The winter morning rain came in on the light. Leaves dropping, golden coloured, they catch the eye. The gun grey sky smudged, brooding. The quiet is everywhere, bird song a distant summer memory. Just the occasional seagull cry – feathered pirates – from the coast, forlorn and longing for day trippers’ fish and chips, snatched in a daylight hold up. Autumn’s memory too is stirred, and sea horses giddy up on the skyline.
The light in the November morning mingles closely with the night. It struggles to shed the skin of the dark. It stills me these days, the dread of it gone, this underworld, this shadow, this journey inward to some kind of light. And the understanding is different in this place, without the glare of summer's publicity. Here I can be quiet. No flashlights, no paparazzi of false revelation but a turning inwards, a beginning of a level of depth of insight, with the night touched by a pencil of light on a softer skin.
Four o'clock on a November evening, the sea a kind of exquisite leaden green. The rain had gone, light relief from the biblical cats and dogs falling out of the sky of recent days. A new winter of content after all the discontent. The lights of the pier beckon, the lure out into the English Channel with a view of the sea-groins visible in the falling sun; a quick selfie with the ever restless backdrop of this coast - a time and place of wonder; the last light of the day crouches behind Beachy Head. We resume our walk, warming in the night breeze.
We caught the day by surprise, wide-eyed blue and set off for a brisk walk along the seafront. Pounding the promenade, somehow I flash-backed, not sure why, reminded of ancestors walking, but this time by a distant sandy river bank, water sparkling in the noon day African heat, ever alert for the submarine predators snorkelling. There were no dangers here, no need for flight or fight, no big beasts to scare the living daylights – only a quiet English setting, dotted with the huddled tents of the homeless, a scar on another landscape – careless, capricious government, mindless – with humans washed up, hollowed out. After the recent storm, the shingle had piled high but, thankfully, the sea breeze had taken on a more pastoral hue and gulls lazily watched the lonely windsurfer, clad in the wintry northern sun. We walked on, putting the world to rights and somewhere else a brewing storm, dark clouds gathering of another kind.