The unusually hot September sun tinkled off wave carved slate striking up from the beach, a slight breeze took the edge off the heat and we slumped against a ledge and slept. I woke fifteen minutes later. This was exactly what we needed. The sun sank into us, beginning the process of refreshing six months of daily slog when even our rare days off began with “Just a little job” to advance the next day’s stage of the troublesome renovation.
Aah, bliss. Shirt off, trousers rolled up, healing heat seeping in to my limbs, chest, shoulders. We’ll swim soon. Again I slept.
Woken by a wind, shivers of shock, I my eyes popped open. Cloud covered the sky, the wind increased, cool, almost cold; we rapidly dragged on layers. How unfair. We’d not felt the sun on our skin since the coolish days of March. Whilst the world sunbathed through lockdown, we’d peer at blistering sunshine piercing our dusty, timber cluttered rooms and as jealousy arose we’d plotted this break, but had to keep shifting it as the months kept throwing up more gigantic tasks. And now, an hour into our first proper day’s rest, this unexpected weather shift.
But hey ho. It’s what happening. That’s the rub. Fretting would ruin this special moment.
Upon the azure sea, galloping against the wind, waves raised their white heads. We shifted, found a sheltered nook and thinking only of sleep, zzzz. Awoken again by a cold blast! Branches above scratched against each other, ruffled trees hummed, sang, moaned, music was in the air. Though now cold, we felt lighter, dripped from us, those endless stressing days and countless problems to be faced, understood, resolved. Wow. Against all odds, we had done it, a mammoth task by any means. By listening to the house, rather than imposing our ideas upon it, we now lived in a sculpture!
When you stop you realise just how bad it was. In the heat if the moment you have to get on with it without reflection, no time to think, using every hour to its max, slumping, sleeping, rising from bed to a head full of unmet problems.
And now, refresh our utterly shattered selves doing nothing but relaxing into what we want to do. What bliss. Time to enjoy the cut of the silvery cliff against dark racing clouds, leaves flashing their bellies in the wild wind, autumn suddenly arrived. People, we noticed as we wandered about, were smiling, it made us realise we’d smiled first. That’s a first in months; gone the worn out expressions.
Whee. Life is what you make it. You can face almost anything and survive mentally.
Evaporated a year of extraordinary stress, counting the desperate disappointing search for affordable unproblematic houses, finally a tough purchase, a wonky dishonest builder, redoing his poor work, fixing other problems, prices of materials doubling due to lockdown, to say nothing of the coronavirus, nor my own poor health pushed to the limit. Even death’s unexpected arrival, surviving it, and worse - seeing death’s threat within reach, these, I know, you can meet with equanimity.
Here is now. In the now is life, is your fleeting life, is the pulse of the universe, is everything we seek. Even if the reality is this cold coast, this hidden cove. Chilly, windswept, it marks the end of this strange year and by living in the present, we’re reviving.