Late September and the sun is warm and soft on my skin. We, H and I walk along the path that borders the beach. There is something special about this day and I can't quite figure out what that special is. Our walk is not planned. We were driving to the post office and the bank and the grocery store and found ourselves close to the beach. The sight was alluring. It was like opening up a big box of dark lucious chocolates and knowing you only wanted the one with the marzipan filling. You know you only wanted one to satisfy. It was a little like that. Finding ourselves getting out of the car. The Small Dog in tow. The people walking along caught up in the net of the day. Some sitting on rocks - just looking out, to sea, at themselves, pondering something greater. Everything glittered and shone and there were people taking photographs of themselves, of the world, of, perhaps something beyond themselves. I don't know. A man lay on the stone pier below where we walked. He wore sunglasses and a hoodie with the hood up around his head. His legs were splayed and his arms too and he looked so at peace, so accepting. I said to H, I envy him. His trust in his surroundings. I said, I wish I could do that. Lie there, prone, open to the world.
The Kelp crunched like bubble wrap underneath my bare feet. We had found ourselves on the strand beckoned as we were by the pure sensation of wanting to escape. We naturally went our separate ways with H wading out into the still water and I chancing my steps into tide pools and rambles without intention. I had no direction yet H looked as if he knew where he was going. The Small Dog divided her allegiance between us, going from one to the other. Always eager to please by running back and forth whenever either of us called out to her.
You can learn a lot about yourself on the beach. It throws all the crap away. The beach. There is nothing there to chide or challenge. All you have is your step, your way of being. Especially if nobody else is around or within close proximity. I looked into tide pools and saw sketches of beauty that could have been scrolls of stories that I knew would not last come the next high tide but my eye followed them like pure art. Temporary scrolls of wisdom.
I gathered shells. I looked for the imperfect ones, scorning the entirety of most. I wanted to string the day together when I got home. I wanted to somehow capture it - make the intangible into something real. I gathered a handful and knew they would suffice.
Small birds flew low over the water and I wondered if they were Swifts and thought they were putting on a fine airshow for us and again remarked to myself and even queried why everything seemed to stunningly beautiful and wondered why my eyes were keen and extra sharp to take it all in.
When we got home I strung the shells onto a piece of hemp. At first the brown string unravelled when I cut into it but I persisted. I quickly put the shells on the string and tied knots to separate each shell. I hung them from the blue shelf in the kitchen, right over my spice rack. I said to H, there that will always remind us of our day. And then I turned to dinner and with a sharp knife ran it down the centre of the leaves of green curly Kale and I cut away the main vein, the tough fibre with ease so that only the tasty bits remained. I put the leaves into the bamboo steamer to cook. And then I turned my attention back to the string of shells hanging from the blue shelf and I went to touch them and they moved back and forth like a tide, like time, like something incredibly special and I swear those shells mattered so much to me, like I was watching my life hanging from string, from a blue shelf and hell it was the most incredible feeling I have yet to experience because it was as if I had finally come to knotting myself together and it all made sense.