I need the sea. It has a voice for every one of my million emotions. Sometimes, nothing calms me as the sea.
Opening lines for a book I wrote twenty years ago. The sentiment holds true, despite the intervening double decade, proving that you can know yourself Quite Well at twenty or so.
I'm not an on-the-sea or an in-the-sea person, but I feel an intense call coming from it every now and then. The need to be near it, to walk beside it, to feel its spray on my face and to be buffeted by its powerful winds comes every few months and then there is nothing to be done but to go to it and be near it and spend time with it. I get the same feeling about the Stones at Avebury, a place I've been going to for the same twenty-year period. Often I work out later why I needed to go at that precise time, and the same can be said of the sea.
Sometimes, the sea has enough power to give me migraines; sometimes it sucks away grief and anxiety, worry and pain, those things we are all, from time to time, besieged by. Sometimes it can erode all the negative thoughts and emotions in a way nothing else gets close to. Sometimes it energises me and leaves me feeling like I could fly round the world, up to the stars and beyond into the midnight blue unknown, and back again, safely. But most often what it brings is a sense of calm, peace and restoration; a washing clean of grit and hardship.
Today, the wind was whipping and white dollops of foam flew a goodly distance from the swirling white-stallion topped waves that were crashing and rolling, splitting and surging onto the shore. Children played games of dare with it, shrieking and running back up the shingle beach as the waves raced after them. The road was breached and sea-water agitated the tyres of the few cars that remained parked there.
Pop took one look and made up her mind to avoid it at all costs, displaying perhaps for the first time something approaching a mature sense of assessing her surroundings. Ted was buffeted about and yet walked patiently with us, trusting us to make the right and safe decisions for him, while all the time his fur was blown in all directions and his coat dampened by the spray. He was glad when we were ready to return to the warmth, protection and stillness of the car.
I often wonder what would we do without Teddy's steadiness. I suspect he was sent to anchor us all. He came from a rescue centre, did you know that? He was a tiny wee 10 week old Puppy and I was looking for an older dog and hadn't intended to get another Pup. We tell people we rescued him, but in reality I sometimes think it is the other way round. When I am sad, Teddy is there: quiet, unassuming, steady, sitting quietly by my feet watching me in that careful, knowing way he has. When L needs a buddy to confide in he turns to Ted. When M returns from work at night Teddy appears from no-where and sits gazing steadily at him until M gets down on the carpet and the two of them rough and tumble together, putting the cares of the day away where they should be. Goodness knows what we'd have done without him over the last six years. He's been the catalyst for so much good in our lives and yet he is the least demanding of all of us. Teddy reminds me that to be happy in life requires a handful of simple, yet important things: love, warmth, kindness, protection and understanding, with a healthy dollop of fun and the odd wet, whiskery kiss thrown in for good measure.
So that is what I am wishing for all of you for 2016.
My thanks for keeping pace with life here at Countryside Tales this year. All the best to you and yours.