Logging in today and I am surprised how much time it has been. I last wrote on the Winter Solstice. This week heralded the Summer Solstice. Half a year has passed. Six months of intermittent visits to the sea, of gradual improvement in fitness and health, so slight it is barely noticeable. This blog has loosely been mapping and tracing a recovery of my health, threaded with connection to the sea. I have been conscious of this blog, waiting. I’ve had thoughts of posting a picture or some words, but they have not seemed substantial or pressing enough. And yet it has snuck up behind me, my recovery. I am doing more things that I want to – that glorious luxury of choice. I can walk to the sea without questioning if I can, or what it will cost. This is worthy of a celebratory post if nothing else. And on Sunday I have the rare and great privilege to talk with Helen Scales – marine biologist, writer, diver, ocean storyteller – at Wealden Literary Festival. In preparation I have been re reading Eye of the Shoal and remembering what it is like to dive, to be held in and by water, the awesome power of the ocean and the wonders that it holds. It is a fine parallel of the surreal world I am currently inhabiting, with one foot in wellness (and the outside world) and one foot out.
Winter solstice. The shortest day of the year. From here on in days begin to stretch again, light returns. Without the dark there is no light, they say. It was an unremarkable day otherwise, not especially cold or calm, not especially bright or gusty.
A couple of weeks later, another transition, new year. A full moon, a wolf moon. There will be two in January, a wolf moon and a blue one. It’s a time where everything feels a little more unhinged, where more things might be possible. Liminal spaces in liminal places.
Waves drag at the shingle then push it back up the beach. Housekeeping, rearranging the shore line. Everything moves and shifts yet (almost) nothing changes.
Lace built of water hangs in the air. Delicate and fleeting. Structures so easily fallen through and captured by. A momentary suspension of salt water in cold air, patterns of foam, shapes left in sand after the water has gone. Bubbles burst and fall. Spectacular droplets catch the light and dance, then return to the mass and force of the ocean, the moment is gone.
Re-imagining objects collected from recent beach walks I’m transfixed by the translucence of things. Lit from below, I can see through shells. New layers of surface and texture emerge, bringing new landscapes, perhaps the moon? Photographed closely I can see a new sharpness of detail. The luxury of time to dwell and ruminate, a particular string of thoughts turn over and over. With little to distract me it brings new perspective, even if it’s distorted. Disappearing into rabbit holes scratches at old scars and unearths new discoveries. New landscapes form outside and within.