The silver leather-back sea washes up to meet me.
I knew she was close;
The breezing air about my ears had told me so
As I climbed the sand hump-back
To see her,
And stumbled to her foaming hem.
The cawing and whooping of my children
as they rush to meet her, and skip at her edges:
Firecracker Girl and Loping-Limb Boy.
He turns away from her
to throw his hoodie
Up into the air,
Watching the wind take it
To then gazelle forwards and upwards
To catch it or not;
Then fall to the floor
In the sand around and about him.
And plant his face into it
And stop still
And motionless, for a moment.
A study in the physical fluid
Of rushing air.
And the incomprehensible sensation
Of being 13.
The light from her glinting skin:
The silver foil of her, un-scrunched
And smoothed flat before me
Turns my head back to her.
The light rises up
To wrap around my face
Pull at my cheeks
And draw a smile
From deep beneath
the place where I normally dwell.
I can’t quite define
What she does to me;
But she can do it blindly,
even when out of sight of me.
My lungs and heart fold into each other,
like twisting dough in a Baker’s hands.
I am distracted by Loping-Limb boy
And his sand churning
Till she reminds me she’s there.
She laps at me.
Her eyes sparkle everywhere.
Sharp spikes of light fire in every direction.
The sun does her bidding and sinks to her edges
As I wade into her shallows.
A whoop and a screech;
and Firecracker Girl erupts into my sight line
legs pumping, arms flailing;
splinters of salt-water glass
smashing up around firework eyes wide open;
sun silhouetted and all fierce trajectory
into the silver leather-backed water.
The sheer velocity of being 10 and alive
Launching into the spray,
The day one endless
Expanse of salt-stained forever.
I fall forwards and low
Into her shallow rolls
As she rises to meet me.
Then all is grey blue swirl
Arm reaches over arm
Body twisting and turning
And salt-sting eyes.
Puffing and whooping,
To stand on the Bantham sandbank
And open my arms to everything.
Year after year drips off my skin
In rivulets running,
54, 47, 32, 25, 18, 9, 5, 2…
And suddenly they’re gone;
Sucked into her froth.
And I’m ageless and timeless
And fizzing with it all.
Fuck, I love this place;
Where time and age break their fetters
And skip off
To play elsewhere;
For a moment at least.
One deep breath.
And I turn away from her,
Until next time:
Ice cream calls.
Bantham Beach. 18th, August 2017.