This is the beach at Aldeburgh on the East Suffolk coast.
That’s the North Sea on the right of the picture. Way off in the centre of the picture beneath the cotton wool clouds is the gleaming dome of Sizewell Power Station.
A long row of higgledy-piggledy pastel-coloured houses stand guard against wind and rain.
Between the houses and the shingle beach you can stand on a low wall and look out to sea. From there the chance to observe something very special. On a clear day like today, the beach is tidy, and the ridges between the wall and the tide deceptive. The sea appears flat and calm, a precise line separating the water from the sky.
The calmer that sea is, the more distinct any vessel chuntering along the horizon appears.
Aldeburgh is my spiritual home. It’s where I come to recharge. It doesn’t take long either. And on a bright sunny day like today my mind is catapulted into an entirely different space.
A view that commands attention. Simple but rewarding. Seemingly uninteresting, yet fascinating.
Today I wonder whether a bit of the joy I feel every time I visit the town is me being a sentimental fool, submitting to dangerous pull of rose-tinted memories and heady nostalgia.
So I sit and think.
And when I do, I realise that I’m not recalling anything of the past. I’m not in that moment remembering any of the people I worked with here, nor the lunches we had on this beach. I recall that period of time was rather tough – there wasn’t really that much opportunity for larking about.
No, I’m not recalling the past when I sit looking out to sea. I’m here in the now.
And the thing is that the beauty you see, feel, and smell in places like this is so overwhelming that it really shouldn’t surprise you if like me you experience a modest, middle-aged middle class kind of emotional outburst. You know, private and contained. A bit of snivelling. That kind of thing.
For a few seconds I’ve absolutely no idea why I’m doing what I’m doing. There isn’t sadness. It’s not regret. It’s not a ‘bad’ feeling. It’s just an unexpected up-swell of emotion.
A remarkable thing. A special thing. Something that makes you feel alive. Nature’s cures for the the world’s daily ills.
Aldeburgh seafront is real-life equivalent of a daily meditation, specifically that moment when you let go of your focus and unrestrained thoughts drift through your head.
Find your Aldeburgh seafront. Report back when you can.