She went down to the beach today. The tide flowed out to lay bare the North Sea floor and higher up on the firm wet sand, lay the tumbled gems she came to find.
From afar, the woman is a figure in a purple hat and a long coat wearing floppy pink sandals as she bends again and again grubbing and snatching to examine the smooth bits of green and white glass; then perhaps the surprise of a blue chip or two.
She tucks them in her coat pockets and wipes the sand from her fingers. She looks up as a pied puppy makes a mad dash for her, crashes into her legs then charges around her and bullets off again towards his master’s voice. She observes his exhilaration at being a puppy. She bends again; knows her muscles may ache tomorrow.
She is a pickpocket; filching, stealing, raiding the beach cornucopia of buffed stones in the hues of the earth. Heaps of brick rust red, jasper orange, amber tawny, grey smoked blue and white veined, broken flint and those perfectly tiny snow eggs. She finds spheres with dimples and peep holes, fist-sized chunks with knobs and tiny caves wherein lurk well-worn grains of sand.
The wavelets wash them rendering their colour. She knows the breeze will soon dry and fade them dull. She watches as the water washes each stone back to its own tone and she believes we can excel when our emotional streams flow freely to reveal our true radiant being; like the puppy. “Are we all that beautiful? ” she muses.
She will take herself home, empty her pockets and rinse the prize under the tap. Her loot is now spread on the table as she begins to play. She stacks pebbles on top of each other and engineers tiny balancing acts, piles them higher till they topple and, giggling, she begins again. For an hour she is absorbed; with nature’s toys, building her statues and tributes and gives them names like “solstice cradle” and “the lady waits”. She creates seasonal figurines around petite temples and arranges irregular rows of them on the red table cloth. For an hour she plays with the bounty of ocean and land as it was offered her just for today.