There’s something very precious about having a beach to oneself and that’s exactly how it was for me and Puppy Stan this morning out at Kilfarrasy. The tide was ebbing and there wasn’t even a footprint on the cleansed sand:
The sea was a darling blue and Summer seemed to be wafting in the salty air. When we turned to come back a fishing boat had rounded the headland with what I always think of as the upside-down heart and we stood watching it for ages as they threw in their lobster pots with the gulls shrieking overhead:
It was Puppy Stan who saw our watchers first. He skidded to a halt and peered up the cliffs. It seems like we’d had an audience ~ an ever-growing ~ one for some time:
I couldn’t but think of how my father used to say when I’d be trying to ‘doll’ myself up in my teenage years: Sure, who do you think will be looking at you, anyway?
Kilfarassy Beach, which is about four miles from Tramore, always evokes thoughts of Dad. He first came to love it in the early 1940s when he came to Waterford as a young bank official. Having grown up by the sea in rugged Co. Clare, he had an instinctual need to see tall cliffs and sunsets.
It was the place where he brought us for swims and picnics when we were kids and it was the place where he and I used to go for our evening outings when he was nearing the end of his life. We’d go for a tiny walk, linking arms, and then sit in the car and watch the sunset. Sometimes, we would just sit in companionable silence; other times, we’d chat about his memories, our shared memories or about things that we wanted to discuss in absolute private.
Kilfarassy’s cliffs light up magnificently at sunset but our eyes and talk was always about that spot down at the end of the beach by the jaggedy rocks which was ‘ours.’ That’s where we once sat as a family ~ buckets and spaces, deck chairs, togs, towels and the leaky thermos flask wrapped in an old tea towel.
Both of us had a fascination with the eye of the cliff right out at the edge. We called it ‘the eye’ but there were times when we thought it was more like a big arm enfolding or maybe a heart.
The chance to have all those shared hours with Dad, especially in his last years, is something I treasure beyond description. Sometimes, he would nod off to sleep in the car on the way home but never once did he nod off when we were watching the sunset and waiting to soak up the afterglow.
I hadn’t looked at the weather forecast when I chose Stepping Out as my theme for 2015. But I must say there’s nothing like the combination of a madly energetic puppy, Stan, and a brand new theme to pull one out into howling winds and that wettest kind of Irish rain.
We made for Kilfarrasy Beach which has tall, tall cliffs and has lots of memories, including long chats with Dad in the months after Mother died. He invariably looked down the beach and talked nostalgically about all the happy days we’d spent there years ago as a family ~ picnics, buckets and spades, and, of course, the day when I was a toddler and slipped away from Mother’s watchful eye to head out to where he was happily swimming until he saw me laughing and waving at him chin-deep in water. He was amazed that either of us had lived beyond that moment for even 50 seconds, not to talk about 50 years, to be able to talk about that early splurge for independence.
Dad must have taken a thousand photographs of Kilfarrasy in his time but this one was always his favourite:
It stood in stark contrast today but had a wonderful wildness and energy about it.
The stones, though, were as colourful as ever and I couldn’t resist getting embroiled in a bit of artwork. Broad brush strokes, I told myself, as I gathered small rocks rather than stones and made my mosiac. It started as a heart with 2015 beneath it; then I piled the 2015 into the heart and collected 11 more stones ~ one for each letter of STEPPING OUTand tossed them in.
May 2015 be a year filled with Love and Heart in Blogosphere and all around the World.