Here comes the Sun

I ignored my wife’s advice and walked barefoot along the black volcanic sand.  I reacted to her shouted warnings with a feeble rendition of the Highland fling, dancing towards breaking waves. 

The water was cold, but refreshing and provided instant relief for my burning feet.  I paddled around the water’s edge to enhance the cooling process for my size nine’s. I moved towards familiar bathers – slow progress determined by the initial change in my body temperature.   It took a few minutes to adjust.  I acclimatised quickly and swam in different directions for about ten minutes before resting.  I eagerly awaited the arrival of approaching waves.  The water touched my chest. I dived into descending waves, the surf embracing my face; planting a tender kiss.  I captured this moment in order to relive it over and over again – my own private summer, for winter evenings, to erase roaring wind and rain.

I felt ‘high’ as the fix from the sun surrendered my body to the blazing heat.  I swam to the edge of a cove tucked away behind protruding rocks. The water was clear and shoals of fish swam erratically under my legs.  I tried to capture some of these fine creatures, but they bolted in all directions – Schumacher-style.

I returned to the beach and drank a bottle of water before I spat out the warm contents.  The liquid failed to quench my thirst or counteract the bitter taste of sea salt.  I silently observed every inch of visible coastline watching the waves tease the brittle sand.  Distant speedboats swayed in unison with the rhythm of the sea. Clusters of people populated the beach: everyone appeared happy; young children made sandcastles and played games.

I faced the ocean again and a gentle breeze tickled beads of sweat sliding slowly down my burning face.  After several short bouts of sunbathing I acquiesced to the call of the sea and plunged back into the magnetic ocean.   I swam underwater, making another feeble attempt to capture fish, but to no avail.  I decided to lie on my back with both arms outstretched.  I enjoyed the ‘dead man’s float’ and allowed the waves to rock me to and fro, in no particular direction.

I felt great: safe and free, worlds away from the realities of modern life.  I knew this escapism was limited.  After twenty minutes floating in the Mediterranean Sea, I reluctantly vacated my new haven.  I repeated this water-based escapism two to three times during daily beach visits.  This is the medicine doctors should order, but like hospital beds is unavailable on the NHS.

Each time I returned to my beach towel I tried in vain to sit it out, but after ten to fifteen minutes I returned to the dancing waves.  We returned to our hotel, happy, relaxed and famished.  Our multi-coloured bodies were caked in sand.  Lukewarm showers and scented soaps provided a counter attack to replenish our skin.

The evening concluded with local cuisine and soft Spanish wine.

This routine was followed each day in between sightseeing tours and shopping trips. 

It was pleasantly addictive; a much-needed ‘tonic for the troops’.

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