Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Myths and Legends

Hardback: Westwood and Simpson's The Lore of the Land
Source: A graduation gift from my Nan
Reason: The strangest stories!

One of my favourite walks was on Yallingup beach when my Dad and I riffed about a certain beachside cave being being the primal source of all surfers in Australia - and then it turned into a more concrete myth in my head, growing to include a nod to my man Attenborough ...

A slender dark woman in her forties with a pristine plait that reaches to just between her shoulder blades stands on a beach at sunrise. She has a slight middle-eastern accent and is dressed in a comfortable pale blue linen knee length dress and a graceful but small sunhat. She is barefoot and holds tan leather sandals in her hand. She has pearl studs in her ears.

She addresses the camera, Sugarloaf Rock clear in the distance.

[To camera]
It is dawn and the sand is like ice. The rising sun hits the water first, the shore and vegetation remaining dark for long moments. It is here, on cliffs frosted from the night, that we witness the birth of the spirits of the surf.

Sunlight reaches over the hill and strikes the white water on the main beach.

[To camera]
On the pristine south west coast of Western Australia, the hamlet of Yallingup holds the distinction of allowing those of us born to the earth to discover the origin of those born of the surf. Halfway along this strand is one of the only birthplaces of the surfer accessible to the observer. Today we are going to be present at the annual waking of the waves.

She turns and walks along the beach towards the cave.

Narration, camera halfway down the path from the cave.

The waking of the spirits takes place once a year in the dying weeks of the southern summer. Although most spiritual births are conceived as heralds, the spirits of the surf come only as the season most conductive to them draws to a close. It is speculated that those that emerge from the cave above us are not spirits that guide, but the manifestation of accumulated actions. What is certain, however, is that it is at dawn that they first step onto the sand.

Camera focussed on a sandy path that leads from a shallow cave, so shallow it seems merely a rock. The early morning mist clings to the limestone outcrop.

A shape emerges from the obscured rock and leaves the mist behind to stride down the path. It is recognisably human and holds a surfboard, a leg rope connecting the board to an ankle. The creature is entirely black; covered from head to toe, and over the board and legrope, in what looks like a thick black skin.

Our guide turns from watching the surfer make its way down the dune and addresses the camera.

[To camera]
Each spirit emerges entirely cased in a black rubbery birthing suit that sheds rapidly once the salt water of the ocean is encountered. As the birthing suit sloughs off the new spirit, the onlooker first observes the shape of the year just past.

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