I love the North Sea in winter – its wild brown, its keen winds. The coast is unstable here, lumps of WWII concrete, of building materials, and old fragments of glass are thrown onto the shore. The pebbles hiss in the breaking waves. The waves in turn sound like a vast heartbeat.
The wind blows you alive, if you wrap up warm!
The photos above were taken this Christmas holiday, with my husband and son, as we stood on the beach and let the waves chase us. We were not far, here at Dunwich, from Aldeburgh, where I went with a dear friend for a walk on a different day.
I am so grateful for my friends, and my family. It is so good to be able to spend time with people you can be real and true with. I feel very blessed to be able to count quite a few people as those whose company is as free as solitude, but enriched by their unique ways of seeing and being and insight. The poem below attempts to capture something of my walk with one of these dear people, and I hope it can also say something bigger about the power of friendship.
I have been reading Bandersnatch, a Christmas gift from my son, which explores the relationships which formed the basis for the Inklings group, including Lewis and Tolkien, and it has clarified for me how much I need the encouragement and shared thinking and being a close group of friends can provide. Our differences can give new vision and perspective, our mutual support can get us through difficulties that are too much for us alone.
Thank you to all my friends, and may you, reading this, have such sources of goodness in your life.
Aldeburgh Beach – January
We stood there, friends, on the beach,
facing into the east wind,
being blown full of cold,
icy and alive,
by a wind strong enough to lean on.
We stood on a cliff of pebbles
new thrown up by storms,
near the edge,
where stones rattled down,
while the sea, high and brown,
roared and crashed,
mist and foam flung
with the generosity of joy,
into our faces.
Our lips were salt with it.
In the sound of the wind we brought
our heads close enough to speak –
of the breath of God, alive,
breathing into us,
the glory of God in the brown shining.
The power of each small thing,
each small thing,
as the spray and the pebbles
danced wild around us.