Sea breezes, strong coffee and softening the stones
August 14, 2012. No comments.
There’s something about being held up by that great expansiveness – stretching and turning every which-way you want, unhindered by Edges. Now a starfish on your back gazing at an endless blue sky. Now a mermaid sweeping through the gleaming water following the sunlight, heading out towards the horizon. Just because you can.
As long as it’s not tainted by too many tourists and commercial crap, the sea never fails me. There’s nothing more refreshing than a morning swim after waking up all hot and sticky and then returning to the campervan to make a nice strong cup of coffee.
Perhaps it’s living in the city of seven hills, where the dust settles in the valley of fumes as the lorries trundle by – or because so much of life these days takes place on tiny screens and buzzing little machines – but I need the sea. It helps heal all the craggy corners of land life that can sometimes weigh me down. The little frustrations, the small slights and disappointments, the same old problems, the overwhelm, the bills.
Here we can breathe fresher air. Even so, some of us were a bit crotchety to start with, whining about hungry tummies and a long drive, parking ticket palavers, and too much to carry. The pebbles hurt our feet as we walked and it was all rather more uncomfortable than we had imagined. But soon we were content to just be. Conversation petered out, and, as we lay in the hot sun the pebbles somehow molded themselves to our bodies, as if they had softened with our softening – no longer the awkward, painful things we found at first. We scratched patterns onto their smooth surfaces. The girl kept bringing us the prettiest ones to look at, or show us names etched into the little bits of rock. Like secret stories from the sand.
As the sun lowered in the sky the pebbles took on a new kind of beauty, a pale glorious curve of light. We looked at some beach art made out of the various shades of ochre, bluey-grey and white as we walked along past all the pastel-coloured beach huts. People were beginning to make fires and open wine bottles, and by the time we meandered our way to the pub, admiring boats and flowers and joyfully-shaped windows, there were no awkward edges left on us.
Somewhere inside I’m still bothered by the same things I was before – all those things that make us grimace and tense and squeal – but after being held by the sea I feel more friendly towards them. It is after all the sea that shapes the rock. Paper, scissors, stone.