Monday, 20 August 2012
Bright Sun on Cold Water
Three days of sun and warmth. The indoors makes me stir crazy, and so we wander the beach up and down, rolled up pant legs, carrying our shoes. The water is as cold as if there had been no summer here at all. There has been no summer here at all.
We walk to where the river empties dark water into the North Sea, cross the line in the two waters and look down at our legs all orange and warm as the river rushes by. The swell where the river meets the ocean is disorienting and so I look at it too long, until the world rolls over a little. In Edinburgh last week we watched an acrobat walking on the walls and ceiling, warping gravity and finally escaping through a brightly-lit hole that appeared inside his suitcase which was stuck on the wall, which was also the floor.
A little way down the river there is a small group of seals that have swum inland and heaved themselves up onto the river bank, or just waited there as the tide went out. Either way, I have only stood at the shallow edge of the river. I have only dared myself to step into the place where the land drops away sharply and the current pushes strongly seaward the seals and fish that swim unseen, against and through the river. On the river bank, one seal stretches its head and tail upward, and further upward until the outer arch of its stomach is the only point that touches the ground.
In the tide pools there are schools of small fish that dart underneath the sand when one walks too near them. Watching them, it looks as if they just take a breath and then disappear.