The Pool Blog

Daily Dip Updates

Mahon, Malabar, Time & Kairos

by Jan 19, 2022

When the tide is high and a pool is awash, timing is everything. You go to the water not really knowing what it will be like until you are there. You could retreat, but in our busy lives the time is now, you will not have the time to come back. When the water is high it is all about timing.

Today we come to Mahon Pool, north of Maroubra. This is a spectacular pool set into sandstone and facing east. On a hot day at low tide, it is most like a Roman bath, where rotund locals stand in the water and discuss the most important matters – politics, sport, and love. But today the water is high, there are only a few swimmers and I dive in to be washed about by the waves.

When the water is high it’s easy to get in – you fall, and the water takes you. It is harder to get out. When you reach for the edge the ebb sucks you back, then, before you can recover, the flood pushes you forward. You lose your grip and oyster shells scrape the soft underside of your arm. You are a shirt dashed against the rocks to be made clean. You are the toy in the bathtub. You are the water’s plaything.

You must pick the right time. Just at the end of the ebb, I put my feet on the steps and with my next step the flood pushes me up. I stand up victorious.

We head to Malabar Pool, tucked on the south side of Long Bay. It is now later in the day and despite the ocean’s turbulence, no waves breach its walls. We are here at just the right time. The water is clear, and as I swim the tips of my fingers touch the seagrass and frighten the fish hiding in the blades. Malabar has a hidden glamour as befits the suburb, with proper showerheads and hooks on the walls for your bag. If you haven’t been, do go and discover it.

The ancient Greeks had two kinds of time. Chronos is what we know best. The chronological sense that time moves in one direction, like an arrow. In our relationship with Chronos, we are running after it, trying to catch it or get ahead of it. Kairos is time that moves in a circle. It is the earth going around the sun. Kairos asks if you recognize the right time for action, the point at which the archer should let go to ensure the arrow hits a moving target. In this relationship we are asked if we know when to seize the moment.

At Mahon, I made the time right. At Malabar, we arrive at the right time.