#17 This is why we're alive
Good morning my dear friends,
We’re at the start of a last long week and the end of another very weird year.
I’ve been thinking and writing about greed and selfishness and the way we pursue the material, it’s Christmas after all!
But then, I had one of the most beautiful mornings I’ve ever had on Saturday and I was reminded of why I’m alive. That sounds so lame, but I mean it in the simplest way. I’m alive to exist in a world that is beautiful. I’m alive to experience this world that is beautiful. Not to own the perfect backless white linen dress that is both coolgirl AND prairie girl. No, not that.
So, I abandoned my plans to write about a bunch of shit things and thought I’d write about one really nice thing.
Please pour yourself a coffee, sit where there is sunlight and enjoy this very short, stream of consciousness brain dump about a very lovely morning.
Lots of love,
I meet my friend at the beach for a walk. First, we order coffees and drink them in the sand and talk about childbirth and certain kinds of men and the pandemic (what else is there to talk about?). It’s 8.30 in the morning and the sun already has that stinging heat; I can feel my skin burning.
My friend finishes her pastry and then we begin to walk, our feet in the water and the sun hitting our backs.
We continue to talk in the way that we do, slow and weaving. Our usual walk takes us off the beach and back onto the street, past the yacht club and down a dirt road with small pretty houses. Sun dappled decks and Volvos. We emerge from the dirt road onto a sandy path and then onto a weathered timber platform and stairs. Rain is falling, the hard summer sun lights up the fat, long drops as they fall, and they look like large pieces of glitter. We smile up at the sky, wow, we say.
As we make our way down the steps, back onto the beach, marvelling all the while at the pockmarked ocean, we see the glistening fins of dolphins. My friend sees them first, she always does. “There!” she throws out her arm, pointing. We walk quickly, the dolphins have come in so close to shore and they’re swimming around two little boys and their mother on large floatation devices shaped like crocodiles. “Swim?” my friend asks, I didn’t bring bathers or a towel, but I throw off my clothes, my friend kicks off her Birkenstocks and shorts.
In the ocean we swim like otters or dogs, slowly, with broad breast strokes and kicking legs. The tide carries us, and in no time at all, we can no longer touch the bottom. I’m struck by how I never swim out far enough to not touch the bottom and I’m briefly proud at the work of my arms and legs. I’m swimming-swimming.
The dolphins haven’t surfaced in a while and we both think they’ve probably gone.
Then, like a long-held breath finally exhaled, their fins slice up through the grey sea. Right there, right next to us. They’re close enough that we can see the blowholes in their impossibly shiny impossibly smooth heads, their dorsal fins all scarred and crimped. They puff slow and loud and then retreat under the film of grey sea again. They swim under us and around us. And my friend and I hold hands and whisper-squeal and wonder aloud if dolphins are known to kill people. The rolling drum beat of thunder sounds low and slow along the horizon and the fat rain starts to fall again. It’s so warm and we laugh and look up at the rain and say, this is amazing.
Slowly, the circles the dolphins have been weaving around us get looser and looser until they break away entirely, reappearing way down the beach where there are more fish and less people.
We swim back to the shore and the rain stops. The hot wind blows against our skin and we marvel at the warmth and the greyness and the stillness of the sea.
This is why we’re alive, we agree.