OUTDOOR THERAPY - LIVING BY THE SEA
Mid January and I am in search of light.. the very essence of living by the sea brings my mind to life.
The middle of January, the parties have been left behind, and the year spans out ahead, full of promise; days are slow, quiet and sometimes, dare I say - a little dreary. For myself this is a month of hibernation, like a woodland creature, succumbing to the stark days that lie ahead. Only I am a human, so hibernating isn’t exactly possible, instead I hunker down at my desk, with endless mugs of steamy tea, and perhaps one too many comforting treats. I read more, I watch more, listen more. I digest.
I don’t particularly suffer January blues, rather like said forest creature, I accept that it is time for slow days, and so I lean into them. My introvert/extravert constantly at arms – networking versus days of solitude. As a writer, sometimes its inevitable, I struggle for inspiration and so I go in search of light; my mind wondering to the realms of city’s, across boarders and beyond, to the mountain tops, and the long expanses of sand, bringing me to the sea.
Outdoor therapy lives here, on my doorstep.
Oh to live by the sea, it offers escapism, like a skimming stone, from sand to shore, my mind journeys with the ripples of the surface. I have my inspo, right here, at the edge of so many worlds and their untold stories.
By the sea, my mind wakes, comes to life again and there I have it, the light I have been searching for.
From my desk, I look out to water and from here I follow the steady turn of the seasons; the warm sands dotted with tourists, the long days of soft morning surf and evening fires on the beach. Then the slow drift to autumn, the late months bleakening, bright days giving way to brooding.
With New Year, come the hard winter weeks when the waves rear livid and high, and the wind is a wild creature that runs through the streets of this small town, rattling windowpanes and battering the railway line. Then the strange quiet mornings, such as those during February and March 2018, of waking to find snow on the shore – amazing, unheard of.
My favourite desk days begin uncertainly – when I look out of my window, seeking the light, only to see a low mist, forming a blanket across the shore. Ensconced in my soft alpaca throw, I search for inspiration.. The dreamy, unformed feel of these days that begin in a mist that is muddled and mild. How I find my inspiration, as the morning lifts and the warmth spreads, and the sea seems to laugh, once again at its own trick.
On these days I feel like cocooning myself in a blanket, and diving into a book.. yet I am beckoned by the sea, my little fur baby too, pawing up at me and licking my hand until, I reluctantly give in, ‘okay, okay,’ I say, donning my hat, scarf and gloves, zipping up my coat tight, before pulling on my wellies and grabbing her leash. And off we go! Walking out into the ever-unfolding scene from my window, into the seascape, with its many patterns of change. Partridge, with her ears blowing out behind her, leaping across the sand, eating seaweed and running to the waters edge. Here, we are free, to leap, to play to curate our day as we like.
What inspiration can I find here? Light and space and sweet, wild air, certainly. In search, I also find the perfect unknown of horizon line.
My adult life has been largely propelled by a sense of restlessness for the next thrill, a desire to travel, to see what might be around this corner and the next. By the sea, I have discovered the peculiarly blissful uncertainty of living somewhere that presents the continual promise of discovery: the edge of the land, the obscure depths of the water. It is a kind of openness that frees me, that lets my imagination catch fire.
I am not alone in my musings; writers, artists and musicians have found similar promise in living by the water, and since moving back to the place where I grew up, I have thought of them often – along with all the inspiration found from those living by the sea.
Walt Whitman was among the most influential American poets, his verse was free and he likened this to the ocean: “Its verses are the liquid, billowy waves,” he wrote, “ever rising and falling, perhaps sunny and smooth, perhaps wild with storm, always moving, always alike in their nature as rolling waves, but hardly any two exactly alike in size or measure, never having the sense of something finished and fixed, always suggesting something beyond.”
So I embrace living by the sea, in awe of its light, colour and movement every day.
For living by the ocean, even on the darkest January days, I allow myself to dive right in, down to the bottom, underneath all currents, dropping my anchor for inspiration.
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