Beesands 29 December
December 29 busy Beesands. The end of the year. Quite a momentous year in so many ways, finding a new life in a new place and finding and not finding work and changing professional directions. Discovering a new talent for baking cakes – one that had eluded me for years despite being very good with pastry at the other edge of baking.
Beesands was busy, bright and feeling festive today. We headed down reasonably early on this Sunday morning knowing that the weather was forecast to deteriorate and head us back into another southwesterly front. The sea had finally had sufficient rest to be calm and holiday-like, full of dogs and just one human swimmer today, accepting all-comers gladly and with open arms and no underlying menace or animosity. Despite evidence of recent batterings, the seashore also felt relaxed and enjoying of the happy dogs and happy people.
The recent storms have changed the shape of the beach (see posts passim) but the torrid waves have also scoured the beach, taking out the shingle and leaving sand behind. In summer the beach is rarely like this – fine sand – and is usually made up of small pebbles. Now, humans and dogs leave their marks on a glorious, dense golden sand.
The light was once again glorious – this time the storm was presaging rather than echoing, foretelling of its power to come. Out to sea a heavy rain was falling out towards the Skerries as this cloudbank moved up from behind the headland and headed out to sea, taking its rain with it. In between the massive cloudforms bright blue sky dominated and denied the darkness of winter.
This winter light is so rich and deep, leaving shadows and highlighting shapes that are almost deep enough to lose your soul in. The sun leaves light and warmth so different from that of summer and yet reminding us of the decadence of that warmth. Here there is always a reminder in the dead vegetation and broken trees and branches that this is only a brief respite from the punishment that winter bestows. At home up on the ridge however, the snowdrops and crocus are already peaking out of the ground, as if denying winter its last gasp.
Today I wanted to walk out to the hide in the Ley, but winter had left its mark on the path, making it impassible. I could I suppose have clambered under this branch, but it was lower than in looks here, and somehow when encumbered by winter clothes as well as camera (and the physical limitations of age) such a thing feels too hard. I turned around and headed back to the shore, to see N emerging from the sea with the usual onlookers expressing their admiration or shaking their heads at the mad lady.
The Ley however was looking particularly enticing in this extraordinary light, and I heard the squeak of coots, the chirr of black-headed gull, the haunting cry of the oyster catcher, the croak of the heron and the beating of swan’s wings. In the field nearby instead of the usual gathering of herring gulls there was instead a conclave of Canada Geese.