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[Essay] My Essence My Peace

Updated: Feb 28


By Stephen House


I stop my car on the top of a familiar cliff. Below, perfectly formed green-blue waves hit a rocky point and peel into a long, gleaming beach. There is not another human in sight. In distant, sandhill scrub I see two grey kangaroos, standing tall, looking across the landscape.


I am again with nature, and for a moment I sit still, eyes closed, and feel it around me and within me


I get out of the car and stretch. A light offshore breeze touches me softly, warm sun envelopes me gently, white clouds floating in pastel blue seem to welcome me back here.


I grab my water bottle, drape towel over shoulder, and shut the car door. Barefoot on a steep sandy trail, I begin a careful decent to the shore below. 


From a low pale green bush, a brown snake slides quickly across the track. At first I am startled, for the fangs of this species can kill. I stay still and quickly relief sets in as I watch he or she ignore me, disappearing with a graceful slither into the growth and rocks.


The pathway spills on to the coast. I take off my t-shirt and throw it with my towel, car keys, and water bottle onto the sand. I wade into the crashing shore-break and swim out.


The waves, about three feet in size, are small enough to swim in without caution; clean enough to slide on to the crystal aqua walls and body-surf along the faces. Wave after wave I swim with, and burst through curling lips, in wonder of connecting with the force.


A pod of dolphins joins me, so close I could touch them.


I continue swimming out. Further and further from shore.


White seabirds, fishing, plunge into the water from above. The sun gets warmer and brighter as it climbs high in the sky.


After thirty minutes, the wind changes and an onshore breeze sweeps in. The smooth faces of the swell get choppy. It is probably time for me to be on land.


I swim in, lay on my towel in the hot sun, drying off; safe and clean, basking in the joyous energy of having been washed by ocean, the feeling permeating my entirety.


I climb back up to my car, passing a black and gold speckled sleepy lizard. I stop, and so does the lizard. We look at each other, and then he or she moves off, and I continue up the hill, wondering where I will pitch my tent to sleep tonight, and looking forward to being back in the sea tomorrow.



Stephen House has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright, and actor. He’s been commissioned often, and had 20 plays produced, with many published by Australian Plays Transform. He’s received several international literature residencies from The Australia Council for the Arts, and an Asialink India literature residency. He’s had two chapbooks published by ICOE Press Australia: real and unreal poetry and The Ajoona Guest House monologue. His poetry is published often. His next book drops soon. He performs his acclaimed monologues widely. Stephen’s play, “Johnny Chico” ran in Spain for 4 years. 


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