I remember the day I discovered the lull of the tide. We were standing there, my father and I, in the late afternoon at the water's edge, carefully scouring the small stretch of speckled, gravelly shore for smooth, flat pebbles with which to skim the water's skin.
Little boats were knock-knocking, their echoes rocking in the harbour and the distant squawking chime of seagulls punched the ragged sky, which was streaked with clouds and hemmed by an inky grey, tugging inwards at the corners. The air had a salty sting, coming over us in haughty gusts laced with the thrash and thrive of life under our see, engulfed in far reaching waters, which started at our toes, sharp and cold at first and slowly, almost imperceptibly, flushed and swilling at our ankles like swishing shoals of fish, the space between us and the craggy sea defence growing slighter by the minute.
"We had better head back" my father said, nodding at the water that had now pushed us up near enough against the wall and at the rest of the Gurteen family who were dawdling overhead, leaning against the hard rusted railings, their cheeks rosy and hair drunk and tousled by the breeze. "You had better come up quickly" called my mother and as we mounted the wet steps, it seemed to me as if the sea swelled forth, careening ahead and laid itself like a heavy blanket, erasing what had befallen moments before- the sea waits for no man and hides away a secret world, which is both exciting and dangerous at the same time.
We scuttled through the narrow streets that slowly wound up towards our little townhouse, that we had called home for the week- a home away from home. My hand in grandma's, I craned my neck to catch glimpses of the steely grey waters that had rolled up to meet the town's front of Dartmouth, as if it might pour in and swallow us whole but, rather, through the gaps of the stone cottages, I could see the sea sigh and fall short of its almighty swoop, stopping simply to lap and lull against the frontiers.
We let ourselves in through the front door just as the slightest pitter patter of rain began to fall. Clambering onto the end of my brother's bed, we sat there, the two of us, our heads resting on the rough, wooden sill and peered out over the rooftops, past the bell tower of the church, which had earlier called to wake us.
To our left lay the waters from hence we had just come, the waves sighing contentedly as they met with walls and rolled back out into all that was under our see, into all of that powerful, potent world that is under the sea.
*Pictures not my own but sourced from a broken link within Pinterest- please contact if they are yours and you would like citation.
*Rental cottages in Devon provided by Home Away.
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