A broken-down oar, a pink dummy, a fine kid glove: mystery beach offerings in a mysterious time | Paul Daley

The most unlikely things have recently found a crevice in my consciousness

The old wooden oar had been in the water a long time. Its grip was almost rotted through. Little white barnacles had attached to the blade. Its rubber collar was corroded.

It belonged to someone. But it had long ceased to be of use to them. And there it was, washed up on the little beach at the arse-end of the harbour where we walk and swim the dogs. Our daughter claimed the oar with some excitement. This would never happen in land-locked Canberra from where we’d just moved. But this was living by the sea.

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Naturally I had to ponder where it might have washed in from, who the loser might’ve been

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