Well, I haven’t seen the sea in a long time, and, despite being sat on a beach, I can only barely see it now. The tide is out, miles out, here on Weston Super Mare sands.
However, the dunes are soft and warm, and apart from a few children and their families playing and kites flying, all is incredibly quiet. I walked a fair distance to get away from the seaside crowd. I didn’t realise how much I block out the background noise at home – the constant hum of traffic, people, electric appliances and even birds – until I come to a place where much of that is missing. It feels like such a relief, the depth of this silence.
The colours here are calming too. There is little sun here today, a pale grey expanse of cloud subdues all the colours. All beige tones and grey but not in a depressing way. The pale dunes, the darker wet sands blending into grey mud flats which extend for miles and then a thin line of gunmetal grey water in the distance. There is a little coastal muted greenery to my far right and left, also a couple of miles away. All these neutral colours broken only by the occasional splash of a yellow tide marker or red spade handle.
A line of logs planted upright leading from where I am sitting high on the dunes out towards the sea, are worn and smoothed by the seawater and salty air – makes me want to go and touch the mottled weathered surface.
I dig my toes into the warm sand. Reluctant to return to people and trains and smells and noise, I want to root myself into this sandy silence.
A fly has landed on my cardigan, I let him stay awhile.
I walked around to the other end of the bay earlier. There is an old pier there, Birnbeck Pier disused for many years now, and crumbling slowly into the sea. Its rusted iron girders fallen to the rocks below or hanging loose at right angles. Missing roofs on the buildings, broken windows, peeling paint and green patina on the railings. It looks much worse than those photo’s on wikipedia. All home to multitudes of seagulls now.
Here, it is time to go. I plunge my hands into the fine warm sand, it’s cooler beneath the surface, the sand gets under my fingernails… it’s so fine I can’t brush it off my hands or feet.