I could see the eyes on the horizon. They were looking at me – still and unturning, the wind turbines lined up like white sentries as the water met the sky. Their stillness made me feel calm. The air was calm, the sea was gently lapping, only the children moved noisily on the beach under a warming sun.
It was Easter but more importantly, it was the first day of spring. The weather had made that announcement not some nonsense day in the calendar as the temperature had risen for a few days and awoken the sleepy world. Where once the shingle was empty now there were couples and families and dogs and little ones. This was the world as it should have been not as it had been for so many months.
A couple sat down near to me with their daughter and dog. The ball was chucked repeatedly into the water and dutifully returned – even the pets were happy to be released from their bonds. I listened to the couple chat and their conversation carried with it a certain musicality and lightness. I realised they were not speaking in my language – the couple were outsiders from Eastern Europe probably. Yet as they spoke their words echoed within me – they were speaking my language after all. At the same time, I could hear music play behind me. I didn’t need to turn. I had no wish to learn if it played in my head or was in the hands of a promenader. For me, the sun had started to shine, the music had started to play and those around me had started to speak in my tongue.
I picked up the pebbles on the beach and tumbled them into a pile. These were my stones, their stones, our stones, everyone’s stones. Leaders nearby tried to own our lives, direct and drive us, lead by instruction and without integrity. Here on the beach and in the sun I was led by the poetry of nature and community. Smiles shared between me and the couple with dog and daughter then rippled down the beach through the youths, the fragile grandparents, the anxious readers of tabloid trash and the lonely souls. As irresistible as the tide and the wind upon my face.
Turning again to the eyes, I marvelled at them frozen in time. This was a day without a breath of breeze. Yet, this shingled gathering knew this was just momentary. The wind would come again and so too would change. Leaders nearby cannot navigate a vessel against this wind – listen to the sounds of those amongst us. We speak the same language. We love like we all love. We all long for this coming of the spring.