I Sit and Notice


Blood red octagons, or are they hexagons? As soon as the thought springs to mind ‘they’ become squares – lots of them, countless squares!  I give up.  Let it go.  The image returns to pulsating hues of red, orange and mauve – doubling multiplying like cells.

My mind flicks to other senses.  I become intensely aware of the sounds around me.  Waves are gently breaking on the pebble beach, every now and then the Big Wave crashes in.  I find myself waiting, trying to predict the moment the Big Wave hits the beach, but the time between them is irregular and eventually I relax back to just acknowledging it’s arrival.  The sound of the sea is always present; day or night I can always hear it.  It’s the background track to my life here and I love it – it reminds me constantly that the world is not man made.

The rhythmic surge of the sea is now distrupted by the buzzing of a bee.  Weaving it’s drunken way from one Osteospermum to another.  Sometimes settling for more than a second on one flower to strip it of it’s pollen before lumbering on to another.  Buzzing grumpily as it goes.  Make way, make way for me, I’m a busy bumblebee!

The creaking of metal interrupts my thoughts – the temperature of the huge vans is beginning to lower.  To me these sounds are a form of communication from the vans to us, the humans that inhabit them.  A warning to come inside, a warning the day is drawing to a close.  I ignore the warning – for now.

It is 5:35pm and now I hear the faint, but constant drone of rush hour traffic, as it winds it way along the coastal road.  Seagulls are also making themselves heard, over and above the drone, as they move to their evening roosting spots – stopping off to snatch a snack.  Most of the day they are quiet, just occasionally ‘gulling’ a warning to other seagulls in the area that food is about.  Sitting here, eyes closed, I may catch the sound of one gliding by, if it swoops low enough for me to hear the air cutting through it’s wing-feathers or if it elegantly flaps it’s wings to effortlessly climb up and over a caravan roof.  Of course, when I’m inside and a seagull lands on my van roof with a thud, all elegance is gone.  On go the hobnail boots and the rolling stomping gate thunders up and down the length of the van.  I do like them though.  I know many people don’t – considering them a noisy, messy nuisance – but I think they are both regal and comical in equal measures.

A different bird calls out incessantly, but this is interrupted by the harsh sound of plastic coming into contact with plastic – an ugly sound – next-door are back.  I open my eyes and look down, waiting for my eyesight to adjust.  Dull black and white images become infused with colour once again.  All around me I now hear human voices, human movement, cutlery and crockery chinking and wafting over me the faint whiff of food cooking.

Glancing to my right I catch sight of the small Buddha figure that’s become almost hidden in my little ‘bit of garden’, which is in front of my van.   I like my secret companion.  I like the fact that it is a secret.  Of course should anyone walk right up to my ‘bit of garden’ all would be revealed, but hardly anyone does.

Why the secret?  Hmmm, a good question.  I like the private reminder to stay peaceful and calm.  It’s a link to a period of my life, when I was reading a lot, searching for answers – something to make sense of what had gone on before.  I also like to have something to sit with, although I love the peace of being alone.

Shifting uncomfortably to relieve the numbness, I realise it is indeed time to move, to answer the creaking call of the vans.  I pack away my journal, sketchpad and pencil case into my small rucksack I keep just for sitting in my little ‘bit of garden’.  Then rearranging the sarong – I use either to protect myself from the rays of the sun or (folded) to lean on while I write – I turn and pick up my half drunk mug of latte.  A daily treat – my guilty pleasure.  I stand up and I’m no longer noticing my world.

How strange we call all of this Peace and Quiet.  How strange to feel isolated but to actually be a part of this swirling soup of senses.