I am drawn to the shore, but it seems I cannot reach it. Sometimes I am so close I can hear the ever alternating ebb and crash, the crack of shoved, impacting pebbles, the hiss, the fizz… It’s just over this ridge, through this last field where sheep or cattle graze, beyond those thorny, scrawny, wind disfigured trees, that patch of tangled bramble or yellow blooming gorse. I only have to find a path. I only have to reach the edge of cliffs and find some track-way down.
I yearn to remove my shoes and socks, tread the slightly yielding sands and place my feet in the path of some cold, incoming surge of froth and water. I long to dance and splash and play the fool, there where land meets sea. To stride out ever deeper, throw my body forward and in that moment of immersion propel myself to swim.
I climb, I descend, I stride a line or zigzag through rougher terrain. I can hear the gulls, their sharp peals seem to echo around me as they circle and swoop above. I can smell the fresh, salty odour of the ocean that awaits me beyond these tangles and slopes that hinder my advance. Oh but the wind that blows it to me, it too pushes me back, making a labour of simple footsteps.
I keep pushing on. The sun, at its highest, seems to scorch my scalp. I am sweating, footsore, my muscles ache with effort. I have nothing to sustain me but the will to reach that ever-moving body of water, whose presence I desire. Surely I will see it soon, I only have find some gap or gate in this stark fence of barbed wire that stands before me now.
There must have been a path. That must be where I started. Others have reached the sea and returned to tell tales of clear waters, sheltered coves, bright and fascinating rock-pools, the passing of pleasurable hours. But, if path there was, it has disappeared, or I have turned away from it in some moment of careless distraction. The fence stretches either way, as far as I can see, the barbed wire new and too taut to manipulate a gap through which I could clamber. And then it turns a corner and I am forced to retreat from my destination. I have no memory of the gate or means by which I entered this enclosure, but if this impedance continues, I will find myself back at that point.
At least then I might find some other route, or perhaps the path I guess I lost - this time to lead me with greater certainty. But the sound I heard so seeming close is fading. The gulls too keep distant, circle higher, their cries drifting out of range. It is blackbird and song-thrush I’m hearing now, in the woodland from which the fence now divides me. Another corner and surely soon I will find the gateway out.
My weariness is now bone deep, each lift of a leg an effort. My spine is a long, dull ache; my stomach a void; my throat coarse with thirst. I don’t know how long I’ve been walking for, pressing myself on in isolation, but I know that soon I can walk no more. Perhaps the way back to wherever I came from will be easier. Perhaps there will be food and shelter there, someone to advise me, to show me the way.
Rest and a good night’s sleep are what I need.
Tomorrow I will surely find the shore.
Won't be blogging next week, away from home. Check me out again start of August.