There’s a certain delight in standing on an empty beach in the middle of winter, on a weekday when most people are at work. No matter if the landscape is a palette of greys and the water angry and wild. Charlie likes it too. Seeming not to notice too much of what is going on around him, it makes me smile when I say “Charlie look at the sea!” And he answers “Yep. That’s a cloud portal.” Looking up to where he’s pointing, I see the pale November sun has punched a hole through the carpet of cloud, stretching its weak sunny fingers down to the sea. I smile because he’d already taken a photo in his mind of the beach in all it’s detail as soon as we set foot on the sand, whereas my brain is still lolling around taking it all in. It’s times like these that I feel a very lucky girl.
Charlie and I both have obsessions with wild things of late. Mine is the sea, his is the critters from Sesame Street. Down on Blackpool Beach this past week we’ve been combing for pebbles to paint, driftwood to build with, shells to do maths with and sticks to write in the sand. So much to observe. The colours depending on the weather, the atmospheric changes, the moods, the lifted spirits in watching soaring seagulls against the sun. The glorious feeling in running away from a chasing wave or feeling your feet sink into wet sand. In the background, a wild side. The bars spilling the staggering stags and hens out onto the street, the neon cash loan signs over sagging shop fronts, the strip clubs and arcades all lit up under the blinking canopy of the illuminations. To the forefront another wild side. A tumulus sea on a stormy day, lashing foam and spray and seeing shapes; choppy triangles, circling waves, flat, grey, glassy surfaces. The sea a symphony for the senses. We’ve been looking at Ran Ortner’s paintings for some inspiration and escapism. Breathtaking. Windswept. Windswept is the shore….to steal some words from Bryan Ferry.
And then back at home in the warm to Charlie’s wild things. Cookie Monster and The Count, he rounds up the rest of the gang from Sesame Street for pretend school and calls the monster register. I say “Do you think you’re ready for school at school Charlie?” And the reply “No no, better I think I should have school at home.” And I don’t blame him. This intelligent little person who shrinks inside when strangers hear that his words don’t come out right. Today he said to me “Sounds like I need a haircut.” Autism. The verbal equivalent of dyslexia.
Sometimes we end the day with a film. Lying in bed last night watching Cool Hand Luke the irony strikes me that one of the most famous lines from the film is “What we have ourselves here is a failure to communicate.” Cool Hand Luke in chains. Charlie wearing his invisible chains. Charlie turns to me, every inch as handsome as Paul Newman with an even bigger smile and says “He’s but I think a bit silly eating 50 eggs.” I smile and nod my head. Yes I am a very lucky girl. And like the tide my worries ebb away for a while.