Charcoal clouds backlit with bright white, mirroring the white sea foam as they roll towards the tawny sand strewn with shredded seaweed. The breeze – nursed into the coast by the rolling waves and pushed along by the stormy front – carries with it a burst of freshness tinged with a hint of sea salt.
A long slow sip on my warm creamy coffee, a deep breath of fresh sea air, and I feel my senses begin to awaken. Finally, a reward for the unexpected early start to the day, after navigating the morning traffic for the past hour. The dull roar of the ocean is a calming natural white noise. My mind begins to wander… my head in the ominous black clouds, and my toes in the fine wet sand.
As we sit on the park bench, my son searches the area for “virtual” Pokémon characters, while my imagination leads me into the dark depths beneath the crashing waves, exploring the watery wilderness and wondering what I might encounter.
A bone-rattling, jangling, hammering noise forces its way into my daydream with a jarring reality. My son is yanked out of his Pokémon world with equal brutality. Just to the left of our line of sight (thankfully) is the partial demolition of a dated red brick building. The renovation work stripping away the character of past decades to be “modernised“ with the slick neutrality – some might say mediocrity – that is sold to the self-professed “discerning” market of today, hungry for nothing more than “Location. Location. Location”!
As each salt-encrusted, rusty coloured brick disappears, so too does the warmth of decades’ past summers. The echoes of 80s disco music released from the walls to wander with the ocean winds. The daydreams of countless surf obsessed souls set adrift on the dust trailing into the air.
The workmen break for morning tea and that strangely calming roar of the ocean returns, we look at each other with a sigh of relief… My young son (with an old soul and a love of architecture), and myself with a sentimental death-grip on fond memories… sitting side-by-side and both – in our own way – wondering “what price progress?”