Rushing down the lane to the beach, I race in the direction of clarity; the compliment of sand and sea. We have all been there, a tractor to our right, sheep to the left and the walk, the walk to a fantasized destination. On occasion, the way is filled with hope. Other times there isn’t an absence of hope, but an emptiness overrides any enthusiasm. Conflicted in the inner space… of a Sunday.
Often, my mind has already arrived at the beach, tuned out from the hedging hawthorn, resilient nettles, and therapeutic dock leaves. Distant from the morning sunlight, that gurgle of machinery, and waft of sillage. There’s a battle of brambles, and satisfying chop of secateurs. My march renews me at the altar. I’m rushing towards a release only provided by sanctuary.
Sometimes, on the way down the lane, I think to myself… Walk slower…, and then I don’t. In a hurry, I scale to the top of a dune. Sand, stones, and sticks intermingled, create a perch. My eyes follow a seal slumping into the waves, a limp stillness in the ebb and flow. A carefulness not to exert himself in the grey torrents. Not at all fazed by that unceasing nature found in the mother of all beasts. Blindly following this seal’s faith in his safe return to the shore, I entirely miss the fox scoot up behind me, in arm’s reach from my shoulders. Sensing a shift nearer a natural haven, I then lock eyes with its wildness. Silent footprints, black tips at the ears, and that marvelous tail.
Looking for scraps, he probably came to the right place.
Historically speaking, humour wasn’t welcome at a sanctuary, shrine or holy place. The joke might undermine meaning or take away from teachings. In writing, it can be seen as using a security blanket, as always relying on a joke when navigating near feelings, to lessen the seriousness, in case the subject is too raw. To act as an airbag on impact. Humour is a powerful coping mechanism, a tool for thinking and expression. It doesn’t have to take anything away from anything. It can actually provide perspective and contribute to the spirit of the place. There is a time to be serious, and a time to have a laugh. I might misread the appropriate response, so to be safe, I bring both. In truth, sometimes I don’t know which one is which.
Feature Image: Common Seal (Phoca vitulina vitulina)