Pebble Music

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Cley Beach: late afternoon in winter. At the end of a bright, clear day the sun sits very low on the horizon casting a low, slanting light horizontally across the land. It lights up the feathery reed tips on the marsh edge but the slanting beach is shaded as the golden light tops the shingle bank. Down by the sea, stones and pebbles are slicked by the ebbing tide and glisten in the dim light. On the exposed beach they are smoothed and rounded by wave action and are all shades of brown, grey and white. I notice a white quartz pebble. Tiny, like a child’s milk-tooth, it sings out to me, a small glowing object that stands out in the shadowy light. I pick it up – it is evenly rounded, translucent and pure. Further up the beach I notice another. It is bigger, an uneven bean-shape but just as white. I pick that up as well. I walk eyes down; small white pebbles jump out at me and draw me across the beach in a wandering zig-zag. I repeatedly notice and pick up white pebbles, following the melody laid out beneath my feet. By the time I reach the path to take me back across the marsh my pockets are full of music.

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