Sunday 25 September 2011

Seeing the sea

I am having withdrawal symptoms.

A couple of weeks ago I had spent the whole day at a little beach on the south coast of France. The sea was warmer than the gigantic swimming pool. It was clearer and a lot more interesting. Fish swarmed and swayed with us as we bobbed, heads down, being part of their underwater world.

The beach was a little cove. The same people who had discovered it on previous days had come back. We were all part of the same family. This was our beach.

The sun was hot. The only sounds were the lapping of the waves as they reached the feet of the fat man on the shoreline.

Why does the ocean give us such as sense of peace? Especially as we know the damage it can wreak. I used to live with the sea on my doorstep. It wasn't the azul paradise I've just described. It was the Wash: an often churning brown colour, dark and dismal. And yet, it didn't really matter if it was thrashing at the sea wall, or looking like mirrored glass - a green, flat sheet which stretched between us and Lincolnshire - the sight of it always made my morning. Throwing back the curtains, stepping out on the way to work and seeing its mood was part of lightening mine.

It is no coincidence that Martín and I have a dream to retire to a small French island in the Atlantic, which by seasons has different relations with the sea. In summer, shining coved beaches host lazy days and crystal clear swims. In winter, the Atlantic rages at the savage coast, thrashing against one side of the island with fury and passion.

Passion is a good word for the sea. People that live near it don't realise their passion for it until it's not there every morning, silent and moody; or when they return from work, coasting gently to greet them.

I definitely need to find a job which allows me to sit on cliffs/beaches/mermaids' beds and do my stuff for most of the day.

The sea is inspiration. It is life. And I miss it.

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