Tuesday 2 August 2011

Sometimes Known as Lughnasa

The alarm went off at 4.30 this morning and I stumbled out of bed.
“It’s cloudy over the sea”, said Charlotte as we looked east from the window to the horizon.
“Is it worth going?” I said.
“We could go up the lane to the oak instead.”

But we always go down to the sea to greet the sun at the beginning of August for the station of the year sometimes known as lughnasa.

So we found ourselves getting dressed and going to the shed for the bikes. The sun would rise at around 5.15 and it’s a good 20 minutes’ cycle ride to get to the sea.

My sturdy old town bike doesn’t go very fast even along straight roads, and this morning I was struggling through the empty streets against the breeze. Charlotte zoomed ahead.

Forgot the bike locks so we propped them against the railings and headed over the dunes. There was a tent on the beach but no sign of anyone apart from ourselves. I collapsed amongst the marram grass and almost immediately the sun appeared - straight out of the sea, red and glowing in a less dramatic, gentler sunrise than last year’s. The whole morning was warmer too. Before I knew it Charlotte had stripped naked (a rare event in Southwold) and raced into the water. Meanwhile I went to visit some nearby wild fennel.

We have some grand fennels in the garden, but for aromatic intensity they are no match for these wild ones. You know how when you rub peppermint and smell it you can feel it in your mouth even without eating it (if you haven’t done that before give it a try). Well, that’s what these fennels are like; just the lightest brush against them with your hand permeates your taste buds somehow. And it feels like it’s cleansing your whole mouth. I never realised I was so permeable before I encountered mint and fennel!

So if you ever come across me brushing lightly against these plants in the wild rest assured I am perfectly sane – come and join me!

Cycling back home we saw a flock of white doves on the common and stopped to collect some fallen wild cherry plums in the lane. The light in the garden was limpid and another sunflower had just emerged. I have a feeling that ALL of the sunflowers I planted this year are going to be the new form I wrote about the week before last. Not that I’m complaining...

Pics: wild fennel sunrise; sea sunrise; me, (new) sunflower, rose - all Aug 2011

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