A couple of things lately have made me think about writing. This blog post by Tania my writer friend (I hope she won't mind my calling her a 'friend' as that is what I consider her, despite the fact we have never met). Also, after reading 'The Happiness Project'. Both pressing me to consider what it is I like to do. It led me to a type of confession: I like to read and write. The geekish, bookish truth I am afraid. Despite the fact I stopped studying books some twenty years ago, I still love everything about the written word. So there it is.
I was walking on the beach, for it is my favourite place ever, and I remembered that I wrote a piece for a writing competition last winter. I still suffer from the jaw pain that I write of in the excerpt; the modern malaise that I have developed from my lifestyle. I didn't get shortlisted, let alone get placed anywhere in that competition but it got me thinking, I should press publish on this and just see.
They say do something every day that scares you; publishing this is my 'thing' for the day!
Her back to the wind, she walked purposefully. As necessary gulps of sea air were taken deep in to her lungs, she tried to rationalise where she’d ended up. The children frolicked ahead of her on the dunes, the boardwalk threading its way over the shallow sandy hills. ‘This place is the best place’ she thought, in an attempt to block out the pain she was feeling. Real, visceral pain that served as the constant and unwelcome reminder: her modern lifestyle had made her feel this way. At the beach, the pain lessened, even more so as she glanced to her right, over the salt marshes, glimpsing the village of Bosham across the flats. It always made her think of New England; the same nature, the same landscape. Calm descended on her, as it always did at the beach. To her left, over the dunes and down, the waves rolled in. The tide was far out and the sand revealed deep ripples; testament to the presence of the retreating water.
She recalled her time here as a knowledge-hungry, learning Geography student, studying the effects of Longshore Drift. The consequence of wave action over time. She saw the parallel; living a busy and hectic life for so many years had similarly etched an effect on her over time. Under her feet the dunes were held together by the roots of the Marram grasses; literally holding the sand down, allowing it to keep its form. The dunes undulated and the children loved that they did. She knew that hours would now be spent playing hide and seek; the dunes provided the ultimate hiding place. As they neared the far end of the sand spit, she braced herself for the wind. She wondered how the weather could ever have been warm enough for them to visit the same spot by boat, late last summer. How, at that time they had bare feet and bare shoulders, warmed by the sun and sand-smattered.
‘This place is the place’ she repeated to herself; the best place to rekindle calm, the best place to think, and the best place to make sense of the world. The beach never, ever failed to deliver its promise. She had, so many times here, witnessed car-loads of people; families, captivated by the promise of salty air, stretching their legs after a long car journey from London. Children bounding out in Labrador-fashion to the shoreline beyond. The lure of the bone-coloured sand; fine and seemingly infinite.
Since coming here as a child, life had come full circle she thought; as she now brought her own children, to feel the nature themselves.
They found a nook in the dunes, suitably sheltered to hunker down in a natural dip, but exposed enough to watch passers-by. Dog walkers and beach runners. Those who also craved the gift that the beach proffered: freedom and space and fresh air. There was no better natural place. This is the place.