With reference to a photo post – I came across this boat by the shore about a month ago as I took a walk around the historical walls of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Having always lived in this part of the world, I have visited the town and walked its walks many times throughout my life, I have watched it evolve and grow as well as seen parts of it erode and change for the worse. Nevertheless, it holds a place in my heart, and I’ve recently come to see the pathways around its border to be places of calm, escapism, solitude: a reprieve. Passing strangers up here don’t bother me, they are polite and non-invasive, often throwing out a hello or a smile. I wonder if they too feel the sanctity of this place.
This particular spot was just one of many along the way, yet stuck in my mind and somehow tugged me back, I was harboured . On Sunday, I returned to the walls, this time taking my boy along on the adventure. My mother joined us later one, and we took a stroll beyond the small harbour, its boats bobbing gently on the water. It was still day, the sky an extraordinary blue and the air fresh and salty. Another crisp autumn day (how I’m revelling in this season lately). With no planned route, we stumbled across a part of the shore that we’d never known of before. After all these years it had hidden itself from us, though we’d stood on the walls above it we had looked beyond, towards the promenade across the sea, or at the shadows on the water.
We passed beneath the walls, at least ten feet below the grass and tarmac, looking up to where we had walked a hundred times before, and marvelled at this hidden track (hidden to us, at least). It was here we stumbled upon a quaint old boathouse, weather beaten and salt stained, having fought off years of angry tides. Underfoot I felt the delicious slimy ground of half-dry seaweed, popping with each step, and the gentle crunches of sand in between. Though terrified of incoming tides as a child I now feel a sense of oneness with the sea and its shore. There’s a tranquility in the lapping of the water, the gull songs, the bobbing buoys, moored boats dancing with the ripples, even the crashing waves bring me a sense of peace.
Then, at the back of the boathouse I found it. My spot, the retired blue boat. I ran my fingers across her wooden panels, paint chipped and slowly fading. Resigning herself to nature and allowing herself to ebb away into the sand.
I found my walk so rewarding. I didn’t seek out the boat, nor did I expect to discover her in another light. But I’ve though of this place often over the past few weeks and felt a certain honour at stumbling across it by chance, as if something had guided me. A bit too spiritual, perhaps, but its a warm, hopeful feeling. I threw a desire out into the universe and the universe followed through.
It’s magic like this that gets me through these days.