This morning we woke up to thick mist and very thick ice. There had been hail in the night and it had frozen hard, so the pavements and road were like glass and it took half an hour to de-ice the car (I sat inside listening to three chapters of my audio book while we waited). It was a hair raising journey to the beach, especially when, halfway up a steep hill the car travelled sideways and the wheels spun. Remembering the mantras of my police training I went through the list; low, light, gentle. Low revs, light braking, gentle steering, take control. No panic. Easy. But it wasn’t at all easy and by the time I got to the beach my jaw was fused, my heart was racing and some nagging inner voice was shouting at me “Are you a total bleedin’ idiot, woman?” The answer was “Yes”.

The beach was, of course, completely abandoned because I was the only fool rash enough to drive on sheets of ice (no choice – I have no garden and the dogs need to get out). But listen, it was lovely. It was! Misty, cold as hell on a very cold hellish cold day, and silent and magical. And cold. Did I say that?

Percy loved it. “At last” he seemed to say as he strutted up to the dunes and trotted through the waves, “My very own private beach.”

We walked and walked, soaking up the mystery and the peace.

Then Percy stood stock still, listening. If he had been a pointer he couldn’t have been clearer – something was out there in the waves. Where? On the sea or in the shallows? I couldn’t see or hear anything at all but he stood there, quivering. And then Pico did the same. I stood still, straining to hear, and then through the waves of fog, I caught a brief glimpse of a light, and then it was gone. A strange white light reflected on the wall of fog. Had I imagined it? Now the magic was becoming just a tiny bit worrying. The waves seemed slow and heavy, barely whispering. There’s a dead sheep on the water line and it’s been there for weeks, moving up and down with the tide, only its rib cage and one strangely red hoof still recognisable, in a tangle of grey sinew. It all felt gothic and unsettling. I became aware that if someone was walking towards us, we wouldn’t see them until they were right there, on top of us. But no one else was down there, were they? Well, I didn’t think so, but I was becoming less certain with every passing breath. And now, wouldn’t you know, Percy began to growl. To growl! I think it’s what they call be being spooked and I was right there with him.

And then I heard it, the steady chug of an engine. A murmur of voices in the grey. I think it was probably Len, the fisherman, returning from a night’s work. I still couldn’t see the boat, but the sound of the engine was familiar and – in that moment – it was melodic and sweet.

Percy was still there, muscles quivering, staring into nothingness. So I started to sing. I bet you think it was a hymn, don’t you? Well, it wasn’t. It was the first thing that came into my head – River Deep, Mountain High by Ike and Tina Turner. Remember it? Fantastic song! And it did the trick, broke the spell, and when we turned around the mist was lifting.

So, it’s been a strange day. The mist has lingered, fading and then returning, and the atmosphere has been subdued. For all the world as if the mist was a garment of mourning. Strange silent day. And then… listen…. I heard that during the night two people died in a house fire, just down the road, in the middle of the village, so maybe that’s exactly what the mist is, a shroud of sadness.

The day has reminded me just how vulnerable we are, how fragile life is, how powerless we are, how we stride from one day to the next not understanding that all this can change in a heart beat, in a missed heart beat, and that we are not the masters of our world.

But we know who is. This morning, when I got back to the car I read today’s Psalm, sitting in that deserted car park, cloaked in the mist:

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

Please pray for all those who knew the people who died, for the emergency workers, and everyone involved.

One thought on “Mist

  1. Luce I am so sorry to read of this tragic fire. May its victims rest in eternal peace. Prayers for their loved ones and the village as you all come to terms with it. Love and prayers xxxx

    Sent from my iPhone


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