike 500km to help young kids with cancer.

Image S Sorrensen

Noumea. Thursday, 5.35pm

She strides quickly, pushing the pram in front of her, the tears on her cheeks flashing in the setting sun’s yellow light. She shouts something in French over her shoulder, her voice breaking up from emotion.

Behind her, a man with a neat haircut, fashionable stubble, khaki cargo shorts and shiny sneakers follows her, eyes downcast, the distance between them increasing.

I am susceptible to sadness. Sorrow hangs over each of us, mostly looming on our horizons or hiding in our peripheral visions, until, one day, the dark shadow precipitates in a storm, raining tears down on us, throwing us into darkness.

In a world that sells happiness, sorrow is not profitable, but sorrow is real, born from our mortality. It connects us, creating empathy. It is the same sorrow, shared.

Her sadness is palpable, emanating in waves, her pram pushing an envelope of sadness, wrinkling the late-afternoon light like a rocket through the stratosphere.

Hers is not a passing angst, like when our phone battery runs flat; this is a sadness that has gutted her and left her empty. Her blonde hair, styled fashionably, has surrendered to the breeze. Her make-up is streaked from tears, her blues eyes framed red.

She thrusts the pram along the Promenade Roger Laroque, on a footpath that snakes along Anse Vata beach. Beyond the sand is the water, mostly blue, but smeared sunset yellow to the west.

Along the beach are groups of Kanaks, hanging by the sea as they have done for thousands of years, their time unsevered by schedule. As the sad woman and her pram pass by, a young male Kanak leaves his group under a big tree and walks into the sea, fully clothed. He dives under and emerges smiling from the crystal water. He walks back to his group his jeans and Rasta t-shirt soaked through. Only his hair remains impervious to water, drops hanging hopefully onto curly tips for a moment until a shake of the head sends them off in a spray. He watches the sad woman as he walks, his smile evaporating. We all feel her pain.

The sad woman’s man shouts something to her. She turns to him, still pushing the pram, and shouts a question at him. (I can’t hear the question. My French isn’t that good and I’m across the road, sitting at a cafe drinking a local beer. But I can feel it’s an important question.)

As well as our individual sorrows there is a dark cloud squatting on our collective horizon. I read this morning that it is ‘politically unrealistic’ to expect governments to react appropriately to avert catastrophic climate change. This is a hell of a statement. We have to accept avoidable calamity? Jeez. I’d be angry if I had any anger left.

She stops pushing the pram and faces him, staring him down, waiting for a reply. He stops too. The question hangs between them.

The Kanak boy, wet jeans and dry hair, waits for the reply. I put down my beer, and wait for the reply.

He can’t look at her. He stands staring at his sneakers. Silence suffocates time and it nearly stops.

He says nothing.

A drum kicks in, then guitars and bass. Reggae kills the quiet. Just up the road, a Kanak band plays on a makeshift stage on the beach. The music makes the Kanak boy’s smile return, and he dances, kicking up sand.

The sad woman’s man turns on his heels and walks quickly away.

The sad woman watches him for a moment, opens her mouth as if to yell something, but she is so empty even rage has no fuel.

She pushes her pram, slowly now, towards the music.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Caravan park to pay $2.3mil plus to consumers

The NSW Court of Appeal has upheld the Supreme Court’s decision arising from the sale of the movable dwellings located on waterfront sites along the Tweed River.

Government modelling fails to reflect women’s interrupted careers

New research to be released this week analyses two decades of Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to estimate the actual labour force experience of women over their life and accounts for working when super is not paid.

Ballina cleans up!

Clean Up Australia Day was a great success in Ballina, with the beach clean up event organised by Ballina Coastcare yesterday attracting twenty volunteers.

Lismore future councillor information sessions

With the delayed Local Government elections being held in September, several councils, including Lismore City Council, are holding information sessions for community members who are thinking about running for Council.