In which I learn the lesson of a marooned boat!
Walking seaward is my lockdown routine. I feel blessed to be close by the shore, to wander in wide open space and salty air when so many others are less fortunate. I appreciate it hugely.
My route depends on how I am feeling any given day, influenced by what the weather holds as I slip away to be alone. The early morning solitude soothes me. These wanderings to meet the sunrise are quite apart from chatty strolls, those occasions when Old Faithful, my woollen tartan blanket, unearthed in an Inverness charity shop many moons ago, is spread upon the ground and steaming coffee from a flask shared with someone I love. Rather, these solo walks are sometimes meditations that set me up for the uncertain day!
Familiar sights and sounds register as part of the experience. The woodland stretch of fence where the chirpy bold robin joins me, hopping alongside, from one post to another. Or perhaps I am joining him? The squelchy fields where ponies in winter rugs wait patiently at five bar gates for breakfast, though a stroke pleasures them too, tousled manes brushing my face in the clamour for attention.
Yesterday there was something new. A boat. In a place where boats are not usually found, it sat looking a little awkward, embarrassed. I approached and noticed how someone had dug a trench to anchor it upright on the marsh.
A handwritten note taped firmly to the hull told part of the story. ‘Boat will be moved when tides permit. All valuable have been removed’. I remembered the storm of the past week, powerful enough to blast the vessel from its mooring and clear up to the land. But when will tides permit? How long might the waiting might be?
I walked onward to the miles of sandy beach where, some hours earlier, the tide had slipped away. A long dark trail of sea wrack tangled with mermaids’ purses and shells lay in its wake. I walked the line, engrossed in thoughts of tides. Surely the purpose of a boat is to be at sea?
Yet there is a learning in my impatience! Like the boat, I am locked down and like millions of others around the globe, feeling marooned at times. Does the boat yearn for the sea? Perhaps not. The boat is still a boat, in the water or out of it. The tide will come. Trust.