It’s raining on the beach. Not heavy, just a light mizzle on a spring day to take the edge off what has been a glorious, hot morning. There’s enough blue sky coming up behind it to give hope to the kite-flyers and the sunbathers. Enough blue sky for a sailor to make a pair of trousers, as grandma used to say.
The beach is gravelly. It is strewn about with brick-red rock outcrops which the children climb upon, pretending to be hunters in a mythic jungle. Dark-green seaweed clings to fissures in the rock. Creatures cling to the stone inside their shells, waiting for the tide to turn.
The tiny stones that make up the beach glisten in the light rain. A lot of them are red, but there are shades of grey and white where other strata has eroded and contributed to this localised landscape. A little way along the coast where the river meets the sea there is sand, which is nice, but there is no sea glass there.
Here, in amongst the tiny pebbles there are flashes of bright blue and pale green, small pieces of glass that have been ground and tumbled by the turning tides. I imagine that they were once the shatterings of a bottle, sharp, dangerous and likely to wound. Now they are soft-edged and rounded down.
Where I sit, I can sift the gravel bed and pick out the glass. I put it in a small clear glass jar brought here for this exact purpose. I hold it up to the light. The sun is burning through the pale cloud and the mizzling rain is leaving off.
The sea glass shifts as if in a kaleidoscope, and I think I see the face of someone I used to know.