Bake a tray of cake and cover it with green frosting. Sway it down to the sea and cut a thick wedge right at the edge of a navy blue swell. Attempt to cut it deep and with confidence so that the chocolate brown of the slice is defined but realise that it may turn jagged from your uneasy clumsy handling of the knife. Then step back and and see what happens. Notice how on top of the green frosting, tiny white houses appear, like fairy tale houses with seeming abandon and a few random cut outs of cattle are like sculptures from a famous art gallery, hard to recall now, but maybe witnessed in Bilbao years ago and one or three haystacks dot the landscape like melting candles, blown askew by the wind. Swirl some stone in between for relief. A tad of grey compliments a cobalt blue sky, a layer of wash to emphasize what is beneath and then stand on a strand of silver-like placenta that is washed clean by clear pure waters and think to yourself that this is the world. This is life.
And it is the world. First though before you do all that you watch your sons as they fasten a second skin onto their svelte bodies. Zip. Velcro. Surf Board. Youth. I watch them for a minute or two assuring myself that all is well. Waves not thundrerous as expected but mellow with attitude. I cast my worn out Converse into the car and decide to walk. Walk out beyond the throng. Past the crying babies and the families with sand sodden sandwiches and flasks of tea. Three pregnant women in two minutes. I walk close to the water's edge, nothing gets in my way. The surface is glass, nothing stops me as I tread my way, way out, out beyond possibility. I look back now and then to see my offspring but they are not discernible. They are like all the others, black seals melding into one another. That's what is great about the ocean, there is no prejudice, everyone is the same, clad in the one outfit, a board, a wet suit. A shared love.
And so I keep on walking. Walking alone. It dawns on me that it is something I deny myself. Walking without dogs or humans at my side. But I must admit here that it is an indulgence of sorts. It gives you time to figure everything out, to sort out the mass of chaos that runs through ones mind at times. All you have to think about is the sand beneath your feet and the way it dimples into ridges in parts, how the ridges are beautifully constructed, each one cut out with a palette knife, a slice of finesse. I walked and walked. I walked everything out of me. I walked until nature dictated that it was far enough, that there was nowhere else to go and then I turned back, back to retrace my tracks in the sand.
© Mary Wilkinson, 2009