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Sea Faeries
Foreword by Jillian Sawyer

I haven’t seen the ocean in ages now, but how easily I call it to mind.

Wild howling nights where our father would bundle us out of bed into the car to see the power and majesty of the sea thundering over the roadways, mountainous spray reaching high and the roadway crumbling under its might.

Night time crabbing on the jetty, cold nights, when my bones ached with growing pains – but what fun hauling up the nets filled with crabs, or just weed and myriad strange little sea creatures.

Watching the phosphorous play across the tops of the waves or in the wake of the boats.

Standing on the shore, watching him wade waist to neck deep to circle in the nets – sometimes just hearing the voices because it was so dark and wondering how they had the nerve – there were sharks in those South Australian waters!

Dad pointing and saying “See the white horses dancing in the rolling waves” and I swear I’d see them and I see them still.

Memories of a childhood holiday, lifting wads of seaweed and finding strips of green glassy beads that burst when you squeezed them and bright green sea lettuce that had been washed in.

Granite Island, where we stuck our heads through holes weathered by sea, as our mothers and theirs, had done before us.

The wind sending the sand stinging on our legs.

Day visits to Marine Rocks and exploring the rock pools there – lifting shells and finding tiny octopi inside, or hermit crabs, or just catching the little rock crabs whose claws were too small to do much harm.

Just the days at the local beach where I tried for hours in vain to catch just one of the scores of tiny fish swarming in the shallows – or the magnificent sandcastles of childhood, built on the tide line with ramparts and moats and watching them wash away.

Digging in the sand with our toes for cockles and just picking up shells – tiny iridescent ones or glorious, fragile, bright yellow and pink fan shells, dyed that colour by the sun. The competitions we had to see who could find the smallest - the excitement of the find and the disappointment when our find proved to be only half a shell in the sand, the rest crushed, to become part of that same sand.

The curling white caps, the glassy expanses, jellyfish (little banana shaped creatures that we used to skip across the surface of the sea – poor things). A shell, the foamy incursions onto the sand – I’d see things there and picture them so.

These recalled sensations and memories bless my mind and help bring my fantasised mermaids to vivid life.

My Faeries of the Sea, bewitching and alluring, please share them with me.

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