Other people’s words about … the ocean at night

They [drive] across the train tracks where they see a sign proclaiming PARADISE JUST 7 KMS AHEAD.

Paradise is a caravan park. Her father kills the engine and sits still, gripping the wheel. Rose can hear the ocean; the sudden intake of its breath, as though it has remembered something, something terrible, but finding there is nothing it can do, it breathes out again. The night is dark and starless.

‘It’s as good a place as any,’ he finally says.

From ‘The Midnight Dress’
by Karen Foxlee

Usually, when I quote passages describing the sea on this blog, I accompany them with whatever latest shots I have taken of the sea. So it seems more than a little ironic to me that I don’t have any recent shots of the ocean at all to accompany the beautiful quote in today’s post. I live by the sea! I love the sea! How can I not have any new photos of it?

But it’s been a hot, windy spring in South Australia, creating conditions that are less than photogenic, particularly here where I live, by the coast. And in addition, I’ve been busy and tired for the last few weeks, settling into my new job, working new hours, stepping back into life after a period of withdrawal.

Still, I’m quoting this description of the sea today anyway, because I love the metaphor in it: the idea that you can hear the sea breathing.

Hot, blue, windy sky

Besides, like all good metaphorical words, Karen Foxlee’s words, which I’ve quoted above, aren’t really (or aren’t only) about the sea. Have Rose and her father really arrived at a paradisiacal destination? Is any destination, at any stage in our lives, paradisiacal?

No. Of course not.

Seagull surviving the heat by the Port River

And so back to me, and to the real reason for my lack of sea-themed photographs. One of my favourite times for taking photos of the sea is when I’m running right alongside it: either on the foreshore path, or on the shore itself, by the water’s edge. But I’ve been so tired over the last few weeks — exhausted, actually, to the point of illness — that I haven’t had the energy to run much, if at all.

I am grateful for my new job, which, in comparison to my previous work situation seems virtually paradisiacal. All the same, I’ve been trudging through my days, and the sea has been, at best, a distant companion.

And yet. The place I am now, this place I have arrived at in my life — a little by design, mostly by chance — is, as Rose’s father says, as good a place as any.

I’ll settle for this life I’m living, paradise or no.

Scenes from my life over the last few weeks

Lately I’ve been reading about …

The sweetest medicine

— A note to the anxiety-prone —

Carbohydrates are ‘evil’, supposedly. But if you experience anxiety, consider this:

Serotonin enhances feelings of security, courage, assertiveness, self-worth, calm, flexibility, resilience — all of which have the effect of making one feel safe — a feeling worrywarts long for but rarely get to enjoy for long. You don’t have to take Prozac, however, to enjoy the effects of serotonin because your brain manufactures it out of nutrients found in common foods. The problem is that certain nutrients needed to manufacture serotonin must cross the barrier into the brain. Sugar facilitates the transfer process.


Eating sugar and carbohydrates, which are converted into sugar, has a tranquilizing effect. When you want to calm down, eat carbohydrates including potatoes, pasta, bread, beans, and cereal.

For the fastest tranquilizing effect, drink a beverage high in honey or sugar. A sugary drink will calm you in about five minutes. Sucking on pure sugar candy like gumdrops, caramels, mints, or lollipops is also fast acting. Other calming drinks include caffeine-free teas, such as chamomile or peppermint, with generous amounts of honey or sugar.


Don’t mix protein with the carbohydrates, such as putting milk on cereal or cheese on the bread, because the protein will counteract the carbohydrate’s calming effect. Low-fat carbohydrates are better than those that are high in fat, which take longer to work. Avoid chocolate, which is high in fat and contains caffeine.

All quotes above from
The Worrywart’s Companion
by Dr Beverly Potter


My take?
Do what works.
Disregard all else.


An apple a day …

Other people’s words

Vitamins are good, but if you have access to adequate amounts of real food and a bit of sun, you’ll likely get all the vitamins your body needs. There is no pill to cancel out smoking, inactivity or drinking a bottle of whisky a day. Fresh produce drenches your cells in things we can’t bottle. The truth is pedestrian: if you want to live well and long, be born in the right place and time, cross your fingers, eat lots of vegetables, and go for a walk. The miracle cures almost always turn out to be lollies or poison.
From ‘The Medicine
By Karen Hitchock

What I like best about this quote?

Be born in the right place and time, cross your fingers.

Health isn’t always about discipline or control.
Isn’t it hubris to think otherwise?

Read the full piece in The Monthly magazine.