Beach of Solitude
Last month I decided to travel to the other side of the river, a placed called ‘New Brighton’ in Merseyside. Over there I had hear of mythical beaches that transcend all others that we may encounter in the United Kingdom. If you know the UK like I do, you then agree with me that beaches are everything but memorable. For whatever reason I always feel emptiness when I approach a beach only to find that it was nothing like I was expecting.
So this time I drove to this small beach, without expectations, just open minded to whatever I would find, either dirty sand, rocky pebbles, muddled water and so on. As I parked the car, and walked the beautiful pathway crammed with people, as it was an unusually sunny day too, I saw at distance this 90% empty tiny beach (or lump of sand), just frozen in situ with a few people walking their dogs and a couple of children doing a sand castle. My heart saddened, as childhood memories of golden warm beaches packed with people (often too many) triggered the critical in me to start moaning on what a waste of time my trip had been so far. My friend who was with me, was even more disappointed than I was, and even when I decided to give the beach a go (see it from inside) I did went on my own like a rejected Don Quixote seeking a sweet delusion.
I must say that my initial disappointment was suddenly past tense, as I walked through the small but clean beach, with fine golden sand, some seashells lying around, and clear calm waters, as if a fragment of a Southern European beach had migrated to these Northern parts and had been forgotten during the latest ice age. I then started taking photos and more photos, perhaps of anything I could see worth taking, and even of objects that would later intrigue my friends to ask: why the hell did you photograph this? I don’t have to have a reason to take photos, I simply take them, and then keep them for later divine purposes…or maybe its my hoarding nature that compulsively convinces me to just take photos of everything around me. Well, that is not always the case, since in this particular situation I felt that the beach had so much to offer in terms of images, and I am now glad that there was not many people around to compromise my photo shoot.
Then afar I saw a lonely lighthouse, as phallic image that reminded me of unforgiving Freudian dogma or that my unresolved childhood conflicts still haunt me to find that certain objects are more appealing to me than others. The lighthouse location was the most intriguing, as standing in the middle of the bayswater with no clear path to reach it, or none that I could see. Perhaps the tide covers it at certain points in the day, and transmutes this monument into a safe haven of solitude for those who work or live there. I see it a place of solitude rather than loneliness, as it is in my nature to find places that I would love to experience some quietness and reflection for a few hours; however, I agree that for those who work/live in that lighthouse the place must be a lonely and secluding experiencing for certain hours of the day, without the opportunity to come for a walk or go somewhere to get some food.
The beach was so quiet, contrasting with the busy promenade just a few yards away; even the seagulls appeared meditating peacefully as if attempting to find some centredness in preparation for the coming stormy and rainy winter. I then saw an interesting red bicycle just parked against the naked wall of an old Fort/castle (called Fort Perch Rock). To me this is an unusual sighting, one that I don’t often see every day and haven’t seen for years, where bikes could just be parked without lock and chain with the assurance that no one would steal it or vandalise it.
Where I live even parked bikes, with lock and chains and all the latest security systems and invigilated by CCTV cameras, still get stolen and vandalised, so seeing this red bike was a refreshing reminder that there are still safe places in the world where people are trusting and human. Once again this journey took me away from my daily introspections, worries, ambitions, and basically from inside my head to the beauty around me. Just because life also happen outside my head too.