Contemplating at Boreen Point
Quiet, laid back, contemplative are words I’d use to describe the feeling of Boreen Point. It’s not an unspoilt natural environment, it has a long history of occupation, intervention and development, but the small village is quiet and slow enough to not overwhelm the natural foreshore of Lake Cootharaba. Here and there a jetty or man-made intrusion juts into the lake, and here and there a man-made indentation has been carved out to facilitate some human endeavour like launching of boats or fishing. The foreshore area is marked with signs of human occupation, roads and overhead power lines, toilet blocks, a convenience store, a camping ground , signs, parking areas, boats, craypots, a sailing club, graffiti and picnic tables. It’s also home to old gnarled trees, rocks, sand, grasses, undergrowth, reeds and mangroves. Development is yet to move aside the natural world entirely and replace it with boardwalks, manicured lawns and discreet plantings. Perhaps it never will.
The people who live here do so mostly by choice. There is no work, no school, very minimal public transport, slow and unstable internet and mobile phone services, only one shop, one pub. It is a place on the far reaches of a large populated region, with huge expanses of national park around it, popular and slightly busy with tourists in holiday times and slow and quiet most of the time.
So what is the dialogue here? What realities converge here in this place?
The thing that comes most to my mind after the calm of the lake and foreshore is human use. It is as if we have lost the Victorian idea of ‘taking the air’ and ‘communing with nature’ by quiet contemplation and instead see the natural world as our playground. We play on boats, kayaks, sailboards, floats, jetskis, fourwheel drives and more. We see the foreshore as a place to swim, to take our dogs for a bath, to throw sticks and rocks and launch our boats. We like the idea of a few conveniences and a take away coffee, and we demand a parking place close by, power, street lighting, bitumen roads, mobile phone coverage, wifi, walking tracks and a packet of chips. Nature is ours to use as we want and we are interested in doing things on it and with it.
An extreme version of this is found just past my FL site, where some has tamed and manicured the foreshore to a personal vision far removed from its natural state.
I suspect even the little inlet I am so taken with was made in the past by people creating a path through the mangroves and undergrowth to launch boats. A cleared area and a concrete launching ramp now grace the foreshore a little further on and the mangroves and reeds are reclaiming the inlet.