How soothing is the sea. No matter what form it takes. Whether it be wide, open, unencumbered, or held gently in the confines of a bay, it exudes a calm, a belief in life that cannot be denied.
It is mid-afternoon. I sit by the breakwater under charcoal smudged clouds, wanting to be unseen, to collect my thoughts.
Seagulls bounce on the waves, forming rings. They close their circles, open them. Close them, then open them again in some kind of synchronised routine. Are they hunting for fish or sending messages to the gods of the sky?
Water tern walk along the sandbanks, legs long as supermodels, pausing as the water begins to lap at their feet as if striking a pose, then turning to walk back, closer to land.
A little boy aged about three comes and sits beside me. He has a little wooden boat. It looks like one of those boats you see in glass bottles – hand-carved with magnificent masts. His grandfather hovers nearby, I suspect he is the one who made the boat.
‘My boat doesn’t go in the water yet,’ says the little boy. ‘She’s not ready to swim. Just like me. I’m not ready to swim yet. I might sink.’ He runs off, clutching his boat to his chest, giggling as his grandfather follows.
Rowers from the University rowing club thrust through the water. Eight people who all want the same thing at once – to move as one through the silver spray. They are dressed in pale blue in a grey blue canoe. I wouldn’t be mistaken in thinking they were creatures of water.
The reeds sway just below the water like ribbon. Toadfish, plump as ripe fruit, hover as if sleeping. A young girl sits on the bench nearby, begins to read. Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. She clicks each page as she turns it, crisply, as if counting hundred dollar bills. She has the manner of a Victorian heroine, fragile and seashell pale.
Oh how soothing is the sea, the sound of it akin to a sigh from Heaven. How fortunate I am to sit here, writing by water, the sound of the waves like voices of old friends. The lull and the pull and the catch of it as familiar as breathing.