As the rain drops hammer down upon the flat roof directly above where I sit (in a comfy office chair - where I am meant to be catching up on paperwork for the shop) I find myself (oddly) transported to Lulworth Cove (where it is still raining :) ).
The cove is my 'spiritual' place (if you believe in such things). The place where I feel free; my soul sours the second I catch eyes of the hill between the cove and Durdle Door (the one my family have always called "Pimple Hill" due to an extra mound on the very top). All my worries, fears and anything which may be causing me stress just washes away here. However, the sound of the rain on a roof can do exactly the same thing (one reason why I would love to be able to add a conservatory to the back of our house).
Thankfully, right now, at this exact moment in my life I have no worries, no fears, nothing causing me any stress; it's a truly wonderful feeling which took me a while to get used to (having spent most of my life in such states). Of course, there are things I wish I had, things I wish I'd never had, but that's just life. I think you could have everything you could ever wish for and there would always still be something missing - I believe that is just human nature. For now though, in this moment, at this time in my life I have everything - air in my lungs, a roof over my head (which really does sound wonderful right now) an amazing family and a few good friends (not many of those left in this world, I can tell you - I've been through more than my fair share of *not-good* ones). There's a quiet, a stillness, an odd feeling of peace flowing through my veins right now - I think that's why I found myself transported to the cove.
I was there last week. I tried to visit the Friday before (the 20th) but upon arrival even the overflow car park was full (as much as I love the place and would happily spend every minute of every day down there, I do not like people - when I was a child and discovered my love for the place it wasn't such a 'tourist trap'; These days it's just packed. The quietness taken away by hoards of people there, not for the beauty and peacefulness of the place, but to cause as much noise as they can while they trample over the land, climb the cliffs, deface the rocks (humans really are the most destructive creatures on this planet). I'd tried to get there a few weeks before too - again, the amount of people put me off stopping. However, on Friday of last week, the weather was like it is today - wet (really wet) and extremely windy. That car park was virtually empty.
I found my spot, paid for my ticket, put my coat on and off I went. Firstly taking the gentle climb up to stair hole (I love watching the waves crash through the holes in the rock on a really rough day - after all, it is the power of the water which created the hole in the first place; it seems only right to put itself on display now it's found it's way through). We're blessed to see it as it is; in a few generations to come it will no longer exist, the power of the water will eventually win and erode it away, leaving just a pile of rocks poking up through the water when the tide goes out - if the rest of the cliffs around haven't crumbled into the sea by then (something which (sadly) could easily happen anywhere along that coast). I passed just a small group of 3 people, hurriedly rushing back down the hill, away from the battering the wind and rain had been giving them - at that point you are right on the edge, with nothing but the English Channel in front of you, exposed to the elements, in the same way the rocks and cliffs are. I stood tehre for what felt like hours watching those waves, soaking up the atmosphere.
I did consider taking the coastal path (part of the Southdowns Way) over the top and down onto Durdle Door itself, but that would not have a been a nice stroll on such a day, so instead headed back down into the cove itself. I can't tell you how disappointed I was to find a coach load of school kids down there (around 15) basically being as destructive as they could be, their teachers unable to get any of the under control. I assumed they were on a Geography field trip (how I loved those when I was at school) however instead of taking in their amazing surroundings, learning about the different layers of rock, erosion, the natural cove they were so intent on defacing, they instead took it in turns to try and throw each other from the little wooden bridge which heads over the overflow gully which runs from further up the village. They were more intent on digging out bits of rock from the sandstone to see if they could hit the seagull happily bobbing his way up-and-down on the water swell where the sea is always a lot calmer, protected by it's natural harbour entrance. I went to school with some pretty "rough" characters, but even they had more respect for their surroundings. Anyway, that's just life these days, how children are dragged up and there's nothing I can do about it. This is why I hate how the cove has been turned into such a tourist spot. There is nothing there for kids to do (as there shouldn't be - it's a natural site) yet kids these days seem to need to be entertained 24/7. They want fast rides, flashing lights, destructive games, so when they arrive at somewhere so beautiful and peaceful as the Cove they have no idea how to behave. I couldn't stay, had to leave or I'd have drowned a few of them and I am not someone who would do well in a prison.
However, as I sit here right now, listening, I'm transported down there on a day when there aren't hoards of people. I can feel the rain on my face, my fingers going numb from the cold, the wind whistling around me (and underneath the hood I have pulled tightly against me). I can hear the shrill from the seagulls as they get caught in a gust of wind, transported from one side of the cove to the other. I can hear the 'ting-ting-ting' of a rigging clip on one of the boats moored up as it bobs about, clanging against the mast. I can smell the fish the brave fishermen (and women) have been out and caught that morning (there's something about that smell - it's not nice, yet at the same time it's not 'not-nice' because it's the smell that reminds you where you are). Occasionally you'll catch the scent of bacon cooking, either from one of the houses in the village (if the wind is in the right direction) or the cafe (which has it's main doors firmly closed on such a day) situated on the edge of the beach. Every now and then a large waves breaks into the cove, crashing onto the rocks at the entrance, sending a spray of salt water 20 feet into the air, before it hurtles it's way to the beach, rolling and crashing onto the shingle as it does so.
I'm sure the shop door will open, or the phone will ring at some point, dragging me back to where I should be, doing what I need to be, but every now-and-then it's good to be able to 'switch off'. To allow ourselves to step away from our "every day". I, for one, am truly blessed to have such a place where I can do so (even when I am not physically there). I am truly blessed to have the life I have. It's never about wanting more (which we all do - myself included (heck, wanting more is the very reason I started this blog in the first place)) but sometimes it's about taking that step back, looking at what we have, and realising just how truly lucky we really are.