One of the most precious feelings I know is that of warm sand on bare feet and the joy of cooling off paddling in those little lacy waves that embroider our beaches, especially when the tide is coming in.
I’ve long been aware that this is not a sensation to be taken for granted and last week it flooded back to me when I was running down towards the beach for my swim at Garrarus Beach.
The place was deserted apart from a man and woman who were deep in conversation at the very end of the tiny car park which overlooks the beach. The woman was sitting on the wall and the man was in a wheelchair. We exchanged ‘hellos’ and I went for my swim remembering the frustration of sitting on that very wall with my broken leg in plaster and not a hope of being able to get down the steps to the beach. I had no idea if the man was likely to be in the wheelchair forever or if it was just a temporary situation.
Two days later, I met them again; this time they were with a smiley young man who asked me if I would take a photograph of the three of them as their holiday had come to an end and they were catching the ferry back to England early next day.
We had a great chat and it emerged that the wheelchair was likely to be for life. There was an extra special feel to the sand that day and the waves seemed lacier than ever.
As I walked back along the beach the stones were all gleaming in the sun and still wet from the receding tide. I gathered three with each of my now familiar strangers in mind. They were incredibly different in shape and colour as the trio had shown such individuality in those few minutes that we had talked.
They were gone when I got back but I caught up with them as I rounded a bend which is always clad with honeysuckle at this time of year. Pulling up, I let down the window and handed each of them their stone. I may as well have given them priceless gems, such was their surprise.
What had inspired all this had been learning that the man in the wheelchair is an artist. I hope that the stone ~ with its red, yellowy, orangey, golden tints, all blending like trees in Autumn, will fire his creativity even more and bring him back to Garrarus through art, imagination and hopefully in person.
Isn’t it amazing how people can touch your life in just a few moments? They will always be part of Garrarus and its beauty for me now.