How many places feel like the edge of the world? I think I’ve been to some. I’ve walked along the lunar landscape of Mount Etna in Sicily. The myths say that Hades opened a door to the underworld in the volcano’s slopes, and dragged Persephone down into the darkness. I’ve been to Jackson Bay on the west coast of New Zealand. You drive for hours and barely see a soul, and when you get there there’s a pier and a little shack that sells seafood. It’s beautiful but it’s empty, and then you have the long drive back.
Druidstone is one of those edge of the world places. But the beach is called a haven, and so it is when the tide is out and the sun glimmers on the sand. We walked over the dewy flats with the horses, and the unfinished hem of the sea rolled in and out to meet the land and say goodbye and meet it again. Clambering over sharp rocks, made treacherous by slippery laver seaweed, we found rock pools full of treasures. A crab hiding from the light; a sea snail with a twisted shell. In the sea cave the water fell from the roof and our voices sang round the rocks.
At night we huddle in the cottage and feed the wood burner. A black cat visits us and sits on the rug in the kitchen, two yellow eyes beaming from its midnight fur. Each morning gifts us clear skies. I walk onto the wooden slats on the porch and the wind whips at me. In the pond that overflows into a waterfall down the cliff I discover ornate towers of water lilies I have never seen before. The haven is a crescent and changes colour as easily as the surface of the sea, though it knows itself better than you or I will ever know ourselves.