Charli Mills’ prompt this week is:
October 12, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a walk across the sand. It can be a literal day at a beach, in the sand box or a metaphor of your choosing. What is the sand like and what does it reveal to the reader?
As a child my holidays were spent at Herne Bay, on the north Kent coast. I have many happy memories but the one I don’t have is of sand. The beaches were large unforgiving pebbles until the tied disappeared to Norway when a sticky gloopy version of sand appeared. But spending 22 out of 24 hours underwater made it (a) prone to suck you in and (b) absolutely shit at making sandcastles.
My uncle Les loved to follow the tide out and scrape for cockles with homemade rakes. For two little boys this was so exciting, carrying canvas buckets and carefully following the paths that only he could identify but which looked the same as the surrounding sand.
He knew. There were large patches of quick sand into which you could easily sink but he knew what he was about. Happy memories.
Which leads to a less happy recollection: the infamous modern slavery tragedy that took place at Morecombe Bay when Chinese cockle pickers became trapped by the fast, in-rushing tide and drowned.
In a post I did on Anthony Gormley’s extraordinary sculpture park on the sand near Liverpool – Another Place
I was reminded about those poor souls and penned this poem.
Sharp shapes stand sentinel
Guards of the horizon
Canutes in iron
Broody? Or dreaming?
No feature reveals their mood.
Just an illusion of calm
As the tides approaches
and laps at their feet.
Inexorable, the flood covers
all, slowly, powerfully
A cry is heard
from Morecombe Bay
floating along the Mersey coast.
Another time, another group
trapped by the self same tides.
Hardly. Frozen by panic, concreted
into their glutinous prison.
The sea is not a muse
but a curse, death, a cruel deceiver.
Finally the surface is still.
Nothing disturbs the calm,
reflective pacific sea,
lapping my shoes.
I still hear cries, now seagulls
and untamed children.
I turn for my car, carefully freeing my feet
with each step.
And so to the latest part of my long (too long?) saga of Mary and Paul
The best laid plans…
‘Oh bloody hell.’
‘What’s wrong?’ Mary put down the cup.
‘That bloody dog. Look.’
Mary stifled a giggle. In the carefully pressed sand that Paul had spent hours levelling a set of canine paw prints stood out.
‘I spent hours getting that right.’
‘Maybe we should all make a footprint. Like they do in Hollywood.’
‘I’m making a patio, not Sunset sodding Boulevard.’
Mary waited until he smiled. ‘It’s a point though. Maybe Penny and Charlotte could leave hand prints when you do the concrete. Nice memory for them.’
Paul nodded. ‘Those sort of memory triggers are so important.’
To catch up on their back story, go here.