We’ve had a terrible Saturday night of rain, lots of sodden gardens and flooded fields. It’s nippy too with a cutting wind. Nevertheless the dog needs exercise so Christopher and I wrap up and go to the beach at Groomsport. Twenty minutes in, we have adjusted to the low temperature and I’m as contented as can be. My son is playing further up the beach, digging in the sand, clambering over rocks and discovering all sorts of tidal wildlife. The dog is thrilled to be outside and will chase the stick out into the retreating tide as often and as far as I can throw it.

I stand there, isolated on the strand, taking in my swimming dog and my playing child in a single view and I am happy.

Christopher calls me to the rocks while the dog is on his way out. I make my way over to him and together we marvel at the soft-skinned scarlet anemone clinging to a rock above the tide line. In a mission of mercy we carry the rock to the nearest pool and immerse it again.

Meanwhile the dog has reached the stick, his tail flicks in the air as he turns for home, restoring balance again, and on he comes, snorting every now and then as the water rushes into his mouth. The long stick protrudes either side of his mouth like an extended smile as he body surfs the waves.

Simple Sabbath graces

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