Stories are everywhere

We went to the beach today, for tomorrow we lock down again for six weeks. Point Cook Coastal Reserve has a long shallow beach front that stretches for many kilometres. The sky was blue, the tide was low, the seagulls were dancing in the water margins.

Wait, what?

Yup, the seagulls were dancing. Advancing to the very margins of water/sand and doing a quick two-step patterpatterpatter, then pouncing on whatever they disturbed. If the numbers there and the squawking is anything to go by, it was the equivalent of an easter egg hunt. They were exuberant!

But that’s not the story I started to tell …

Further along the beach we wandered from the sand to the gardens of the Point Cook Homestead. This was a beach house for the Chirnsides of Werribee Mansion. It would have been so much cooler in summer to be right there on the beach. We wandered around the garden and outside the house and other buildings. There we encountered a grandfather and his grandson.

Grandfather had lived in the area all his life. His grandson had clearly met this man before, and was calming sitting waiting for him to finish his tale, his chatter. It took a while, so after a few minutes I wandered over to the boy.

‘There’re some shoes in the tree,’ he told me.

So there were. I asked him who he thought they belonged to, but that was too big a question so I started again.

‘How old was the owner of the shoes?’

At first he shrugged. Then I guesstimated with my fingers and set them close to his shoes.

‘Mine are bigger,’ he said.

‘A bit,’ I agreed. ‘How old are you?’

‘Six.’

‘Do you think the owner might have been five?’

He nodded enthusiastically. ‘Yes.’

And so began our storymaking. We decided that the boy’s shoes had become wet while playing at the beach and his teacher had hung them in a tree to dry while they lunched at a nearby table. They had then forgotten them when they left.

Story done.

But then, as grandfather kept chatting, we investigated some other storylines. Could they have been blown into the tree? Could they have been there for fifty years? We examined each scenario in detail. There would have had to have been a hurricane to blow the shoes so high and that was unlikely. The style of shoe suggested they were less than fifty years old, but the wear patterns suggested they weren’t brand new. We agreed that the fading colours of the uppers could be misleading.

We then started to wonder at a set of gates that stood alone in the middle of the grass. We found the road that used to lead to the gate, and another that now bypassed it. We decided that perhaps it was a horse paddock for the horses that then slept in the stables nearby.

Then grandfather called him and he was gone. Apparently grandfather brings him to a nearby forest too – just beyond the homestead.

A forest! That’s where we’ll be heading next time.

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