I have a secret. It has nothing to do with a sordid past or superfluous body parts, but it’s one I’ll guard staunchly all the same.
As I write these words I am sitting in the midst of my secret. Its rugged, forested cliffs jut around me and stretch up the coast, folding in on the ocean at intervals like waves of ice cream in a Vienetta.
I am sat on the warm sand of one of the many stunning bays created by this coastline, rocky headlands to my left and right, children playing in the pools formed there, a wetsuit-clad diver emerging from the sea with a spear gun in one hand and a bag of fish in the other. Surfers jostle for position beyond the breakers, and a woman with a baby sits at the water’s edge, laughing with every shriek of joy the child emits as the foamy water reaches his toes. Locals, all of them, as I was once, which is why my lips are sealed.
Even from the beach I can smell the fragrant, mid-summer eucalyptus of the dense bushland rising up from sea level. I can hear the songs of king parrots and the screech of cockies, even above the chorus of cicadas.
The breeze is gentle, warm and blowing in from the west, creating a postcard-perfect sea whose tidy little waves offer a serene swimming experience for the revellers between the flags. I imagine their delight as that breeze occasionally picks up spray from the crest of a wave and blasts it out to sea, soaking the faces of those who opted for “Over!”.
I’m not in the business of keeping secrets. On the contrary, as a journalist it is my job to take a sledgehammer to them, exposing their contents to as broad an audience as possible. But in this instance — and you’ll have to forgive me — I must refrain. This one means a lot to me; it’s the card I’m choosing to hold close.
Don’t give me that look, we’ve all got one.
I justify the preservation of my secret by the simple fact it is less of a holiday destination than an idyllic place to live, and I’d like for it to stay that way. You justify the preservation of your secret because you’ve been camping there for years, your alarm clock is the warble of magpies rather than the grating breakfast rituals of the strangers camped next door, and you can always catch a fish for dinner. I respect that.
There is no shortage of secret spots in this blessedly sprawling country of ours, so I think it’s fair and reasonable that we each lay claim to one or two. I hope you’re enjoying yours – wherever it is – as much as I’m enjoying mine. And remember, loose lips sink ships.