My grandparents lived on the coast in Devon and many a summer holiday was spent on the beaches there. We would trundle down, me and my sisters bouncing about in the back of a very unsafe car, for what seemed an interminable length of time, diverting ourselves with car games – one of the most popular being the Pub game (does anyone remember that one?).
However, by far the most popular one was who could be the first to spot the sea. Shrieks of ‘I can see the sea!’ would ring out as the very narrow, hedgerow-encased road suddenly swooped down to the coast.
As regular readers will know, I now live by the sea. Yet, somehow I can never quite get over the fact that the sea is there … on my doorstep. Our daughters have also chosen to live on the coast and when we go and visit them I find myself exclaiming at the sight of the sea.
I know it’s there. It’s there every day for me.
It is understandable that for a child from London a glimpse of the sea would bring great joy, with its eagerly awaited anticipations of sand, swimming, ice creams and holiday freedoms.
But why do I find it just as, and possibly a bit more, exciting now I am an adult?
It is that seemingly infinite, ever changing, eternally hypnotic concerto of blues.
Blue is not easily found in nature – in animals, in food, in flowers. There are some blue flowers, but they are often more purple or violet and any true blue is restricted to certain species. Many of the blue coloured flowers available to buy are dyed. Witness the news last month that ‘Scientists genetically engineer the world’s first blue chrysanthemum’. Fancy that making headlines in 2017.
Natural blue in our lives resides principally in the sky and I think the excitement of seeing the sea is that, from a colour perspective, a piece of that celestial blue has come down to earth. I find it a spiritual experience. No longer is this unlimited blue a mysterious, untouchable realm. With that first glimpse of the sea, this heavenly blue is suddenly here, suddenly available.
We get to swim in the sky …
I leave you with this. On a newly discovered walk I suddenly came across a graveyard beyond which could be seen the sea. Every grave faced the gentle slope down to the blue. The sight took my breath away.
What a beautiful place to end one’s days – seeing the sea.
A true piece of heaven on earth.