Yesterday, for the first time in what feels like forever, the sun came out. It came out and it shined down on us all day. We were all tricked by the winter, loaded up with coats, scarves and jumpers. Then found ourselves peeling off layers, not even the breeze was cold. People were smiling rather than gritting their teeth against the bite of the air. The boys playing footy were leaping around, having fun, rather than turning purple from cold. Mother nature never fails to surprise and delight.
That the sun can do this is a joy, and a miracle. That it informs our mood and our response to the world is remarkable. I went for a walk on the beach yesterday morning – it was a revelation. The seas were calm, their beauty shocking; breathtaking. I felt renewed and energised.
I was also a bit dumbfounded by the effects of this walk. I couldn’t believe that I had wasted many many opportunities to be in this magic place – so near to my house, so healing to my soul. Still buoyed by this experience, I decided to go for a walk again today.
The difference was that it was cloudy, dull and raining. I felt tired, sluggish and I wanted to stay at home and read – the house was empty of children – this was a fleeting opportunity. But I pulled out the wet weather gear, wrapped myself in a scarf and set off; and I learnt something new today.
The rain and the cold are as powerful and profound as the sun.
The beach is an incredible place of beauty – it reflects truthfully what is in the sky. Yesterday the sea was turquoise, clear and inviting. Today it was deep purple, with slashes of intermittent navy. It’s inky waters revealing the mystery of the water, reflecting the enigma that it is.
One thing I love about winter is that cleansing feeling that comes with walking on beach in the cold. Today it was raining. My first instinct was to run; to seek shelter. But I resisted, and when I chose to feel the elements I was taken to a place that I had long since been – splashing in puddles and playing outside.
I was struck by how it was almost instinctual to try and escape. But when I felt the rain on my face, the wind whistling through me; when I saw the colours of the sky and the water, I wondered why we run from this. It was no less wondrous than yesterday’s sun beaming down, making the water sparkle, making us all smile and strip off.
When I got home, my feet were soggy, my trackies were wet, I had water dripping from the back of my hair, running down my neck. But when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I walked in the door, I saw that my cheeks were flushed and my nose was pink, and I looked serene and energised all at the same time.
When I woke up this morning, tired from a busy weekend, heavy with the weight of work, of chores, of commitments and responsibilities, I did not expect to see all the colours that I saw today.
Living slowly, and intentionally is not an easy thing to do in the world that we live in. Days whiz by in an instant, are jammed with frenzied activity and propelled by a vernacular of achievement. This sometimes means that we miss all the colours. That they whiz by us so fast that we just see grey.