Almanac Life: First Swim


Spring’s swinging wildness has been more ridiculous this year. Rain, wind, crazed dips and leaps in temperature, and one Friday morning atop Mount Lofty, even snow. Yesterday the sun was ferocious and the boys and I steered for the beach late afternoon.


The season’s opening swim is like many other entrances: the theatre of the first ball of the Boxing Day Test, the joy of that initial barbeque (ed: do these ever actually stop?) and the elongated summery, ‘Howwwwwwwww’ at the start of Sherbet’s ‘Howzat’.


All suggest much about what hopefully follows across the toasty, meandering months. Days which recline and school holidays which drift. Cricket on a big screen and then beyond the screen door, out the back, on the lawn, brown patches witness to brotherly bowling and batting.


Cooled by its Arctic origins, the water at once enlivens and connects us. We throw a ball about our bouncing triangle- Alex, me, Max, me, Alex, me, Max, me- and this repetition functions as worship.


Suddenly, a fin.


Curved, momentary, kindly.


It pushes up, again, and we peer at its periscope. Dolphin. It surfaces once more before disappearing for good, its submarine progress beneath the twinkling water.


Later at home a twilight storm of white sheets and rattles and dog-scaring booms and our towels flap like bright ghouls on the clothesline.


In the morning I gather them up from the lawn.


More from Mickey Randall HERE.


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About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello


  1. Nicole Kelly says

    I love the joy in the small things that you bring to your pieces. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Nicole. Late last week it was decidedly chilly here but tomorrow the temperature shoots up to the mid-30s so we might head to the beach again.

  3. The 7th tee at Seaview is opposite Cottesloe Beach car park. First string bikini sighting of the summer on Wednesday. The god of small things.

  4. Did you then shank your tee shot out of bounds, PB?

    On small things: wandered into the lounge this morning and the youngest was eating cucumber and watching the Masters. His opening words were, “Dad, Dustin Johnson is leading by four shots.” My work is done.

  5. Love it Mickey. We could all learn much from your intentional mindfulness.

  6. Very nice, Mickey. Nothing like the first swim of the season to dust out the cobwebs of winter!

    I was once body-surfing at Bateman’s Bay, when a large shape in the water loomed up next to me. At first I thought I was about to meet my maker, but was relieved to see a dolphin surfing only metres away from me.

  7. Thanks for that Someone.

    Smokie- I hear you! I’ve been nipped by crabs a few times while mucking about in the shallows. Gets the blood pumping! (me not them)

  8. Colin Ritchie says

    Had a few days in Port Fairy last week, tossed the wettie in and planned to have my first swim for the season. Weather not the best but I must admit some souls did brave the elements as I looked down from the balcony at the surf club while I was eating brunch and having a coffee! Next time!

  9. Good choice Col! I remember my first swim in the Greek Isles: hot, cloudless day; impossibly white sand; deep blue water. I raced down and was sure it’d be as warm as a spa. Dove in. Utterly polar. Thought my breeding career was done before it had begun. A huge surprise.

    PS- brunch is one of life’s fine things.

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