“The ocean was one of the greatest things he had ever seen in his life—bigger and deeper than anything he had imagined. It changed its color and shape and expression according to time and place and weather”

Haruki Murakami

On 10th July 2020, I sought, and I found freedom by the sea!

In fact, I fount it living next a small flat, in a simple English coastal village.

My freedom is glorious, wondrous, magnificent and inspiring.

The daily news deterred me from booking a holiday, but the draw of the sea became all consuming. I thought that I might just go berserk if I stayed cooped up in my London home for much longer. A bit of googling and my husband found a property with availability.

“The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure.”
Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

As we are preparing to leave London, we ask each other countless questions such as: Is it too early to leave the confines of our home? Will there be crowds of people? Did the people who rented the flat last week have Covid? Will my cleaning remove any trace of the virus from the sink, door handles, bedside tables, crockery and cutlery? Have I forgotten anything that will mean I have to go to the shops and engage with people who may have the virus? Will we be able to park outside the flat to unload the car? Will people look strangely at me wearing my mask around the place?

The answer to the last question is, yes, people look strangely at me and my husband wearing our masks.  We only wear them in shops or when passing large groups. One man told his family not to cough as I walked past, they all fell about laughing, a bit like the robots in a very old Smash advert! Others whisper to each other and point at us. Its not like my part of London, where people are often seen wearing masks. It feels disagreeable and I feel conspicuous.

In the Cooperative store, a young woman who attends the till, gives me good advise about how to stop my sunglasses steaming when wearing a mask, Apparently you need to put soap on the edge of the mask, just where it touches the glasses. It does actually stop the steaming! She, at least, was grateful that I wore a mask when she was serving me.  That one conversation and her kindness at my obvious embarrassment, made all of the other sneers and whispers insignificant.

There is nothing exciting about this village; a pub that spills over into the road with people holding plastic pints.  A Tesco store which is in chaos, not sure how to handle social distancing,. An array of bric a brac, charity, and cake shops, but I have no interest in visiting any of them.

The place we are renting is not luxurious. The flat is basic, clean and minimalist. Its minimal in a way that means the owners did, just enough, to make it habitable for a week or so. But, and its a big but! This flat has a dual aspect Seaview!

“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So, I found freedom in being able to watch the ebb and the flow of the waves, the sunrise and the sunset, the tide coming in and then going out.

My freedom comes from experiencing the energy of the sea, inhaling the ozone, and falling asleep to the sound of the waves lapping or crashing against a pebbled beach.


3 thoughts on “Freedom”

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