Time and tide and growing grass wait for no man; and if you let things slide for more than two weeks, then mowing the lawn gets to be a real chore rather than a bit of light whole body exercise that leaves things tidier than before. Checking the weather forecast [sunny spells, no rain] and the tide-times [Low tide Dunmore East 1210hrs] the night before practically forced me to mitch off after class and head South. Accordingly, I loaded the lawn-mower into the Little Red Yaris before I left for work.
The timing was perfick, I unloaded the mower as the tide turned and was 8km along the coast at Annestown 12 minutes later. At Annestown, as for a lot of the much indented and heart-stoppingly beautiful Waterford coast, low tide is the key. For a couple of hours, twice a day, you can scramble round the headland at the East end of the beach-with-car-park and have a great sweep of strand all to yourself. As I came round the headland, a watery autumnal sun started to warm my shoulders and my spirits soared. With a job; the full use of my legs; free; warm; a cheese sandwich in my pocket for lunch; boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretching far away; who wouldn't be happy? I tried to recall the lines:
But to be young was very heaven!But Willie Wordsworth was wrong, dawn is greatly over-rated on the bliss-side which is often cold and dewy-damp and I can no longer pass for young. But who'd be young again? When I was young I was ignorant, unappreciative, in a hormonal turmoil, and my hair was far too long - eeeuuuw.
On the beach, I felt like all of the kids in e.e.cummings poem rolled into one:
went down to the beach(to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
Finally and more positively, I'll add that my couple of hours on the beach - after Annestown, I trotted along Benvoy and then Knockmahon looking for a smooth round stone or two - were more richly appreciated because, by one accounting, I should have been by my desk at work in The Institute. It had, in Yevgeny Yevtushenko's evocative phrase, the taste of not bought but stolen apples. After the beach, the lawn; which looked much tidier after I'd given it an hour-long short-back-and-sides. The crab-apples are as red as plums, they'll be ready to pick in a week. Life is good.