Sand Flies and Tea Tree Oil

I remember your face so well but then
your picture has travelled with me
down through the decades
28th March 1987 – almost thirty years ago
you must be what, forty now?
I don’t even know your name
never took the trouble to write it down
you passed me with your mum and dad
their 4×4 robust compared with my very
unsuitable 400cc Suzuki road bike
not the ideal transport on an undulating
sandy track through Aussie rainforest
four hours to cover six kilometres!
the whole campsite cheered when I appeared
that’s one amazing thing I’ve achieved
although at the time I was scared shitless
as the light faded and my confidence waned
but it was worth it just to find that beach
and the Cherry Venture wreck
sharing food and camp fires
magical moments that stayed with me forever
I wonder how they shaped your life
young boy with the cheeky smile
all covered in sand in your Lufkin hat
do you remember being stung in the sea
and my tea tree oil took away the pain and tears
the sand flies were a menace too
big fat bastards but easily swatted
if you kept your wits about you
and let them settle before thwacking them dead
it all seems such a long time ago
a distant echo on so many waves
a million tides of crashing surf
I hope life turned out well for you?

beach boy2

(Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, which is native to Southeast Queensland and the Northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia. It was virtually unheard of in the UK back in the eighties but is now globally widely used in many products for its antimicrobial properties despite evidence in its favour being low, according to Wikipedia. This poem links back to my previous posts on the The Cherry Venture wreck if you skip around my little Haiku Hiking interlude. Where to next I wonder).

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