A sea-blown coast greets me as I step outside. Treasures tangles in jumbled seaweed. Bright yellow boot, washed ashore. Waiting patiently for its companion to join the party. The mermaids have been shopping again, their purses emptied and tossed to one side. Parchment thin, translucent. Weathered sea-glass lies on the surface of the sand, shining like an emerald in the sun. Satin smooth to touch. I cradle it in my palm, this gift from the sea. The sky drums down rain. The sun shines in melody. And above me dances a rainbow.
A bitter north wind blows around the house. Banging at windows and doors as though to seek entry. The fire in the hearth fights back defiantly, spitting up the chimney. I sit barricaded against the cold, quilt thrown over me. Hands occupied with stitching, the picture slowly forms.
A sunflower for a friend, cheery colours in the winter dusk. My mind wanders back to the summer. Sunflowers nodding their heads in the garden. Planted as part of Good Friday meditations, they took until late August to come into bloom. A period of waiting, of expectation. Of watering, care, nurture. Finally the buds were seen. They slowly opened out, blossoming in the heat. Following the sun with their faces.
Hands occupied with stitching, the picture slowly forms. Seeds planted. I wait for the coming of spring, for the blossoming. For the harvest.
‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope, and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11
The bright light shone through the curtains, waking me from sleep. Curious, I rose and peeked out. Silver lit the scene. Patches of fog snuggled in the vegetable patch, bedded down for the night. The moon stretched out her fingers, reaching down to the earth. Mist rose to bow to his love, and the moonbeams sailed down, rising and falling in stately dance. The rising wind eddied the pair into a wild jig. Sitting on the window sill, I watched entranced. Protective clouds gathered around the moon as she traced glowing paths across the garden. Slowly she waved her goodbyes, leaving me to my rest.
The wind stirs the boats in the harbour. A gentle clanging as ropes bang against mast, rocked by the waves. The fishing fleet is out in the bay. All seems serene. Yet blown on the wind comes a raucous sound. The other side of the sea wall, the tide runs straight up to the rocks. Where the river runs into the sea. There the gulls are gathering. Not floating serenely, but in a frenzy of excitement. Here, where bitter salt meets sweet water, life explodes into being.
While the sun shines, I break free from the house. After a night of rain, the street is washed clean, puddles lying at the edges. The grass on the verges squelches under my feet, mud oozing over my boots. I stroll along the road, idly watching the world pass by. The drainage ditch is overflowing. A new pond has formed in the field over the stone wall. The sea-birds seem to have migrated over from the seashore. I stand and watch as the oyster-catchers paddle in the edge, and the curlews peck at the soil. The gulls float serenely on the pool. The cows seem a little bemused by their company, stood staring from the edges of the field. They seem to be having a soggy time, green shoots muddied by their feet. The stream churns through the field, stirring up the mud on its way to the sea.
The moon floats over sunset hill as we walk. Gravel crunches under our feet. Setting sun reflects in the pools. The low lights cast the fossil footprints into sharp relief, hidden among the rock-strewn beach. The cliffs seem to be caressing each other, ripples of stone on stone. Tucked by the shore’s edge, the holy well is in full spate. The ancient tree cradles the stream as it trickles past, frozen in time. At this most sacred season, the water flows again, bringing new life. The stillness rolls over this place, breath of time itself.
The alder cones dangle
Empty from the branch
Promise of new life to come
And so we wait
As we celebrate
Of the first promise
For the second coming
For the new dawn
For the future
For the alder to blossom
And bear fruit
In due season.
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
The rain makes mirrors of the pavements, reflecting the light. The sun prepares to descend in this winter world, readying himself for the new dawn. A double rainbow curves overhead, full of rich promises. Christmas Eve waits in hushed anticipation, sparkling into the night.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
Merry Christmas! Nadolig Llawen! God Jul! Buon Natale! Frohliche Weihnacthen! Prettige Kerstmis! Crăciun fericit! I’m sure you get the message. Have a wonderful and blessed time.
High tide and gales last night. Doors and windows rattled, and the whole house shook with the power of the sea hitting the seawall. This morning the windows are coated with salt spray, blurring the edges of the world. Brilliant sunshine shines over the bay, highlighting the wave tops as they gallop shore-wards. We walk balanced on the edge of the wind. Even as we approach the strand, the tempest continues to whip the water, creating a bubbling mass. On the beach, a cappuccino has been washed up. Masses of coffee-coloured foam covers the sand. With the gusts, it rises and swells, jelly-like on the shore. I step in and sink into the softness, walking through a bubble bath. My boots disappear beneath the suds. Laughter peels across the beach, carried home on the breeze.
Driven by the wind, the clouds draw in, shrouding the town. The rain splashes up against the side of the market stalls. Awnings bulge under the weight of water. Feet wet and trousers soaking, the store-holders still manage to smile. Last minute presents, a book to read by the fire. Passers-by scurry to and fro, filling their store-cupboards for the coming feast. The smell of fresh bread is carried on the wind, drawing us into the shelter. Warm, crusty loaves. Just the thing for a wet winter’s day.