I feel like a naughty charge who outwitted her governess, lured by the sea and sunshine, her imagination all-consuming … Translated, it was sunny and I was in need of a vitamin D boost. What of my blog? It could wait and, after all, what greater inspiration than Nature?
For once, God was in his heaven – as Pop used to say – and my timing was perfect. It’s Tuesday, Easter Weekend is well and truly over and the chocolate-engorged visitors of exquisite refinement have departed for home. In the words of the much-loved Scottish folk song, ‘Will ye no come back again?’ We can but hope – not!
The sun was glistening on the water, magical in its changing hues of green, from that of the deep – the rich sea green – to the mustard tone of the shallows reflecting the sand below. The frothy white waves seemed happy in their song as they lapped the shore with an energy of youth, creeping ever closer as though teasing those come to share in the delights of spring; Nature’s delights. Here, there was no concept of urgency.
Today deserved more than a purposeful walk. Today deserved a stroll – and much thought. A chance to really appreciate Nature in all its glory. Thus, I did just that – I strolled towards the water’s edge and continued, never once taking for granted the iconic skyline in the distance. Somehow, today, there were no crowds, rather people; individuals with each other – or by themselves. Free from the disturbances of a yapping ‘poo’, the screams of a demanding child or the beats emanating from the speakers of inconsiderate students, there were no interruptions to detract from the sound of the waves breaking on the sand, spongy underfoot. I stopped every so often, at the edge of the water, just to soak it all in; to breathe in the oh, so fresh air, laced only by the smell of the sea. I took long, deep breaths, expanding my lungs to capacity in a bid to claim every ounce of goodness for my own – and to revel in an aroma which will, forever, transport me back to my childhood and happy times spent on the beach.
‘This old world will keep on turning …’ So, Perry Como sings (For the Good Times) and who could argue? However, today I realised that – despite the apparent demise of everything good – some things will never change. Lost in thought, I couldn’t help but notice two little girls – sisters – paddling in the shallows. Dressed identically in matching pink shorts and cardigans, both had blonde pigtails and were standing side-by-side about three waves in. An image which transcends time, they had waded in as far as they could go without being soaked. As the little one copied her older sister, both hands holding up her shorts, I couldn’t help but smile. Suddenly, I felt the need to capture the moment – with their backs to me, no infringement of privacy – but I wasn’t quick enough and a rogue wave had them laughing and running out of the water. They soon returned for more, though, and I took a lovely photograph on my phone (oh, the irony!). It wasn’t the perfect one. I had missed that.
Sisters holding up their skirts or shorts to go paddling in the sea, delighted to be barefoot in the sand while seeing how deep into the water they can go, jumping the waves. Joyous – and timeless. Not a phone or an ipad in sight, just Mother Nature at her best … The photo, I love. Of strangers, yes, but no matter. Those two little girls represent the past and the future, for Nature’s vast playground is irresistible and no hostage to time.
I like to walk on my own. It gives me time to think. Inspired, always, I write many lines in my head, believing they will remain obediently there until I have access to pen and paper – or Quill and Parchment, perchance. Miraculously, most do – remain, that is. Memory is the most precious faculty and it does well to exercise it. I digress … As I began my stroll, I noticed a young girl sitting up by the dunes on her own. I don’t like seeing people on their own – never have – but, particularly, young people. Obviously, a student, she was ensconced on a rug, fixated on her phone. Sad on all levels but it did lead me to ponder the onus of said phone when it comes to the disease of loneliness? Not insignificant. Huge, more like and yet, ironically, it, too, can be a source of comfort; a shield behind which to hide. I wondered why she was on her own? Was it through choice or was she sad and seeking solace on the beach? That’s something I always do, imagine the backstories of strangers. Remember ‘the golfer’ I used to see on my evening walks in lockdown?!
Technology. So much to answer for. Isolation abounds in a world of ego and selfies. Thus, from the young girl sitting on her own, engrossed in her phone, to the Chinese gathering a short distance away complete with selfie stick. They were about eight in number, each wearing a mask, the idiocy of which never ceases to irritate. Here we are, in the vast outdoors, breathing the freshest of air coming off the North Sea and they insist on covering their faces with a useless piece of bacteria-infested material which only serves to curtail their oxygen intake. Why? Each to his own, of course, but are they stupid?! God forbid any of these face coverings should be discarded on the beach …
I do, sometimes, wonder whether someone is looking at me wondering why I’m on the beach on my own? Whether, someone somewhere has imagined a stupendous backstory for me? How I would love to know. Has to be more exciting than the truth – walking, alone, in beautiful surroundings affords me time to think. It is my ‘me’ time and, what’s more, I rather enjoy my own company!
So, ‘This old world will keep on turning’, for better or for worse, but at least I can take comfort in the realisation that some things will never change. Hallelujah! For, the challenges of today are great and, for some – clearly – greater than others … It was Jeremy Clarkson who alerted me, recently, to the contestant on Pointless who, when asked to name countries which share a border of over 1000km with another country, came up with Africa – and a straight face! Pointless? It should be Speechless! Perhaps, one could cite nerves but that would be Senseless for barefaced ignorance cannot be disguised. Only today, Scott Mills standing in for Ken Bruce on Radio 2 (almost at toleration level, now), asked listeners to phone in with unusual questions they have been asked at work. Help! The best – and most alarming – was the Flight Attendant who was asked, ‘How do you open the window?’!! Then, there was a Guard on one of the train services – Scotrail, no doubt – who was asked by a passenger buying a ticket, ‘Do you do cashback?’! Is it any wonder I find solace in trees?
‘Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with the secrets of life itself.’
L. Wolfe Gilbert
This is Trish, signing off.