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Nov 18, 2012

Mattams Pool - a Fountain of Youth



I run past it regularly throughout the year, and in the warmer months, it's waters motivate me to run a little harder knowing that as reward, I will be refreshed instantly at the end ... Even when the currents are still frosty, my overheating body welcomes the brisk bite of the cold before the numbing makes for a pleasant swim.

It is known locally, and beyond, for it's protective, fish filled reef which shapes and shelters the pool from harsh waves ... and in more recent times, calms the mind about the potential of becoming a snack for one of Perth's more notorious Great White visitors.

I suppose it is for these reasons it also attracts to it a complete cross section of characters who come to bathe, snorkel, surf and generally soak up the sun all year round. I actually find it remarkable that even in the harshest of months there is almost a guarantee there will be someone bobbing in among the waves.

Some of the most memorable of characters are it's regular Polar-Bears. I'm not actually sure if this term applies to this set of individuals, but it certainly would not be out of place.

I can only presume at this point in time that they are a group of retirees who ritually leap into the waters of this curious place. But despite their years, it is hard not to be inspired by these Elders through their zest for life and to find a little something in this that is aspirational – a gentle reminder of living in the moment and making most of the awesome that is immediately and effortlessly under our noses.

I feel like I want to discover what is behind some of these characters. I have wanted to know ever since I remember first watching them and their hard core routines – some of which certainly put my fitness level to shame.

I know from my brief encounters with them I have noted a variety of accents. One disciplined German woman with Mischka her adopted golden retriever, sporting her cap and navy cozi – I can't imagine has missed a day at the beach.

Mostly they are up and at it from early hours of the morning, but it has also amused me to observe what could be seen as yester-year attitudes to the sun – although seeing how vitalised and happy these people are, one could raise a few questions about paranoia, balance and the effects of vitamin D on the soul.

There are extremes of course ... There is one gentleman in particular, I think also German, who surrenders himself daily to the Sun-God to receive a yet darker coating to his already crispy cocoa tan – to the degree which if spotted by any Slip-Slop-Slap ambassador, would be enough to drain any melanin found in their cheeks.

Today I observed yet another feast for the eyes ... spotting a pair of perfectly straight legs protruding above the waterline sporting a pair of water-shoes executing an obviously well practiced underwater hand-stand. I couldn't help myself but to stick around and see who they belong to .. and it made me laugh to find myself NOT actually surprised it was an elderly bold gentleman who popped out of the water at the other end.

Beyond the pool to the right, surfers sit on their boards waiting for an offering of a wave ... The odd kayak and paddle boarder play with the surf, and there's no shortage of less regular visitors of every other description; from beach-babes, young families to a full kaleidoscope of tourists that join in in the frolicking.

I feel my curiosity getting the better of me, and I think I might need to brave some closer inspection ... My mind is playing with my imagination to see if maybe I could capture a sense of place through my Lifelines portraits .... and eventually perhaps even share its magic through an exhibition.

To be continued.

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