A rock on a beach

A rock on a beach: a slab striated by the wind, the sand and the salty sea. A crab’s exoskeleton animated by brief and erratic gusts flecked with spume. 

Passing fellow beachcombing strangers, we are briefly connected (with no small shame) by our yearning for the silent smallness afforded by a dumbfounded contemplation of the billowing sea.

I watch the white stallions leap over three-metre-high crests of foam and I am breathless, finding my eyes pricked by more than just a breeze-born comet of sand.

The clouds, unlike time, move so quickly across the sky here in this north. A parallax of scudding that gives shape to a wider sky beyond sight.

Black constants punctuate the flickering tide. Sea coal, a still bird caught in tension with a pod-riddled wig of kelp. Further out to sea these black constants can suddenly shock you with their evident eyes, finding yourself as watched (by an ebony sea dog) as the thing you watch: both of you locked into relative strangeness against the uniform patterns of your respective landscapes.

A rock on a beach: even in its erosion there is the suggestion of life.


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