Toeing The Line !
I traced a line out to sea with a stick.
OK, it might not sound like a very big deal artistically, but bear in mind (1 ) it was a homage to Richard Long, ( 2) I’d never consciously “created art” on a walk before, and (3) it was an AWFULLY long way.
It was one of those huge flat expanses of sand where the tide comes rushing in at a million miles per hour and completely changes the look of the place. But when its out you have to walk for ages before you get to paddle in any waves at all. And the stick I’d grabbed in my sudden moment of inspiration was a rather short piece of driftwood , so I had to bend down all the long way out in order to draw the line. In keeping with the inherent duality of life, this proved to be both a disadvantage and an advantage ; the former because it gave me backache and made me have to crouch down , and the latter because it meant I got a close up view of the sand , and really noticed the different colours and textures , and the ridges going this way and that left by the outgoing tide.
Some of the time, in order to relieve the pain in my back, I took to walking backward , which gave me an interesting perspective on the shoreline I’d just left, and the other people on the Art Walk wandering about tiny in the distance doing I knew not what. I looked back at the huge rocks sculpted smooth by the sea , haphazardly arranged as if they’d been thrown there by a giant hand, and was constantly aware of the fluting sound of the skylark following me high in the sky. Then I turned back to face the sea and as the pounding of the surf got nearer I felt raindrops falling gently on the back of my neck and the gritty warmth of the sand between my toes.
It was a moment of triumph when finally, finally, I reached the water’s edge. Little wavelets kept washing away my line, so I decided I’d really reached the meeting point of sand and sea, and I stood up straight and threw my driftwood stick (and instrument of torture ) into the sea with relief. I felt a real sense of achievement, and to celebrate I took a few somewhat random photographs (because the light was so bright and reflective I couldn’t see what I was doing).
I then decided I would now follow my line all the way back to where I had started. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it wasn’t straight at all ! It wobbled about all over the place, but I carefully walked it back, happy to be upright again, with the wind whistling about my ears, happy in my sense of having achieved what I set out to do, and even happy with the knowledge of the transience of life – that in a few hours it would be washed away , as if it had never been.
And yet the making of it will stay in my memory for a long time. Happy and alone in that vast expanse of sea, sand and sky , washed clean by Nature of all thought and feeling, I had reached that Zen-like state, “the seashore mind”. Thankyou, Linda !