The Pillow Book of Prudence . . .
Sounds. My world is made of sounds. I sit with my eyes closed and I listen. I hear the waves chuckling along the shore in a breeze-driven chop. I hear the sea-breeze shivering the leaves of the silver birch, maples and willows; a silvery sound.
The crunch of a car turning across gravel. A boat motor on the bay. Birds: I wish I was a twitcher and could tell one from the other. I identify starlings, some sort of wren, a wattle bird. Seagulls along the shoreline. But many more that must remain enigmas of sound. A motor-mower somewhere. The sound of day three of the cricket Ashes on the radio in the kitchen. The dogs.
I turn the radio off and listen again. At the village cricket oval a shout . . . ‘howzat!’ Someone caught out LBW or whatever. If I listen really hard the wingbeat of the tortoiseshell butterfly against the glass partition of the patio. The sound of a blowfly.
On this twenty-seventh day of the eleventh month, the air is humid, the water much warmer. I take the kayak out today for the first time since my injury four and a half months ago. It flips across the flat water, prior to the se-breeze. If I look down through the depths, I can see the bottom of the bay . . . rocks and seaweed edging a vast expanse of sea-deep white sand. It’s just the sea and I. No one else. I haven’t even taken my mobile phone because I want solitude. My wrist pulls on the right-side of the paddle, no problems, but on the left a little twinge. So unfit and am sweating before long. Turn across the bay and paddle along the crescent of our beach, back and forth once. This is a trial only, to see what happens. As I coast into the shore on the rising swell, my left wrist is weak and the kayak skews broadside and I roll sideways a fraction, getting wet. The water is beautiful, swimmable and I am not at all cold. I step out of the kayak and the damaged ankle folds a little . . . a protest to remind me it doesn’t like the same position for long.
I look along the beach and notice a few souls about and joy of joys they wear colours, not the drear soul-less black of the city. I myself have an aqua top on, for as readers of this Pillow Book know I have an antipathy toward ongoing black. Life is for living, for experiencing happiness as often as one can. And happiness is colour! To be sure I have ever been a lover of the LBD for evenings but for the rest of the time I love a hint of a tint.
I walk home, pulling the kayak behind me on its wheels. The breeze follows me, kissing the back of my neck. The waves start chuckling. And I am conscious then of how the world is made up of sounds . . .