The still and silent Shining Shore

Our ‘home’ walk, our meditation. Though over two months since we last walked it. But taking advantage of the lighter afternoons and the fact that Sarah has time to spare from her funeral work, we arrive at Thurstaston in the middle of a mid-March Thursday.

All is still and silent.

All is still and silent.

The heavy mist blankets everything. Wetting hair and branches and leaves. Deadening distant sounds, so nearby birdsongs, footsteps and water tricklings appear louder.

During the winter the long hedge on Station Road has been decisively cut back.

During the winter the long hedge on Station Road has been decisively cut back.

So we can see over the top of it into the misty middle distance.

So we can see over the top of it into the misty middle distance.

The day is cold, walking through the mist. And looks like we’re back in mid-winter.

But it's spring and here come the hawthorn leaves.

But it’s spring and here come the hawthorn leaves.

Daffodils upright and proud.

Daffodils upright and proud.

Ornamental cherry.

Flowering currant.

Flowering moss in a sandstone wall.

Moss spore in a sandstone wall.

And still some snowdrops, just going over.

And still some snowdrops, just going over.

We reach the church yard of St Bartholomew's.

We reach the church yard of St Bartholomew’s.

Herb Robert flowering on a gravestone.

Herb Robert flowering on a gravestone.

Up into the high lane towards Heswall.

Up into the high lane towards Heswall.

Little is said other than the names of plants. The naming itself a sacred liturgy.

Borage.

Borage.

Periwinkle. Slugged periwinkle.

Periwinkle. Slugged periwinkle.

Past the ancient barn.

Past the ancient barn.

Noticing how wet everything is. Coated with moisture from the mist.

Noticing how wet everything is. Coated with moisture from the mist.

Through the gate and higher still.

Through the gate and higher still.

Dead nettle under the hedgerow. Not at all dead, but doesn't sting.

Dead nettle under the hedgerow. Not at all dead, but doesn’t sting.

Glistening blossom.

Glistening blossom.

From this high up we usually get our first panorama of the Dee Estuary, our Shining Shore.

Not today, lost in the silent mist.

Not today, lost in the silent mist.

Still no wind and little sound beyond our footsteps and the naming of the names.

Witch hazel.

Hazel. Female and male parts, with captured moisture.

Tiny beads and threads of water on spring buds.

Tiny beads and threads of water on spring buds.

Ancient wood.

Ancient wood.

And new wood as we turn down hill into the marshy ravine, The Dungeon.

And new wood as we turn down hill into the marshy ravine, The Dungeon.

A spider's web in the mist.

A spider’s web in the mist.

Crossing the stream.

Crossing the stream.

The shoots on the left there will all be bluebells before too long.

Hillsides full of bluebells.

Hillsides full of bluebells.

Pausing briefly at the bench to look out over the Shining Shore. Still lost in the mist.

Pausing briefly at the bench to look out over the Shining Shore. Still lost in the mist.

The last couple of days a hazy sun has broken through by now. It’s not happening today. We pass very few people on the silent hillside.

And stop for lunch at the foot of the ravine.

And stop for lunch at the foot of the ravine.

Some days the stream here gushes past us. Today it trickles quietly.

We eat, drink our tea and walk on.

Past willow.

Past wet willow.

The lovely still bare tree.

The lovely still bare tree. Often alive with scrambling squirrels. All quiet today.

The severed trunk.

The severed branch.

For years we’ve been measuring how far I have to duck down to pass beneath this. Now, sadly, it’s been ‘tidied up.’ I never minded the ducking down and now miss the gentle interruption..

Looking back from Heswall Fields. The perfect tree, almost lost in the mist.

Looking back uphill from Heswall Fields. The perfect tree, almost lost in the mist.

And finally, the Shining Shore.

And finally, the Shining Shore.

Down onto the beach.

Down onto the beach.

North Wales is out there. But it won't be seen today.

North Wales is out there. But it won’t be seen today.

Closer to us the boulder clay cliffs from the end of the last Ice Age have had a hard winter with high tides and accelerated erosion.

Clumps of boulder clay seeping out onto the beach like molten lava.

Clumps of boulder clay seeping out onto the beach like molten lava.

And the wall up there?

And the wall up there?

Is mostly down here now.

Is mostly down here now.

And in the mist it feels like we’re walking through a sepia landscape, most colour drained away.

Apart from the beach which shines a brighter orange as if to compensate.

Apart from the beach which shines a brighter orange as if to compensate.

Up the steps now to the top of the cliffs.

Up the steps now to the top of the cliffs.

Each time we walk up here now the shifting land has bent them more out of shape.

Each time we walk up here now the shifting land has bent them more out of shape.

But what a place, the Shining Shore.

But what a place, the Shining Shore.

Even today, silent, empty and enclosed.

The still centre of our turning world.

The still centre of our turning world.

Thank you. The place, the day, nature and time. We return from our ritual walking meditation as ever, rested and renewed.

Just after writing this I hear that Tony Benn has died. Expected but no less sad. Right up to the end I always loved to hear what he thought about things. My inspiration since I was a little boy, I’m grateful this walk left me in such a peaceful and reflective place for when the news of his death finally came.

3 thoughts on “The still and silent Shining Shore

  1. openmindimages

    “Little sound but the naming of names”. I like that too. Living by the sea reminds that things never stay the same, here, in the middle, that´s not so easy to see.

    Reply

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