Rural life: starlit tide

Nature does magic so brilliantly, doesn’t she! She brings together a collection of elements that on their own might pass as insignificant, but put them together and she weaves something unforgettable.

I knew that the tide was exceptionally high the other night and although it would be dark decided to walk down through the pasture to the marshland to see it. The family weren’t going to miss out on a bit of adventure so they came too.

We resisted using torches so our eyes could become accustomed to the dark, but it was hard – it was so dark a night. The familiar field we walk down nearly every day with the dog seemed to have become a strange lunar surface that tricked and tripped us so we staggered across it completely disorientated in the blackness. There was no moonlight and everything was pitch, except the stars overhead. So many of them we stopped a moment and stared in awe. But they weren’t a lot of good for seeing with.

We stood, not breathing, just to listen. It was almost completely silent. Not even sea sound as the night was so still, no breath of wind to ruffle up the sea and give a hint it was so close. Just the odd alarm call from disturbed birds and distant sea bird sound. They evoke a building sense of excitement at seeing the sea – even if it was as black as the ace of spades!

Moving on we reached the bank that holds back the tides from the reclaimed land and stumbled up to the top. And the magic began.

After peering through the blackness of the field trying to see something, anything, we now beheld a mirror of pale, perfect water, just a tad lighter than the dark. Its surface so smooth and serene and glassy it sparkled with the reflections of a thousand stars, blinking slightly as the tide heaved and sank in a soft heavy swell. Otherwise the sea was totally undisturbed. A great pale stretch of water where solid dark land would normally be, almost unbelievable it was so ethereal and smooth, laid out far beyond our focus as we stared into the night trying to make sense of it.

Distantly we could hear soft talk of wild geese or the call of a single wading bird, but apart from that there was a silence that made us whisper and a sense of being with something far greater than ourselves.

Stars above. Stars beneath. Utterly captivating. Holding us for a moment spellbound. Magic indeed!

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