July 2017 - Sennen. It curls like blown glass

Wearing the sea

The sea reminds me of a muscle; a great heaving body that carries you along, with tendrils that reach up and curl around your arms, sucking and drawing. If you touch softly, it feels soft. Hit it hard, it’s hard.

This morning I asked a local surfer how to body surf (bodyboarding without the board) – you throw one arm forward, swim with the other, and pitch yourself into the curl of the wave. I caught the wave, was flung forward, rolled over the seabed, and thrown onto the beach where streams of Atlantic poured from my nose and mouth. It was brilliant, scary, painful fun. We had to avoid the riptide behind us, and the granite lumps scattered around on the soft sand. Yellow and red flags guided us swimmers, black and white flags the surfers. Lifeguards patrolled the beach, on their feet, wary.

The sea that slides down your face has the power to hurl ships. You can learn its language but you don’t get a say. Still it’s vulnerable, damaged by our plastics and our use of fuel. Every time I ride out on the sea, I share my food with it by way of offering. I worry for it, fish out plastic and waste, try not to foul it, hope to preserve, curate, and appease it. I love it but wonder if it’ll kill me in the end.

It’s made me more alive in the meantime.

Fling your veg: