Yesterday evening, I treated myself to a dose of landscape loveliness. For half an hour, in the gap between teaching a private pupil and going to Physiotherapy, I luxuriated in a sensual oasis of beauty and peace.
I drove to Uphill Sands – and sat, in the car and with the windows wide open, feasting eyes and ears upon the scene before me.
The sea, a rippling garment of wild grey silk, waves frothing like silvery Cappuccino in a glory of fading sun, twinkled beneath its muscular sullenness. Brean Down (shown in the image above) slumbered, a sinuous green dragon stretched out upon its horde of magical treasure, Steepholm a mere hatchling, its egg shell still wet, in comparison.
The Old Pier, still vibrant thirty years ago, seemed to lurk sinisterly in a dark shadow, as if hiding from the radiance all around it. Deepening gold birds of light gave rainbow shades to the Quarry and spread out to enfold the fine old stone buildings on the hillside in their ripening-to-sunset wings.
Wind surfers glided the waves, bright crescents of sail twisting in strong wind above them, while sand particles danced and fought and whooshed out of the car park and onto the road.
Weston-super-Mare, so often the recipient of bad press, was bathed in an almost Victorian elegance, its clean bones briefly blazing in bright glory under the murky day-time, real-time, flesh.
For thirty stolen minutes, I sat, sea breeze blowing my hair into crazy ringlets, thoughts melting into the molasses of relaxation, mind soothed by the generosity of landscape.
It was, as R.S.Thomas once said, something to wear against the heart in the long cold – and I, wanting to share this scene with kindred spirits, captured its essence and winged words of land-love, of colour and life, words which represented a caesura in my frantic poem of fear, off to a tiny nest of special people.
Sometimes it is important simply to ride the moment, to go wherever it takes us and to live its gifts to the best of our ability. Such times cannot be planned, or fretted over, or pinned down by calendar. They rise like bubbles and pop just as speedily.
But, if we grab their ephemeral message as it passes our way, we can, eventually, learn the art of skimming across them on our life paths, coasting, stepping lightly, alighting gently, taking just what we need and no more – and we are, I believe, enriched by this process, enriched, enlightened and given healing.
We often live in action verbs, don’t we? But, sometimes, if we switch over to just being, the world’s essential beauty deepens and our place in it becomes clear. And, if we slow ourselves down to the planet’s deep heartbeat, we are, in a sense, reborn.