Sunday Sounds and Silence

The day begins with Dorothy. Ruler of the roost. Squawking out her insistent demands for breakfast and attention, directly below our bedroom window. It's 7am and our Sunday lye-in, or not as Dorothy would have it.

However, I am glad she got my sleepy body out of bed, as I wander to the bedroom window to yell back at her, the most glorious sunrise beams across the channel and instantly sets my energy a-glow.

And so the noise begins. The ducks start up their raucous song, followed by the sparrows, starlings and gulls. Once we leave the house, the cows, that are in the fields below the farmhouse, spot us and bellow impatiently for their move to fresh grass. I do feel a little sorry for our neighbours, but also content to listen to this world full of nature's sounds. To the east, the sea at Green Bay is a tide pushing in, hissing and swooshing its way up the sand.

Mid morning and the world has awoken. The sun squeezes out between the cloud and the lawn mowers fire up, stirring deeply engrained memories of summer days and busy gardeners. Dorothy, now fed and content, snuggles up on Martha's lap for a cuddle (she's one of a kind is Dorothy) whilst Graham and I finish painting the farmhouse, that stands as a bright-white beacon on the hillside.

The beauty of Bryher is that even in the height of summer, there is always a silent, peaceful spot to be found. That tucked-away place to sit, contemplate and dream. I make my way towards a deserted Rushy Bay, accompanied only by a notebook, towel and camera.

Pushing through thigh-high marram grass that keeps the sea a secret until the last moment, sand soft and warm underfoot, sparkling in the afternoon sun.

I sit. Eyes closed. Breathe. Through thin eyelids pink, fluorescent patterns shape and mould. My forehead is hot, winter bones absorbing heat hungrily. I can hear the sea shush along wet sand as the tide ebbs and the chirp, click and chatter of unseen birds. A slight breeze flows across my ear as wind blown across a bottle. The tap, tap of sand-flies landing on my book.

Eyes open, adjusting to the brightness of the sea that twinkles like a galaxy of sunken stars.

Stripping down to my swimming costume and feeling a slight chill as the breeze brushes my warm skin, I follow a line of footprints towards the shoreline. Gulls have criss-crossed the beach, a rat footprint here and there, and a pair of walking boots. So many feet have walked along this beautiful beach, and soon there will be many more. I feel a great swell of excited anticipation at the thought of visitors returning this year. It bubbles like fizzy pop inside me. The warming of the weather, the first signs of spring and the imminent easing of lockdown, have a euphoric effect on my mood. I have to try to ground my expectations for the months ahead and remain calm in the moment, but it is so good to see light at the end of the tunnel, isn't it.

My eyes are caught by a colour out of place. A red poppy. Who knows where it has come from, but it suddenly reminds my of peace. Be grateful for peace, I remind myself, in whatever form it takes.

I swim along the length of Rushy with no great speed, soaking up the warmth on my face, the odd splatter of cold water splashed up from a wave. Sunlight dapples in golden bands along my limbs, the water a pale turquois beneath me. I head over towards a group of rocks half submerged, their limpet inhabitants feeling the sun once again on their shells. I climb up, watching the light dance differently as waves split and ripple around the rocks, the colours sliding into golden, peaty browns amongst the clumps of swirling wrack. I am in no hurry to leave, but must, and so splosh back into the water, swimming toward the shore. A gull watches with judgmental eye.

My Sunday has been the perfect combination of joyous noise and perfect peace. I hope yours has too.

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