All Fired Up

Updated: Mar 1

Twenty minutes in my day for silence, quiet thought and stillness.

Over the last couple of days, I have had a fantastic time at workshops held during the inaugural Creative Scilly Festival, one with author Wyl Menmiur and one making books with artist Sue Lewington.

Yesterday, the book making workshop was on St Martins and due to the awkward tides Graham took me across in Enys, our little boat. The sea, whipped up by a strong breeze, was a crazy mass of green, blue and sparkle that dazzled the squinting eye. One rolling wave after another meant my knees became my suspension and I held on tight as we lifted high up and surged back down, like a roller-coaster ride. The salty spray that stung my eyes and lacquered my hair into a stiff, tangled mess, was as close to the water I got.

However, the workshop was a wonderful day of mindful crafting, and I have soaked up every bit of the inspiring atmosphere as I could and I’m all fired up with creative ideas. I have a pile of little handmade, empty books of promise, just waiting to be filled. In one old book that we were using was a picture of sailors on a yacht and the quote below said “wet to the skin but perfectly happy”. I liked that.

Today, these twenty minutes of swimming are a welcomed break from the continuing planting of young vegetable plants and farm work.

The walk along the little sandy track from the farm to Great Par is just as lovely as the swim. Sometimes I meet neighbors, sometimes I don’t. Maybe I interrupt a pair of arguing male blackbirds in the road, or the hopping, speckled thrush, hunting for snails in the hedges. These tall, green hedges have created a warm pocket of air but as I reach the beach the breeze becomes brisker and cool.

I hear that familiar slosh and wash of the lapping water on the shoreline, the tide just ebbing. A long sigh out and a deep breath in, the heady influx of oxygen to the brain. I can feel my heart rate steady and my mind soften. In all my busy creative enthusiasm it is good to be still for a while.

I swim out to the pink buoy, stretching out the sides of my body in front crawl.  All I can hear is the noise of the water and my breathing.

It gets colder the further out I swim, though not as cold as those harsh winter seas. This is the pleasure of summer swimming, sand that is warmed by the midday sun, which in turn heats the incoming tide. As I make my way back towards the shore the water noticeably warms and I swim, dive and float, alongside the seaweed, drifting in the gentle sway of the tide, looking for seabed treasure. I am wet to the skin and perfectly happy.

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