Summer’s Unshackled Sands
by Mel A Rowe

It was a time when bathers & boardies became wardrobe necessities
and smeared sunscreen and sloppy hats were common accessories.
Maths forgotten on countless surfboard tumbles & kickboard glides
and where our English lessons were compromised.
Our screams deafened from sand dune slides
yet, we listened to Surf Lifesavers’ lessons
on spotting sharks and surviving riptides.

It was a time of drowsy afternoons of ice cream cones & sticky fingers
where lanky limbs hung over the veranda’s hammock swings.
We’d rest peeling sunburnt skin and gritty eyes,
as a chance to repair kites and fishing lines.

But as the sun simmers its summer spin
the shack’s lights spread across warm sand
tasting barbecued snags
we’d craft our bonfire singalongs,
pirate wars, and ghosted mermaid tales,
to the finale’s yawning chorus of ‘not-tired’ wails.
Ending in slumber on bunk beds cooled by a reef’s breeze
where we’d wish away school bells and the oncoming winter freeze.

PHOTO: Encounter Bay, South Australia by Fairv8.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As kids who lived in the Outback, the beach was a heavenly freedom for us, and this is about my childhood annual summer adventures at the rustic, family shared, fishing shack that used to be nestled in the Coorong in Encounter Bay, South Australia. I found it warming to revisit my childhood summers when I wrote this poem as it is currently winter in Australia (June through August) and schools are closed for end of semester for a few weeks. The Australian summer season runs from  December to February, where most schools close the first week of December and don’t reopen for the new school year until after Australia Day at the end of January. Then we’re made to endure the record-breaking hottest month of February, wishing schools would close for being too hot while trying to relearn the delicacies of sitting still in a clock-watched classroom, resisting the restrictive scratch of uniforms, enduring blisters from breaking-in new shoes after having roamed free in bathers and thongs all summer long.  Even now, as an adult, this post-summer ritual still occurs and I can’t help but flip the pages of the calendar to count down the months to summer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mel A Rowe is a writer & wannabe weekend wanderer, taking random photos, writing rambling words, while trying to not get too lost in the Outback of Northern Australia. You can find her flash fictional pieces at ruralromanticramblings.wordpress.com.