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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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Local Author, Matt Jacobson reflects on a trip to the beach

“The dream becomes sand in my hands”  

It was a day when there was no air to spare and there was no intention to stay indoors.  As soon as the day broke, I knew I wanted something from somewhere as the day was inviting and I was invited to join in and to play a part. The night before I had found photographs of the past – many of little me by the sea. It brought back memories of yesteryear and left me contemplating the years that have passed since that little boy looked into the camera and beyond into the unknown.

Matt Jacobson – Photograph by Matthew’s Mum – Margaret Jacobson. X RIP X 

The little me loved the beach – it was magical and vibrant. A playground of fun, creativity and opportunity with a soft gentle landing for the boy; with footballs, forward rolls and my little hands forever in the picnic bag full of cheese rolls. This part of the earth is cushioned and comforts the soul as the soles of the feet gently tuck themselves into the sunbaked, sparkling sand. A lifetime away from the concrete sapping streets that are hard, jagged and tough to navigate. 

As I grew older my visits to the beach reduced. These trips were usually under a blazing sun and as I am not a fan of the blazing sun, it made the trips awkward, agitated and uncomfortable. Huffing and puffing throughout the day; squinting behind cheap sunglasses that spent the day sliding down the face due a bucket full of sun lotion which didn’t work… I always felt these painful attributes stood out amongst the confident beach bathers, with their unprecedented passion for fun and freedom, as I ran for the confinements of a patch of shade. Confidence dipped as quickly as the groups that flipped and dipped into the sea. 

But it wasn’t always a wasted and a washed-up trip. During the later sporadic visits to the beach, I always took time to stand at the water’s edge and look across earth’s swimming pool. I always felt like it was just me and nature and, for some reason, I felt part of the fabric and patterns of the world. So, as today’s heat was unbearable, I chose to head to the coastline for a walk and to see if the past recognised me and if I recognised it, but this time without the cheese rolls.  

As I got closer to my destination, the surrounding buildings and houses stood tall and protected all. And then, as the beach approached, I felt their shoulders lean back and stand aside as the sand and the water welcomed and greeted me into their very own gracious world. The tick and tock of house clocks was replaced with the crash and splash of waves. 

The beach was a hive of activity – with adults and children walking and playing, and the heartwarming noise of family laughter exploding into the air. Walkers took their beloved dogs to the beach and the dogs were as excited as anyone. They chased, they raced, they retrieved, they dashed, and they splashed – they were just living their life, happy in the moment. The beach was a walkers’ path, a joggers’ track; and overall, it took me right back. The breeze began to build up and clouds gathered and the sun joined in the fun by playing hide and seek as the day began to fade. I took my place at the edge of the water and looked ahead.  

Matt Jacobson – Photograph by Michelle Marshall

All I could see was water in front of me – no ships, no boats, just a blanket of blue water. The noise of the water moving across the beach was played by an orchestra of promise, desire and emotion. It was calm and considered, poetic and deliberate. The view was spectacular, and I sought something from Mother nature. I asked questions, but I asked more of myself.  

As I stood still, I realised that I am my own memorabilia – I am my very own lifetime souvenir of the years that have passed. The moment captured me and everything around me was no more. Time stood still and for this moment, time bravely blocked newly born seconds and minutes. It really was just me and the sea. And, as the waves headed towards me, I noticed the waves performing spoken words to me and about me:       

Wave one,

is just for you 

Wave two,

They may have gone, Matthew  

Wave three, 

but they closed their eyes 

Wave four,

and pictured you 

Wave five, 

there’s always a calm before the storm 

Wave six, 

there’s always a shipwreck that remains torn, 

Wave seven,

there’s a life we will always mourn 

Wave eight,

be brave and do hold tight 

Wave nine,

as the brush of doubt likes to fight

Wave ten, 

but within waves, there’s always a sign, 

That waves soon go quiet, 

and all is fine

The moment was then broken, and I was back on the beach with a fresh breeze circling me and my thoughts. But the moment then lay heavy in the mind as the soft and light sand brought me back to my surroundings. Seagulls flew in and around the edge of the water and I watched them take items out of a nearby litter bin and fly away. One seagull gulped grub from a Greggs bag and another seagull snatched snacks from a Sayers bag – it was the ultimate seagull bake off. They flew with a fierce flying foxtrot to their families; one seagull flew out of sight and one sat on a punctured bicycle that was tied to a railing. 

Matt Jacobson – Photograph by Michelle Marshall

But the day wasn’t over and as I walked away from the beach, I looked back at the water’s edge and a flashback kicked back and ransacked the mind. I remembered a friend’s supportive advice on holiday during an afternoon walk down by a lake. My friend advised the following: think of four problems – skim a pebble across the water so it lands four times; each time the pebble bounces off the water, one by one those problems will be softened as the earth’s spirit will soften the blow. I thought, well, why not try now? I’ve tried everything else, and it sounded like a beautiful and hopeful proposition. 

With eager hands, I dissected the sand and found the perfect pebble. I found four perfect problems from the mind’s filing cabinet and then found the perfect spot to skim across the tempting tide. I threw the pebble perfectly and it skimmed with a natural, nautical dedication. I watched it skim across the water, but ………………it only bounced twice and disappeared to the seabed. 

Oh, to be a seagull,  oh, to be a punctured bicycle. 

With Love and Peace,

Matthew Jacobson

Explore Liverpool

READ MORE: Local Author, Matt Jacobson reflects on a walk to Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter

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