The early April sun shone down on us,with a tantalising hint of Summer warmth, enticing us out to the ocean. We headed up the West side, chattering away, in holiday mode, and followed the winding road down to this little gem of a beach. There is a raised lochan there, from which a burn* flows down to the sea. We love to sit on this rickety old bridge, peering down into the gently rippling water.
Before long, we meander down the path and scramble over the stones and boulders to the compact white crescent of sand, and to the sea - sparkling like sapphire in the afternoon sunshine. It is a deadly beauty, though, as the currents here are strong, and the tides are fierce. Apart from a vague notion of collecting a few shells, we have no purpose other than just to be here. Shoes, boots and socks come off and we wander around, dipping our toes in the shallows - doing our own thing - occasionally calling the other to look at something of interest - a beautiful crystal or pearly shell, some really fast running, or a whirlpool out on the rocks.
After a short while (or a long while - who knows with sea time?) we leave this beach to the seabirds, and move a little further up the coast.
This is a different kind of shore, yet only a few miles on. The sea is like glass, and the waves glide in undetected, rising to a gentle swell - before breaking in a perfect curve, like a ripple of polite applause.
There are always plenty of the little pearly winkle shells that we like to collect here, so a lot of time is spent beach combing and filling our pockets with our tiny treasures. Along at the far end of the shore, there is an abundance of birdlife, and today we saw oyster catchers, divers, waders, terns, greenfinch and various seagulls. All of them hopped just out of shot as we clumsily approached, and then resumed their activities when we had moved away. This beach also has a raised lochan just beyond, with a strip of machair and shingle separating fresh water from salt.
We walk along this causeway, barefoot - enjoying the feeling of the sun-warmed pebbles, rough grasses and shells on our feet - nature's reflexology, indeed. I remark that I had read somewhere, that some people pay to go on barefoot walking holidays. "Why don't they just take their shoes off and walk about?!" he exclaims, incredulously.
But is is a glorious day - one where the memories of Winter gales, and looming chores are banished, as we drink in the sights, sounds and sensations of our day out. As we watch the waves rise fall gently on the shore, I am aware too of another movement - a subtle shift in my relationship with this boy- now in his seventh year. I suddenly realise how grown-up he is -how he holds own opinions,and can clearly articulate them - how he has made sense of his world and how it has shaped him, how he is coming into himself. As I look at him, gazing out to the Western horizon, I think I can see the beginnings of the man he will become, and my heart melts ♥
* burn - stream, brook, creek