the harbingers of ruin – lennox head
The two elephantine nude women was a sign.
Ladies, the both of them, surely, idling in the lower dunes of upper Lennox, standing and stretching – and bending over, and picking things up. Massively naked and slow moving women, unshorn of limb and head, and fully bearded in places where the eye would water if caught wandering there.
Brown and lithe women though, for their size, both casually brooding over a motley tribe of fawn coloured babies who frolicked all about them in the warm sand.
Further up and behind a rusted Ute half hidden in the long grass squatted Lonnie.
A likeable chap locally known as Lonesome; just another scatter-eyed and patient evacuee from the Nimben smokehouses waiting for a more subtle apocalypse than the one that frightened him away from that transitory home.
Lonnie from Redfern. The Spider, the handbag man.
They punched him to the ground when he turned and faced them, the grandmother’s handbag at his feet, her twenty dollars in his hand, and they kicked him permanently senseless.
Massive homes lie behind the northern end of the beach, like the outreaches of some fabulous community that charitably condescends to have the wretched, like Lonnie, share without leasehold the paradise that their proprietary and unimaginable wealth allows them to gaze over.
When they come by here from time to time.
The Lennox hotel has a view from the window of the public bar that takes in a major sweep of what was once one of the wildest beaches on the far north coast.
The paperbark forest that squatted so peaceably in the rank seawater swamp just behind the small settlement for centuries is now swept up and burned away and the salty ground that fed it now lies humped under mortgaged homes whose gardens invade and infect and throttle the ruined wetlands with foreign life.
Cul-de- sacs, avenues. Suburbs.
Evening traffic from Ballina flows unceasing through the town in a gully of light, every night.
The little widow that ran the general store in Lennox was only too happy to make us a sandwich, and when she was out in the back kitchen we helped ourselves to this and that from her shelves – and now, after forty-five years, I know that we were the harbingers of the ruin of Lennox Head.