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.

'A shivery 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.

'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 . . .