Many years ago. After the death of my father, during the economic crisis, at a time of great uncertainty and confusion, we left our home and moved to the coast. I needed the sea. I wasn’t coping. Maybe I had lost my mind a little.
But that was OK. I think everyone has their moments. And moments like those are not to be judged.
We lasted fifteen months on that wild, windswept peninsula. I discovered that life is no different anywhere unless you are. Dark nights of the soul do happen. And while it was one of the most inhospitable and lonely places I have ever lived, I learned powerful lessons there.
I’ve written a series of memories. Observations. Snapshots from a time when I was looking for somewhere to belong.
This is one of the lighter ones. For a change.
Run down towards the beach at 8 a.m. on a breezy Saturday morning. Look up at the soft pudge of cloud against the bright blue sky, ahead to the road and the trees and horses in the distance.
Run down towards the iron bridge. Up and over the small gurgling river and through the silent gap in the dunes.
Catch the first glimpse of waves tumbling and lifting and curling gently along the shoreline.
Think, ‘this is good, running on the beach, not another soul in sight’.
See the little dog appear from out of nowhere. Say to yourself, ‘cute dog’. Follow him/her as he/she scurries and digs in the sand. Then back to the dune, towards the sharp grass and see The Naked Person. Just standing there.
Say to yourself, ‘what!’ And run. Don’t look back. Don’t think about what may be going on back there. Just run. Say to yourself, ‘no big deal. Naked Person in full view of anyone who passes by. His problem, not mine’.
Run through the gallery of rocks, seaweed laced between them, back towards the beach. The tide isn’t out far enough. Part of the beach is impassable. Turn around. Assume that by this time The Naked Person has either:
- entered the water.
- dressed/covered up/etc.
- left the scene.
Keep your head down. Briefly wonder, ‘is the little dog a decoy. Is The Naked Person naked with bad intent?’
Become annoyed because this is out-of-context. You are not against the undressed but there is a protocol. A time/place continuum to these things and this continuum is decidedly wrong.
Besides, you don’t like things out-of-context. Toothpaste for example; either on the rim of the sink or frothing/dripping at the corners of someone’s mouth. And milk. Dribbling down a chin or splashed on a counter.
More importantly, having to calculate, weigh and measure how to avoid The Naked Person is ruining your high.
Approach the place where you first spotted the little dog and scan in a ‘not-really-looking, quick-quick kind of way’ to see if the coast is clear.
No. No, it’s not. See a flash of peachy-tan and like an action figure or highly trained stunt person dive back into the gap in the dunes grumbling, ‘put your damn clothes on’.
Head back over the iron bridge, across the river and up the road towards home past the thicket of bramble, the tangle of trees and flora/fauna you’ve yet to identify.
Approach a driveway. Suddenly, as suddenly as you saw the little dog and The Naked Person, a woman appears.
Glance. Don’t stare. Glance again and see that she has that look of well-to-do. She wears a high regal your majesty hat, an expensive looking green coat, longish skirt, flesh-colored tights (you more than glanced). Thickish ankles ending in sensible shoes. At the end of the lead in her hand is a cute little dog. She ignores you and heads towards the beach. She seems out-of-context. Watch as she disappears beyond the first dune wondering whether or not to warn her.
This Post Has 4 Comments
This is so great Deaborah! Has really got me thinking – on a muddy Monday 💚
So much mud! I’m wearing wellington boots almost all the time at this point.
Big hugs and hopes for much brighter times.
Yes, I need a time out! Too much pressure right now – especially financial – so time by the coast is necessary!! Glad you got throughit. Inspirational 💙
Thanks. I hear you Denise. This is absolutely not an easy time. The first financial thing was a nightmare. This one doesn’t seem to be affecting as many people but those of us who are experiencing it, are really being hit hard.
I got through it then, although not sure how (lots of crying and stubborn possibly).
Yes. Get to the coast if you can. Put on a wet suit and get into the water, even better. I hope you can take a time out. It is necessary and the best thing you can do for yourself.
Take care. I understand this all too well.
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