Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Whatsoever walks in the paths of the Sea

On an autumn day, where cattle grazed, I crossed marshy fields to the beach. Ragged Robin, the summer’s last flowers danced in the breeze. The first skeins of wintering geese honked in the sky.

Beyond the dunes 30 seals were hauled up on the sands, lolling around like so many enormous slugs. More were out at sea impersonating inquisitive black Labradors. I sat. How therapeutic it is to sit with seals! They have the art of being and not doing!

I’d parked at the National Trust’s Horsey Mere car park. There are toilets and a café open every day to the end of October and at week ends through November.

I’d used the permissive footpath that leads off from the other side of the road - if you are at all in doubt ask at the café they’ll direct you! Once on the beach, turn right and you soon come to the seals . A few are there most of the year but they turn up in numbers in September and October.

My way took me back past the pub – refreshments here are recommended - and crossed the main road to the thatched, round- towered church. Sitting in the stillness I found myself wondering about fundamental things with the Psalmist. “What is man?” He asks in Psalm 8 “You give him mastery over the works of your hands; you put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, even the wild beasts of the field, The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.” Global warming and rising sea levels acutely threaten this low lying area as they threatens us all. Before leaving I gave thanks for all I was enjoying that day and for the stewardship of the National Trust, the Horsey Estate, the Buxton family who manage it and for small group of people who maintain the church as a “house of prayer” with open doors.

If you do go to see the seals please don’t stress them by going too close and don’t let dogs off their leads. There’s no bus service to Horsey Mere so if you were going by car could you car share or offer someone a lift?

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