Like most of my adventures, this one starts off sketchy. It follows a blank stare from the car rental agent, deflecting my empty pleas when I cannot produce my South African driver’s license. ‘I left it in the flat, can I show you a copy on my phone instead?’, I don’t realise how ridiculous I sound in the moment because desperation is the mother of idiots. Sigh. I give myself a little scolding but quickly retract it considering I’m on holiday and I deserve a dumb mistake… or two, lol. I take to a ‘ce la vie’ sway back to the flat and wait for the cold water to hit my travel buddy, who is as annoyed with me as I thought they would be. Iriz-wari-iriz. Soon we are in a luxury VW sedan, on the high-way, south coast bound.
I remember edgy cliffs, the kind you fall off into the sea without realising. I remember a hypnotic blue ocean, the kind you drown in wilfully. I remember Durdle Door, a bizarre rock formation into the ocean, bearing testament to all that was before time. I remember a visceral awareness of my humanity, and how nature is our umbilical cord to the Divine. I sit in the gritty paradox of being insignificant and majestic all at once. It is in the vastness of nature that we realise how small we are yet each worthy of a unique fingerprint.
The human condition is an existence in tension, a thing that is but isn’t.
I remember stuffing my cardigan pockets with tiny brown beach pebbles, trudging them up the hill and into the car all the richer. I am my best thing, deserving of my own empathy.
I remember looking off into the pleated hills nestling the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and in them realising the monotonous beauty of breathing at the will of God. I wake up to my place in the radiance of things. In the light bathing the green, the need to survive quiets. I am beautiful, I can be delicate and soft without it feeling like a form of death. Vulnerability is not a betrayal of my independence; but the Eden in us all.
I write this back in London, the trip in rear-view. I have learned to monumentalise my Joy, and my conscious experiences of a good Father reaching for me, more than I could ever reach back. I memorialise myself in blue fluidity and lush green thrive.
The beach pebbles now sit in a reused jam jar, next to my Monstera, growing towards a lazy winter sun. A thing that is but isn’t.