On Friday we walked on Cogden Beach in the wind. It was some time before I was able to see, my eyes were streaming so much to start with. Then at the end of the walk I could hardly see clearly because of the salt spray on my specs!
Cogden Beach is a wild, wide empty space yet it felt closed in and the horizon seemed so close. I cannot begin to explain why it seems this way. The sea has made a wider space between the low and high tide lines (and it was about low tide when we got there) and has thrown up a higher than normal bank perhaps, but that would only make the horizon seem further away. Maybe it was because the cloud was low or the seaspray reduced vision or just because the cold wind turned me inward that made it feel that way.
The tidelines were deeply defined with a lot of weed but very little to grab my imagination. I tried to stay calm when the noisiest three boys in Dorset rummaged past smashing bottles and lightbulbs as they went. I hadn’t the will to remonstrate with them. I am not sure how I feel about their act of mindlessness. Yes it would be great if they gathered up rubbish as they went and I worry about broken glass in dogs’ paws, but what if the sea had smashed the bottles on the rocks and stones? The problem lies with the litterers: the thoughtlessness is in the mindless act of jettisoning rubbish into the sea and our assumption that the sea will take care of all our waste.
I found part of a plywood sign that has been sawn and reused then abraded by time in the sea. I love the way that the tiny sliver of a letter at the left edge immediately suggests an “O” and causes me to wonder what the word was: “SHOP” perhaps. The eroded surface reminds me of the sea: light on the water.