I was climbing the path to Steeple Point.
Towards the top, the land falls steeply away, rapidly becoming a cliff face that drops vertically to the rocks below.
With the tide in, these rocks are covered by sea – Atlantic rollers reaching their nemesis on the Cornish coast.
From up here, you watch those big swells roll in.
They build, curl and crash forward in a welter of foam, sparkling in the sunshine. Piling over the back-tow of their predecessors, they waste themselves on the pebble ridge.
There are intricate patterns of foam, constantly changing, highlighting myriad currents and cross-currents.
That morning, there was nobody in sight.
I was enjoying the aloneness. . . the warmth of the sun . . . the smell of salt in the air. . . the sound of waves on rocks.
The sea was still heavy from an earlier gale
There was a slight breeze, I remember.
And then this guy appears below me on a surf board.
The waves were sweeping in from around the Point. He had been hidden out there as I climbed.
So, it wasn’t my sole world after all. There were two of us – the one holding a camera and idly watching, the other intently doing.
It was so totally unexpected. I felt a little shocked – a bit put-out.
Then I felt admiration – what a great ride in such a beautiful place.
And then a change of mood – sudden concern because of what I could see from my vantage point.
A moment of doubt burst into this memorable day.
The concern was all mine, of course.
Whatever I saw, whatever I thought might happen, was way beyond my control.
He didn’t care. He knew what he was doing. He was having a ball.
I could only watch, my concern pointless.
Let him get on with it.
He paddled out to catch another wave. I continued my walk.
Two separate lives enjoying the same space, viewing it through different eyes.