Like winters of old

I remember the days of my youth… don’t we all look back on life in terms of the days of our youth as a time when we had such vivid memories; perhaps those memories marked the first occasion of every experience as we grew up and so remained etched in our minds along with the songs and scents that remind us of them. As we grow older, events are just repeated, and unless we go out intent on new adventures, new places to go and people to meet, we are doomed to live our lives as a repeat track on a stuck record.

Going back to winters of old, it does seem as though the patterns changed over the years, with days of steady rain from the north west falling gently on the earth changing to heavy falls from individual clouds coming in from the south west. The last few years have seen a return to the northwesters and incessant rain that make one happy to be indoors for a while. This doesn’t last long and frequent glances through rain-spattered windows seek a gap in the clouds to snatch a quick walk down at the rocks to see whether the seaweed has been dumped on the path. I think today might be the day for that, with new moon last night coinciding, as it often does, with a cold front bringing heavy seas to batter the coastline. Vast quantities of kelp have washed onto the beaches over the last week, a veritable feast for the sea lice who make short work of it, followed by the sacred ibises who make short work of them. But the beaches have been noticeably altered lately, with sand being scoured away right up to the dunes, beyond which it is very little distance to the first houses, and tides that now easily wash up to foundations and drains that once were way above high tide. Boulders are exposed, then hidden, then exposed again. River mouths change their course, and the sea encroaches steadily each winter season.

To get back to the stuck record… With a sturdy pair of boots, warm clothes and an effective raincoat, it is actually exhilarating to go outside in blustery wind and rain. It kind of kickstarts the adrenalin and you find yourself laughing at the way you are buffeted back and forth or have to walk backwards to keep the rain off your face. It’s about a change in the way we walk, using different muscles and feeling forces of nature that our comfortable lives have made us forget or choose to avoid. It’s like reverting to childhood and allowing yourself to be spontaneous and live in the moment. Who cared about rain as a child? We all need to bring out the child in us and know what it is like to shed the shackles of adulthood. Step outside!

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