Tuesday, 30 December 2008


I’m sitting here with sand on my feet, salt on my skin and the sound of the waves in my ears. Not exactly: ‘Break, break break on thy cold grey stones, oh sea!’ because I’m in the southern hemisphere with temperatures soaring in the 30’s, the sand like powder and burning hot. With the crisp sparkle of a dark London afternoon extremely far away, I'm contemplating the fact that it’s the 30th December. It brings on thoughts of past Old Years’ Eves and how I celebrated them when I was the age of the hordes of 35 year-olds staying in my house right now (11 in all!).

Countless Old Years’ Eves were celebrated on chilly beaches sprawled around a bonfire watching the sun come up. (Odd how we considered ourselves children of the 60’s… Mary Quant, marijuana and all that… yet we were in fact a conservative carry-over from the 50’s morals and modesty.) And it seems the same applies today... at least here in the southern hemisphere. The sun coming up on a new year is still celebrated on the beach with a bonfire.

What is it about watching a New Year’s sun pop over the horizon that is any different to watching the sun come up on a normal day? The wide horisons of sea and sky seem to mute the moment while at the same time the sea's energy is tangible. We convince ourselves it’s different. Fresh starts. New potentials. In a way like the unwritten page or screen staring back blankly waiting for you to make the first mark every morning. Anything is possible if you can only make the right mark. There’s a certain fragility to the moment… try too hard and you might fail. But at the same time there’s an energy to start fresh. To capture something magical. It's a moment on the cusp, when you move from the old to the new.
So when I return to London and unpack my suitcase and discover little gritty pockets of sand caught in hems and seams, and the smell of the sea still clinging damply to an old pair of jeans, hopefully I'll be galvanised by the same sense of calm energy when I face a new page. A sort of magical process.

And on the beach at 5.30 am this morning with a few dolphins surfing the waves as the sun came up, (my hordes of 35 year olds still fast asleep) everything seemed magical!


Lucy Coats said...

As always, Dianne, you take us away to a place of beauty and magic with your writing. Your 5.30 sunrise with dolphins seems a world away from the hesitant, hazy sun on wet green fields and bare fragile trees which I am currently looking out on. Happy New Year!

adele said...

Happy New Year, Dianne to you and all the others who read and write on this blog! Lovely to hear about warmer climes....