Wellies are dragged off, after the climb over barnacled rocks.
One day, this beachcomber thinks, that hunched cliff will stick out legs, the cave mouth will shut, the land will swim into the ocean.
Bare feet slip into sand, that finely ground metaphor for time. Dogs run and surfers sing, sliding down rock slopes, hopping over stones, splashing happy to the cool clean barrels.
Little Grandson gets strong by eating cabbage. His baby brother waves a Yorkshire pudding, yells triumphant. He has cheeks like a moon, like Old Gilbert, theres a photo of Gilbert smiling I remember: the same moon beam from both faces. In the highchair Baby Girl twirls broccoli in her curls. Out of the highchair she not only walks but marches and spins and performs a most graceful collapse-in-angst. She is drawn to Great-Granma’s pearls. Spectacles have the same enticement of shine but one is told no, again! Baby Boy shoots past in his walker. Pee-yow! He has a bump from a trike disaster and a big big laugh.
Little Grandson explains to Grandad how to tuck in a shirt.
‘You stand on a chair,’ he says, ‘and do it slowly. That what Daddy told me.’
Grandad nods. We admire the boy’s shoes. He shoulders the back pack with the apple and the water bottle and the book bag and his drawing of Jack and Jill tumbling down the hill. Mummy and Granma and Grandad and Baby Boy and Fat Beagle and Dog all walk to school with him. He strides into the playground. ‘This is my friend,’ he introduces and the bag is handed to Grandad’s feet and he is running with his friend. There’s a pack of them, smiley boys in the sunshine, running and inventing the game as it happens.
When they line up he knows where to put his apple and his water bottle. He sits on the carpet looking at a book.
Wet clothes are slopped onto a rock, after the river swim, after the hot run over the cut fields. Sunlight scatters through cloud like a blown kiss.
I don’t know what will happen, this wild swimmer thinks, but I see what I have.