The chain ferry ground to a halt, lights flicked on and and the engines started. 4 o’clock on a miserable, cold, wet Friday afternoon and my guess was that most were on their way home from work. To warmth and food and a cosy night in. Not us.
A mixture of a lie in and work to do, the day started late, but we’d decided to have a walk. And walk we would. We didn’t care it was raining. Wellie boots and waterproof jackets, we were off to Studland. I’ve driven the road many times, but never stopped to venture across the heathland and onto the beach.
Through puddles on purpose, listening to the sounds and looking for interestingness, we started on the standard path. Straight on or left? Left, I decided, it looked sandier, must be the way to the beach and the sea that I love. Stories of headless horses leaving their hoof prints. Appreciating the brightness of the lichen against the dull gorse and heather. Rain. Wet trousers. Laughter. Which way to the sea?
Paths always lead to the beach. Not this one. Moving us onwards and onwards, but no closer. Nothing for it but to venture across the heath. Bushes to our waists. Soaking wet. Through boggy puddles. Would we sink deep? He had to go first.
Up the dune. Listening to the sea. And there it is. Not angry, but definitely not relaxed. What a great way to see Studland. No one else around. Raining. Hard. Windy. Soaked. Looking for treasure. Razor fish shells collected. More puddles. A plastic animals foot. What happened to the rest of him. I watch the boy – soaking jeans, dirty wellies as his bum is up in the air, finding me another treasure. We walk together, and meander apart, and back together again. I realise I am thinking ‘I feel so alive’. It sounds like a cliche, so I try to elminate that thought from my mind. But I can’t. I’m warm except my cheeks, which have probably turned red. My eyes are streaming. No eyelashes on a windy beach isn’t easy. And the amount of snot coming out of my nose should be illegal or something. But I’m alive. And well. The chemo is bloody over. I could cry. But I don’t.
The sun went down ages ago (apparently – you couldn’t even tell it was up). Darkness was starting to set in and with no clear path back to the car, we started at an amble. The boy leads the way, of course. Clumsy, as ever on my feet, I very nearly almost fall several times. We’re walking quickly and with my leaky eyes, I can’t really see where I am going. I just follow the butt in front of me. It’s getting darker, we have no real idea where we are going. Maybe through the woods? No, that would be silly. Ever so slightly disappointed when we realise we are right where we should be. No being lost on the heathland for us!
We’re first on the ferry back, singing away to Guns and Roses and looking forward to a cosy night with food, candles and a DVD. We’ve written ‘Pash’ and ‘Rocker’ across the top of the windscreen in the car. Cliche or not, I do feel SO alive.