A Quiet Life II: a moment in time

It was snowing outside again today, and the wind had an ice-cream headache cold edge to it. Not a day for lingering outside and I want to write so I ended up flicking through a notebook for ideas and came across a few words written in the summer while sitting on the beach in the small Welsh village of Dale, a wonderful little place at the western end of Milford Haven. It was our only time away. I enjoyed re-reading it, it reminded me of summer and, well, it’s about somewhere else! Here it is, (as good as) unedited:

It’s low tide, that still moment before the turn and the waters start their journey back in. It’s overcast, a palette of greys with a sliver of blue in the east. The beach, sand with seaweed and pointy pebbles, gently slopes to a flat-bottomed sea. You’d have to go a long way out to swim. We’re not alone but there’s only a handful of people on the beach, no-one within fifty metres or so. About as safe a space as we’ll get.

Kids are crabbing off the pontoon to the south, excited yells of ‘I got one’ drift over to us on our solitary chairs, two paddle boarders and a kayak out on the water warrant an envious glance, it looks tremendous out there, quiet, still water, clear as a bell. Someone yells ‘boys, come here and look at this’ without giving the eavesdropper any clues. A crab? Lobster? I’ve no idea.

The bay is a series of coves and an estuary pours in to the north of the beach. There’s a distinct line on the rocks all around the bay, perhaps a high water mark, seaweed, I don’t know. The redness of the rocks gives an indication of their age in this part of the world, many millions of years older than the ones I’m used to at home.

The ferry to Rosclare is heading out from Pembroke Dock, I watch it pass the industry and chemical plants at Milford Haven five miles and a world away. Between here and there my part of the bay is filled with small craft, sailing boats, fishing vessels, yachts. It seems a safe harbour away from Atlantic swells. Enough of writing, time for a paddle.

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