Fata Morgana

A windy walk down to Spitend is the perfect remedy for blowing away your worries.

It is blowing a gale but it is what I need, to stomp across Elmley on a day of sunshine and searing wind. I need to walk it out of my system. To march with my flask down to Spitend.

The lapwing are enjoying the wind, the gain and loss of control. They beat into it, then flip onto their sides to go sailing past, back the way they have come, gliding down the currents on a looping fairground ride.

Inky water shivers in the reels. Down in the Weetabix strands, at the base of the reedbed, there must be calm, there the reed buntings are hiding, while above the day is wild.

I pass a peregrine kill, a lapwing. One long leg torn from the body, its reptilian, scaled toes curled around in repose. The body, lays on its back, head gone, breast gone. The remaining leg held open, indecently splayed, thigh picked clean, only the angel wings remaining.

I settle down on the sea wall. The light is intense, cast back against the flatness to sear the eye. A flock of curlew pipe overhead, kicked off the Swale by the rising tide.

Spitend is a blob in the distance. It draws you on with its promise of shelter. A fata morgana, which makes you forget the journey back.

I push on.

Coots skidder across the surface of water, their feet spladdering out a drumbeat. A house martin careers across my path having made it from Africa. The grass sings with meadow pipits, birds freefall through the air, spinning sideways, cast by the wind like pendulum lead.

A short eared owl spins out of the grass at my feet and tumbles testily across the land to be mobbed by lapwings, it’s repose over.

It is 3.00pm by the time I reach Spitend. The wind batters the hut but inside is sanctuary. My concerns of the morning have been whipped away with the wind, to fly like soot dust down the Swale. The sun has seared into me a self-knowing. The vast lens of the sky over Elmley has put the world back into focus.