Seaweed and Seaswimming, September 2020
Reflections by Lucy Carr-Locke
After the last few months of lockdown, as for so many people, I was in need of some time for myself – with my boys now in school, and whilst on furlough (how our language has changed – ‘lockdown’, ‘furlough’…) from my very much-loved but soon-to-be gone job, now was my chance.
Greeted by Anna and Judith in the carpark at Yellowgraig Beach, with a cocktail of elderberry wine, elderflower cordial, and nettle champagne, we set off on our foraging walk with a glow.
Ten steps and we stop to sample Alexanders seeds – strong and quite peppery in flavour, delicious in bread, apparently. A few more steps, Hogweed. A few more steps, Elderberry….and so on, and on. I feel ashamed to say I really had no idea – there is food everywhere! Harebells – taste very like pea shoots. Wild thyme, right there under our feet – lovely sprinkled on salads. Seabuckthorn – juice the berries and its an excellent source of Vitamin C. Then there are the Fungi, and the seaweed, which we got to sample as we wolfed them down in the amazing lunch Judith had made for us.
How has this happened? How have I/we become so disconnected from the land/life/sea that surround us?
Over this last summer I have spent so much time outdoors, and the more I do, the more I feel the need to be out – I am so ignorant of the world and feel driven to notice things, to work out how to connect back in.
After lunch, the sea swimming.
I had been in the sea a couple of times whilst on holiday on the west coast back in August, so I felt fairly confident I could do it.
Anna pointed out that there is a three month lag between air temperature and sea temperature, so September is the warmest the sea will have been all year. I can do this!
Tingling, numbness (get my hands in and it helps), shock (but in a good way). Tired after (but in a good way). And later, at home, a sense of reset. Calmer.
We had a silent walk along the beach after the sea swim.
I found it hard to stop my mind from racing – redundancy – what will I do?; I must come sea swimming with my sister; excited, almost elated to be outside.…
But what helped is that I had remained barefoot – the different textures underfoot felt good, and across the dune meadow it was surprisingly springy.
Then, the noise of the rain on the leaves in the woods at the end as we stopped and had a catch up together as a group.
I left craving more.
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