I love some of Pablo Neruda’s poems. Below is an excerpt from one of my favourites.
Pablo Neruda, On the Blue Shore of Silence
“I need the sea because it teaches me,
I don’t know if I learn music or awareness,
if it’s a single wave or its vast existence,
or only its harsh voice or its shining
suggestion of fishes and ships.
The fact is that until I fall asleep,
in some magnetic way I move in
the university of the waves.”
I have a very special relationship with the beach. Basically I love it, and I can’t get enough of it. As a very young child I spent hot British summers (!!?) with my cousins on the East Coast where the sea was brown and the breakwaters were covered with a carpet of slippery soft moss. We spent hours building sandcastles, digging trenches and shrieking with delight as my Grandpa pulled us along in a rubber dinghy securely tied around his toned waist. I was very small when I thought I’d drowned for the first time too. Holding tightly onto my aunt’s hand whilst jumping waves I was sucked under and churned around like the inside of a washing machine. I lived to tell the tale.
As I grew older I became braver and more courageous in the sea. We moved to Pembrokeshire with my dad’s work and after school mum would take me and my older brother down to the beach. We’d strip off and somehow what began as an innocent paddle would inevitably end up as a very long swim. Often the water was freezing and I ignored the fact that my lips were blue and my toes numb. The waves were huge, far taller and fiercer than me, but I mastered the art of diving under a wave if it looked like it was going to take me with it. Mum never complained about us staying in the water for what must have seemed like forever. She was pleased that we were enjoying ourselves and making the most our beautiful surroundings.
Nowadays I’m more reluctant to swim in British waters. I’m not so keen on the brownish murky colour where you can’t see what lurks beneath! I’ve spent too many holidays on the stunning coasts of the Mediterranean and been totally spoiled by the transparent turquoise waters of the Ionian and Red Sea.
There is something awesome about the sea and the beach. When I walk along the Norfolk coast I lose myself in another world far away past the windfarms and oil tankers in the distance. I am transported to a place somewhere in my imagination, a place of freedom. The waves repeat their rhythm of build up, breathing in and then collapsing effortlessly onto the sand only to return again seconds later.
I love the solitude of an empty beach. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry and many times I sing, mainly because no one can hear me. I escape to the sea, just to be, not to be and to forget. “I need the sea because it teaches me.” It’s the place where I feel at home, I rest and I am happy.
To be continued…..