As anticipated, my five challenges have consumed the month of January, every hour and every day. Progress is apparent, but I have to admit that I’m starting to get tired. I can tell when there is more energy than thought going into my actions, when the day’s worries too easily lap over into the night’s dreams. I recognize the wary sensitivity and easy umbrage.
A break is overdue: I haven’t taken even an afternoon ramble along the beach in nearly a month. Rightly, then, I purposefully turned my back on work and drove out to West Cliffs.
It was a cold and windy day along the Bournemouth shore, although beautifully sunny and clear. The Needles and Alum Bay, distant Isle of Wight, gleamed chalk-white on the horizon.
It’s nice to have the summer crowds gone, the beaches empty. Contemplative peace and quiet.
As only locals would, people slept in the sun and ate ice cream as though it were July while wryly smothered in January parka’s and hoods. Bundled couples in matching colours swayed and laughed, holding hands and squinting into the wind. A few families carried on summer-life-as-usual in beach huts, studiously oblivious to winter.
Bournemouth is building a new gateway to the Pier, reconnecting the river to the sea, adding decorative lighting and pavilions. Promenade café’s are being torn down and re-erected, though the concept pictures look exactly like the demolished buildings. The Oceanarium is adding a Penguin Pond, appropriately.
The zipline was doing a lot of business, firing riders at the beach from the pier’s tower every few minutes.
No fishermen or surfers, swimmers or bar-b-q’s today – everyone was walking determinedly, stoically, keeping warm.
It was all quite ordinary, quite delightful for a mile’s walk. Worry diminished and fell away; optimism returned.
I need to remember to make more time for time off.