One of those days…
Today was one of those days that reminded me of what the coast is – a summer’s day which releases special memories that go back 70 years.
The morning began with heat that seared the face and bare feet and the drawn out click and hum of crickets in the underbrush. I walked my dog along the beach and he dragged, not really interested in smells, just swims – his seriously wiry coat not what a dog would want to wear when the temperature was up to 32 degrees by 10.30. But the sea was as blue as the sky – they joined at some nebulous floating horizon. It’s the same whenever it’s hot – everything shimmers.
The wind, a warm northerly, gusted along the beach taking willie-willies with it – little swirls of white sand that smack of mystery. I always remember the day years ago, when my son scattered the ashes of his beloved dog in the water and a willy-willy blew along the beach after. We decided it was Milo’s spirit, come to make my son feel less sad.
But today, and back home in the leafy cool of the garden, I filled an old tin bath with water for my dog to sink into and for me to wash the sand from my feet. I grabbed some secateurs and picked a bunch of blown Madame Alfred Perrière roses for the bedroom…
…and the fragrance reminded me of Mum walking down the hall in a silk dress before she and Dad went out, the silk whispering as she came to kiss me goodnight.
The heat though was too much for me, I’m getting old, you see. So Dog and I retired to the cool comfort of the aircon – he to lie stretched out on the oak floor and me to sit and work away at the production notes for the audio narration of Tobias.
Outside, the wind changed direction to an offshore breeze (westerly) and a close friend rang to say that in front of her house the sea was calm. ‘Let’s swim.’
I was there in a wink!
She and I launched ourselves upon summer the week before Christmas last year as well. We both said today that Christmas is a hurdle we have to jump over before summer really takes off. You see, she and I have had a lifetime of THE best summer memories here on the coast, memories that began the minute the plum pudding was eaten and the coins from within counted out and laid on the table.
We sat on the sand, talked about the year just past and then dived into the water, floating weightless, letting the waves lift us and release, and saying how we had waited nine months to get back in the sea – to feel that slight chill on the skin, to feel refreshed and revived.
I love the tight feel of drying salt, the way the cool of the sea drifts into the bones and stays there for the rest of the day. It’s a shot of life!
And so it’s now six days before Christmas.
I wrapped presents and wrote tags. Ate a piece of newly made-Rocky Road (its my latest Christmas cooking)…
…and put together some more hearts that are sorely needed in Devonport after a serious event where children lost their lives.
(That memory is a dark one that no amount of sun and salt can erase and I think we hold our own dear ones that much tighter because of it.)
Later, I sat down to watch wonderfully schmaltzy TV after a dinner of mango salad…
…and potatoes from the garden with BBQ-ed fish with Mum’s mayonnaise. The day before, I had felt jaded and tired. At odds with myself and everything else and sick of the sad stresses and strains of the year we’ve all had, and really not caring two hoots about anything.
But today, after a couple of hours on the beach chatting with my friend, and a swim in that glorious water, I feel like a new me – that I won’t just clear the hurdle of Christmas, but will fly over it like a steeplechaser, with beach-bag over my shoulder and trailing a beach-towel behind.
A good feeling…