Light touched the rippling surface of the lake. Small boats, bobbed on the water their ropes creaking. Birds called up the sunrise and other animals stirred awake in the stillness of dawn.
She was running. Running from her home and following the path downwards. Her dress floated out behind her, caught in the air rush from her movements. A bed sheet, turned bundle bumped at her side and weighted her down with supplies.
Her feet were bare, easier and silent to aid her running. The dew grass wet her feet and the last of the warmth from her bed left her.
She reached the boats, placed the bundled into the closest one, then gathering all the skirts up into both her hands, she quickly stepped into the boat and had to catch herself before she almost fell into the lake.
Crawling to the front, she untied the boat, sat down and began rowing. The light of the dawn lay across the water as if it was guiding her. She wasn’t a strong rower, but the rush from her escape and the knowledge she would soon be with her lover spurred her on.
From the castle window, her matron sat at the window. The old woman couldn’t see her young charge running then rowing the boat away, but she could see the yellow light touching the lake and the tree tops which sang just as her heart did that she had done the right thing in aiding the girl’s escape.
There was nothing out here but nature. I got up on the wooden fence of the pier and let the wind blow though my hair. Sea salt tingled my lips and waves lapped in my ears. It was a calm, cool night. The sky was dotted with stars and the moon was full.
My torch lay abandoned on a near by bench. Normally the pier was lit up to tempted people here to go on the rides, play the fun fair themed games and spend money. The lights hadn’t come on this year, there was no point because people had been told to stay at home.
I could no longer bare it and had escaped into the night. I was tried of the arguments with two teenagers, tried of trying to do maths with my other children and tried of trying to keep my toddler entertained for long enough for me to do some housework. I didn’t regret having seven children, I just had never imagined we’d been all trapped at home for weeks on end.
I shut my eyes, breathed in deeply and listened not just my ears but my heart. The sea whispered, singing the song it had done since the beginning of time. The waves rasped across the sand and shells on the beach behind me. A seagull called close by disturbed by my presence.
For a few seconds I thought about letting go. I could fall down with the whistling wind and part the wave below. The sea would consume me gladly and wrap me in a watery embrace for all eternity.
I felt the forward lurch in my body and placed my hands on the top rail to catch myself. I looked into the dark water below and decided not today. I got down, grabbed my torch and walked back the way I had come.
I had responsibilities and so much love still to give but the sea would always be waiting for me.
It was cool on the moor today, despite the sunshine, blue sky and spring singing in the air. I hadn’t meant to go out for a walk, I had too much to do but all day the moors had been calling me like an old friend begging for a visit.
The evenings were growing lighter now, so I thought an hour before the sunsets around seven, would be fine. Some fresh air and exercise might be good, it would help to clear my head and make me tried enough to sleep.
I changed into warm and waterproof clothes and boots, I packed a bag with a few supplies, made sure my phone was changed then set out. You never knew when things might change on the moor or if you might fall on a boggy patch of ground or trip on a rocky edge. I knew from experience what it was like to be stuck out there with nothing.
I walked straight, no direction in mind, just going where the first path took me. There was low cloud cover over some of the higher hills in the distant, the clouds were all ready turning dark with the evening light. There too where dots of sheep with early lambs nesting in the bushes. There was purple heather coming up and a few wild flowers but nothing much else grew out here.
At one high point, I stopped for a breath and some water. The air was turning colder, threatening a frost in the night. I was glad I had wrapped up. I played with the gold chain around my neck then moved on to the multi-coloured shell that hung from the links. I could name all the colours on the shell without looking; red, orange, yellow and green.
It had been a present. The last birthday gift my son had ever given me. Then a few months later, he and my husband had died in a car accident. I had barely escaped the wreak and had no memory of what had happened.
The moor helped me forget, that’s why I had moved here. It was so easy to lose yourself either staring and walking upon the moor. The seasons and weather were ever changing and there was all ways something new to see or smell or hear.
I had my escape on my doorstep and I was grateful for it.
I looked out of the motorhome window, rubbing sleep from my eyes. The sky was becoming light but the streetlamps were still on. I could hear water in the dock lapping the boats. Birds were singing and a car engine was fading into the distance.
I couldn’t remember arriving, I must have slept through. I got up, dressed and went outside. Cold air bruised my face, I smelt the salt off the water and I felt glad to finally have escaped.
During the summer, the school’s headmaster would go away. Worn down and stressed, he found escaping to the hills and spending time in complete isolation and nature the best to recover.
He pitched a tent, created a fire, built extra shelter from fallen branches and ferns around his camp site. During the daytime, he walked the hills, fished, set rabbit traps and collect edible fruits, plants and fungi. Later, he cooked what he’d caught and had supper.
At night he fell sleep, lulled by rain, wind and animals’ calls, knowing when he woke there was nothing to worry over.
The sun shone on the murky mud river, heating it up but leaving the depths cool. Ripples caused by fish and the boats crossed the surface. I watched and saw fish jumping.
Sipping my coffee, I lent on the railing of my cousin’s houseboat and wished I could have this life. He had moved to Luxon, South Australia as a child, leaving England behind. Our twin mothers had been close and we had visited each other often.
Now though, I had lost everything and had come here seeking an escape but perhaps, I could stay here and begin again?
I had come to the coast for my nerves. That’s what they did in the old days. They would get away from the coal smoke chocked cities, filled with diseases and death to the clean, brightness of the sea. For some that worked and they felt refreshed enough afterwards to return to their lives.
It had been three days and I wasn’t feeling any better. There was far too much more to worry about now then there was back then. We laugh when we read the classic novels were marriage was the biggest issue the characters faced because now marriage is meaningless.
Money and power and still talk though but I no longer have an interested in them. I’m yearning from something else, something deeper. I don’t know what it is though, expect that in quietness, I get close.
I watch the sunset across the beach. There is a river which is running straight out to the sea. The sunlight shines on the water, the light reflecting off the waves. It’s still, almost like a photograph.
Is this what I’ve been looking for? A single moment of silent?
It’s gone before I can capture it.
At least, I know now what I’m looking for and next time I shall reach Nirvana.