Looming sky overhead, full of rain. Ink blue sea, stirred up by the wind. Foam tops from the churning of the ocean. A fishing boat bobs up and down, bouncing from wave to wave. Struggling to make headway against the incoming tide. Today is not a good day to be a fisherman.
Snuggled down under the duvet, I drift on a blanket of sound. Listening to the world around me as it settles into its nights sleep. A creak of a floorboard, relaxing after the pressures of the day. The clock in the bathroom ticks noisily. The hot water gurgles quietly in the pipes, and the radiators click with heat. A clatter as a bird lands on the roof – probably a seagull roosting on the chimney pot again. A gentle patter as the rain is blown on to the windows. The wind whistles round the house, buffeting the building. Even here, at the back of the house, the waves are audible as they rush in, pounding against the seawall. A boom more felt than heard. A constant accompaniment through today’s storm. I welcome the familiar symphony. Aware that tomorrow I journey on again, heading north. Bags packed and ready to go, waiting impatiently in the corner of the room. Warm and cosy, hot water bottle at my feet. Lulled to sleep by the sound of the sea.
NB I’m off up north for a few days, wind and weather permitting, so a break from blogging for a wee while. No wifi or web-access where I’m going, so forgive me if I don’t respond to any comments straight away 🙂
Walk along the beach.
Tide riding into shore on the wind.
The shingle rumbles.
There, lying tumbled,
A scallop shell lies.
Orange white, firm ridges.
The pilgrim shell of long ago.
Cradle it in your hands.
This time is pilgrimage.
Like the traveler of old
Headed to a strange place
Savour the journey.
Value each step.
Be in this place
Listen to the song of the journey
Step into lands unknown.
The boom of the tide woke me early today. Steel grey ocean, white banners flying on the wind. Waves rushing in, knights riding to battle. The seawall vibrates with their impact. A loud clash of water and stone. Spray splashes up and over, soaking the road. The wind is building again outside as I write this. Another rough night ahead. Lucia’s light will be twice welcome in the morning.
Today’s run turned into a lamp-post jog. Fix my eyes on the next target, run a certain number of lamp-posts, walk till the next. Repeat. There really aren’t that many lamp-posts in this little village. I pass about 20, on the usual route. And when they run out, I aim for clumps of grass… puddles … rocks on the shoreline… that little patch of sand… oh look at that… ah yes. A slight hitch in my rhythm. Not really a problem. More a delight – the sea is there. A constant companion on my journey. Some days, the salt-spray coats my face. Rain comes horizontally at me. The wind almost knocks me off my feet. Gusts snatch my breath. I speed up, trying to get it over with. My thermal running gear, new beanie and running gloves have been well and truly christened the last few days. But this day… today could not be rushed. Waves rolling stones at the edge of hearing. Gulls soaring overhead. The flash of dunlins as the flock flitted by. The light shifts and changes over the water as I watch. Molten silver rolls in on the ocean waves. Sometimes, speed is not important. Sometimes you just have to pause and gaze in wonder. Live in that moment, and hold it in your heart.
Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
Blue skies and golden sun greet me as I step outside today. Down to the beach I go. Strewn with seaweed, light reflecting from the wet sand. Ten days I’ve been gone from here. In my absence the winter waves and rushing stream have been doing some rearranging. The path to the sea’s edge is ankle deep in spring water, rolling down from the hills. Stones and pebbles lie strewn across the surface of the strand. New pools have formed, secret worlds to be explored. Yellow periwinkles cling precariously to the edges, waiting for the rising tide. Dark green bladderwrack adorns the largest boulders, draped like a wigs across their heads. Across the stream an oyster-catcher mocks. I follow seagull footprints along the sand, meandering along. Slowly I return to the start, back across the tumbled rocks.
Yesterday’s blue is hidden under thick cloud. Steel grey ocean reflects the sky. Eyes closed, I listen. Waves curl towards the shore, hitting the seawall with a gentle thud. Stones roll under the water’s wake as it pulls back. Wind whistles along the tideline, summoning the birds. Somewhere a dunlin replies, a chirruping call. The oyster-catcher shouts a warning, and the gull screams on its way past. The world drips, gently feeding the ocean. Time turns, and the cycle is complete.