I saw the sea again, today. I heard the roar of the waves, tasted the salt on my tongue, felt the wind in my hair.
It had been over two hundred days.
The crash of waves on the beach; the cold, salty water that fills your nose and stings your eyes and tangles your hair – sometimes it is a stormy grey, sometimes a wonderful blue-green that whispers of hidden treasures. Secret beaches and swimming (it is not enough to simply stand and look: I want to be a part of it). Coastlines that plunge to stretches of gentle sand before rising up to offer dazzling views across countryside and ocean, where the horizon is tantalizingly out of reach.
What is it about the sea that is so mesmerising? What is it about the white horses that surge forward and pull back unceasingly, the ever-changing reflection of light on a fickle surface, that captures the gaze? I watch from where I lie in the grass, high above, and think about those two hundred days far from the sea.
I think about home. I think about my family. Mum is lying beside me on the grass – if I reach out, she’s there, real, not just a voice on the phone. She’s behind me when we go for a walk on the moor (the dog is slowing her down), she’s ahead of me when we are cycling (her bike is better than mine). Now Dad is home, too, and we launch his newly built canoe, and it feels as if I’ve never been away at all. On Monday, Tom comes back from his training camp in Barcelona and we will all four be at home together again for a few days, before I return to Innsbruck.
I see friends, too, friends who I’ve known for years, friends with whom conversation is not even slightly stilted by a foreign language. We pay no heed to the grey clouds and cold wind but sit on the beach and eat fish and chips and talk as if no time has passed at all.
Two hundred days, and home has not changed.
Happy Easter 🙂