It was still and misty, this morning, muffled birdsong from small flocks of sparrows in the hedges and shrubs by the lane, a robin sitting on an electrical line, singing his territorial claims at a volume that seems impossible from so small a bird. Further away, on the muddy banks of the Forth, waders and gulls were calling, songs in search of a singer.
I took a slow stroll towards the estuary, noting the beginning of Autumn in the fields, harvested or nearly ready, great golden rolls of hay awaiting collection on spiked tractors, piles of the season’s manure ready for loading into muckspreaders and flinging over the fields, to give us all a pungent few days whenever the wind blows. Abundant cobwebs on any suitable support, thousands of young spiders testing their engineering skills across any gaps they could find, their work now hanging with bright droplets of dew. Quiet moments of contemplative beauty before turning home to breakfast, coffee and some slow Sunday tasks; cleaning, preparing some food, removing the dying bean plants and poles from the pots, oiling wooden kayak paddles, making a rescue towing line for planned sea trips.
Yesterday, by contrast, was bright, warm, sunny; inviting outdoors. The surf forecast was good, the first such opportunity I’ve had for exactly a year, and I was not disappointed. Often, on these trips, I arrive buzzing with tense expectation but this time I felt relaxed, unconcerned if it turned out that the forecast was wrong, that the sea was flat calm, I was at ease with simply being on the beach, next to the sea, unhurried.
As it turned out, the waves improved steadily, my lack of surfing in the last year had not had too much effect on my stamina – the canoeing and kayaking has helped, despite using different muscles. After a slow start, I was catching good waves in the sets and staying balanced on glistening, flowing walls, my mind regaining some of those “thoughtless” moments of stillness amidst the flow of events.
The beach, too, was showing signs of the change in seasons; lumps and bands of knotted seaweed, hundreds of “sea potato” skeletons (a kind of sand-dwelling sea urchin common in UK waters.), parts of crabs, seashells, occasional jellyfish, washed up on the shore for the curious to peer and poke at.
Changes are in motion all around, some traumatic and dramatic, some gradual and mundane, some slow setting of seeds that will emerge in the Spring. Only an attitude of acceptance and doing what is best now seems to run through it all, aiming for contentment with what is here right now – not complacency nor inaction but acting within present conditions while looking ahead to anticipate what is needed next. This is my aim with regard to the water activities, all work in progress to revive, update and build upon past qualifications and make more likely my ability to shift back into work that inspires me while enjoying the payback I get now, just getting out on the water.
It’s like this, surfing in the mist, right now is good, I can only listen out and wait for whatever wave comes next.
Time to sleep now. I wish you a good week ahead, happy even.