It’s early evening in mid-April and the sun is still shining from a cold blue sky over the crookedshore. There’s an icy wind blowing from the north-west and it barely pauses to cut through the layers I wear in a vain effort to stay warm. But Tobey barely notices it and he runs in and out of the water with scarcely an acknowledgment to temperature.
At the end of the beach we join the path which leads through the gate onto the scrubland beyond. I look ahead and spot two oily black crows standing like sinister sentinels, one atop the stone wall, the other in the grass beside the way. They call to each other as if preparing some trap for me, and I smile as the one on the wall in a curious flying-hop motion stays several paces in front as I walk.
Here now, the signs of spring are more evident. The gorse bushes are in full bloom with the yellow of summer. I walk amidst canyon walls of scrub, taller than my head, between which the air tastes of caramel and almond.
In this enclosed space the dog stays only paces from me, yet he barely lifts his muzzle from the ground. It’s like we’re invisibly attached by some psychic leash and every so often he stops, raises his head and looks back for me. When I stop to take in the view around me, or taste of the scent in the air, he seems to sense it. Or maybe he hears the lack of sound, the absence of the kal-lumph of my feet on the hard packed clay, or the insistent scratch of hedgerow on my coat.
When we turn for home again, the car park is a mile or so ahead and the windows of red brick homes glint in the retiring sun. The beach is decorated in the brightly coloured coats of distant evening dog-walkers and their darting companions.
After a day of decision-making, and milestones and the clamour of business and homework and family table, it’s healthy to take this turn to the quiet side of my nature as the seasons turn and turn again.