A soft mist of rain is falling, the first all week. It is so light it seems suspended, tiny nebulous silver droplets that collect on my coat and sling as I walk. It is warm, and the pregnant purple clouds rest on a distant slate peak as we turn onto a winding side-road to head away from the village.
The bracken is colouring a deep, rich bronze for the harvest season and the road is lined with the emerald through amber and brightest orange. The whole world is spread before us like a crumpled duvet. The hills rise behind, not the green and brown we would be tempted to paint them, but yellow and purple and grey. Every blade of grass is perfect.
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The sea today is freckled with tiny white peaks. It is usually such a great grey expanse when we drive out this way, glinting like a mirror reflecting clouds and the vain hopping birds in solitary pursuit on buried treasure. The edges of this stretch are green – almost excessively so. I have seen the grazing semi-wild goats bound right onto the sand as if daring the tidal waters.
The tiny bays we can get into to walk and play, the sand is fine as gold dust but crunchy on top with mussel shells. All are havens for that childhood clamour to fish the rock pools and climb and clamber. We have become obsessives too, scouring stretches for glassy aquariums in which we might catch a tiny brown crab or an alien-looking shrimp. Jenna is under their spell.
I can see her now, memories of those long lazy days at the shore. She is so tall and long, lithe bare limbs all sunshine and strength. Yesterday her legs were skinned by a fall onto some jagged rocks and after a moment of tearful anger at the roughness of stone she was off and running while I hovered still between her babyhood and independence. Oh I wanted to hold her but she would not could not stay. And the tide retreats again, always changing.