Hello Earth, sang Kate Bush on Hounds of Love. And so do I, in my head, as I walk out each morning. The smell of moist earth fills my nostrils as I open the hallway door and out into the quad. The ‘building site’ is still there, any hopes of them landscaping it are fast fading. Never mind. To be at peace is to accept what is, or at least those things one cannot change. The birds go there, as do the cats, and sometimes there are butterflies. The earth smells good at 3.45 am. My nose is alert, and alive to all things. The elderflower bush as I turn into North Road, the honeysuckle, still yet to flower, the spreads of lavender, two, no three of them, that I pull through my gloves, stopping to smell the residue. And sounds too. There was a lad in a green sweat top going down the steps to the beach as I walked towards the Bar. I heard the crunch of his pumps on the shingle. A man was by the Bar. I smelt his cup of instant coffee and the tobacco from his little clay pipe. A singular looking bloke, in flip flops, the heavy blue kind, and silky, long baggy shorts. Walking through the harbour I expected to smell the fishy odour of lobster pots, sometimes utterly overwhelming in the heat, but instead there was a strong whiff of antiseptic, like germolene. Do you remember the smell? So distinctive of my childhood.
The sea hardly moved. Heavy as treacle, and inert. I heard that bird again. Was it an oystercatcher or a curlew? Do we get curlews here? It was a strange call, a kind of cur-lee, cur-lee, that echoed across from the cement jetty opposite the Perygyl. Then it stopped. The moon is almost full but it is yellow rather than white and it’s light is minimal.
We talked about my morning tension. I thought of it this morning as I walked. Do I just welcome it in? My back tightens all the way down to my waist. I feel its every muscle and sinew. Rigid. Stiff.
I watched as Elephant’s mother ran out of the house for a run. She avoided eye contact with her neighbour who was cutting the grass, as usual. So it isn’t just us. She and her partner do not engage with the rest of us. He smiled at her the other day as we drove past, she almost smiled back but it was so forced, so uncharacteristic and she dropped it mid-grin and returned to stone. And yet their three children spread themselves about, we hear their laughter and noise often. Yesterday she’d laid out a rug for them and they were playing or picnicking in their back garden. She is clearly an attentive and loving parent. He is less patient, we hear him losing his temper with them. A little irascible, I think.
Let them be, I say to him. It may be a religious thing.
Let it all be.
She replied, with pictures. All is well for now. Thank you.