a shack by the sea
By Baker Street
We used to go with my grand-parents on holiday a lot when I was young. One of their favourite vacation spots was Sodwana Bay on the north coast of Natal. It was then still relatively unknown, and not as populated and developed as it is today. We camped in tents on one of the lovely camping sites of the National Parks Board. It was always enjoyable and fun holidays for us young kids. The last time I was there must be twenty-five years ago.
When I was about twelve years old, and we were once again camping there, we went on a four-by-four trip along the beach with neighbouring holiday makers. Four-by-fours were then still a new thing in South-Africa, and we were the only vehicle heading northwards along the beach that morning. We traveled quite a distance up the coastline this way, with the wild sea breaking on our right hand, and the thick green bushes inland on our left. The vehicle left a solitary pair of tracks in the sand behind us.
Eventually we came to a secluded and deserted beach. We camped out for morning snacks, and us kids played on the beach and in the surf. There was an old deserted shack standing just beyond the beach, on the edge of the jungle, and it over-looked the sea. It was big as far shacks go, more like a small wooden house. Their was no signs of life or recent occupation. The wood of the shack was old and extremely weather-worn. It was bleached to almost a dirty white, by the sea, salt and weather.
It was a beautiful place, and it seized my imagination immediately. What a lovely little place it must have been to live in. It was miles from the nearest settlement, and whoever had lived here, had lived in perfect peace and seclusion, in harmony with the sea and nature.
I wondered where they got fresh water from, and food. Fish were a-plenty in the sea. How did they occupy themselves, and pass the time? What had happened to them, and why was the old shack now standing empty? The place had the air of a thousand questions and mysteries about it. But it was beautiful, just standing their empty next to the sandy beach and the sea. It was as if it was just waiting for new tenants. I secretly wished that it could be me. I have ever since dreamed often of living alone in that old shack by the sea.
We then drove inland, and spent the rest of the day driving about Lake Sibaya, and marveling at the beautiful expanse of water. It is a very large sub-tropical lake, and boasts much wild-life. It is home to many crocodiles and hippopotamus. We drove around the remainder of the day admiring the fauna and flora, as we always did in trips to Game Parks such as this. But my thoughts were all occupied with that lonely old wooden shack next to the sea.
I still think of it sometimes, standing there white, rotten and dilapidated, next to the sand and the surf. It is place like this I would ideally like to live in.