Wandering along the seashore I spotted the pebble glistening in the tidepool, calling to me, urging me to pick it up and enjoy it’s smoothness. I have a penchant for finding heart shaped rocks and this was no exception. Sitting on the sand watching Max (my Great Dane) running in and out of the surf I turned the stone over and over in my palm. Feeling it’s cool hard surface warm up and take on my energy. Beachcombing, for me, is a way to immerse myself in the here and now. To forget all the stresses of the day and to quieten my mind from all of the rushing thoughts and questions that it throws at me constantly. I have made some of my most important decisions sitting on a beach surrounded by my days gatherings. That heart helped me to make a decision that, sadly, I now recognise as being a mistake but still I’ve come a long way since making that decision and still I have new roads to travel and new decisions to make.
Normally I would cart my finds home with me and place them into a box waiting for their fate. As I meandered my way along the beach I spied a little nook of rocks where daisies were growing. Inspired by the daisies and the lichen covered boulder I placed the heart in amongst them and started to snap photos. The heart seemed so at home there among the weeds and moss, reflecting how I felt at that moment in time, that I felt obliged to leave it and with that I took some photos to remind me of the rock and the feelings that it evoked that day. I have a box full of driftwood and a jar full of shells all waiting to be used in one creative way or another but to this day I have never been able to create something as beautiful or thought provoking (for me) as that photo of the heart.
I live in landlocked Austria now but I found myself a very small beach by the river. The beachcombing is nowhere near as wonderful as in Wales but I still manage to ponder life and make decisions. Lets hope that the decisions I need to make over the coming days and weeks are far more reasoned than that snap decision in that snapped photograph. Still whatever decision I do make I will live with it (right or wrong) because it will take me down a new path to new adventures.
Standing on platform 5 at 9pm in the freezing night air with nothing but a dim lamp and the smell of urine emanating from the shelter, that I refuse to huddle into, has become my weekly routine. How has my life come to this? I used to have a wonderful home all of my own, two dogs and a parrot that amused and loved me in equal measure. A job that I liked and a group of friends to call on to invite for dinner at the drop of a hat.
Now, here I am standing on platform 5 for the 10th week in a row. My spirits are low. An empty packet of opal fruits blows along the platform and reminds me of how hungry I am. I still have an hour to travel before I reach my destination and can finally stop to eat whatever food my friend will provide for me as she does every Friday. If it wasn’t for her kindness and generosity I wonder what would have happened to me.
I stamp and shuffle my feet to keep them from freezing and pull my collar up in an attempt to shut out the wind. I feel the tears rolling down my cheek but I am beyond caring enough to stem the flow. The homelesness and travel are beginning to take their toll. The tannoy on the platform crackles as the announcer prepares to break the news of a 30 minute delay, I am ready for the announcement, it is yet another weekly occurence that I have become resigned to.
I ponder my life and think about how I arrived here on platform 5. I used to spend Friday nights all wrapped up and cosy in front of the fire. Watching some kind of rubbish on tv and sipping a glass of red. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I had given it all up to follow my heart and now, three years on and two moves later I was standing here wishing that my I had listened to my head instead of my heart. Still I must keep moving forward.
A train pulls into the platform weary travellers spilling out as the doors open and more people begin to join me on the platform waiting for their connections. I spot the girl with the shocking pink hair. We nod to each other. I wonder what her story is. Why is she always on this platform and where is she heading to.
My train rumbles into the end of the platform. People rush to the edge and I watch as they jostle and nudge each other to ensure that they get a seat. Wearily I pick up my suitcase and oversized bag filled with laptop, notebooks and work paraphanalia as the train pulls to a standstill. The doors open and, as always, a few people alight. The crowd that have gathered rush onto the carriages looking for seats and chattering to their companions. I climb up and plonk myself into the first available seat followed quickly by the girl with the pink hair. We smile and nod to each other. She is beautiful in an eccentric kind of fashion. I settle back into my seat, put in my headphones and close my eyes. Despite the sadness that sits with me I am grateful for that little piece of familairity and sense of belonging that the girl with the pink hair brings to me.