Coverack remains one of my most frequent haunts on the Lizard. Here the sea is so often soft and silent and perfectly flat; foamy and frothy and unfolding in a way that stretches you straight out to the horizon fingertips first. Here the light feels purposed for photography. There’s an airy opalescence to it, as though the sun here is but a pearl in a clam, tinged with pinks and powdery blues. Here tide and time are unhurried; gulls glide on the wind and fishermen come and go – to and fro – with the rolling waves. And even in the height of summer, the shoreline here is still more sand and shell, than bucket and spade; a quality (that as a Lizard local) I find to be invaluable.
Last week I spent several hours here with Sarah. Paddling in the shallow harbour waters and treading that familiar path to Chynalls Point. We took photos and we talked and I’ll be honest with you, this is how I do relationships. I’m no good with small talk or networking and niceties. I simply want to do life over coffee – just you and me – no topic forbidden from the table because I know you have something to teach me. When it comes to that funny social aspect of being, I just want to go deep down into the roots of life. I what to know you and to know life better because I knew you.
Later that night we headed out to a gig in a little local pub. Sitting in smoky candlelight, drinking lemonade (as you do when you live in the sticks and have to drive everywhere) Sarah leant in and asked me “what was it that first attracted you to Matt?” We’d been talking about mutual friends and relationships and setting said mutuals friends up in aforementioned relationships. And I knew she asked because on the surface Matt and I are very different people.; two individuals you wouldn’t necessarily think to match together. Sitting in the dark (and starting to wish we were on a beach with a bonfire) Sarah asked how I came to be engaged to him. How did I fall in love with someone who’s so not my “type” or so (to all appearances) not right for me? And so I told her, that despite my initial anxieties (of which there were a lot because I am fastidious and critical and a keen idealist) Matt gently pried my clam-soul open, poured in something sacred and redefined my concept of what it was to love someone.
Before Matt the love I knew started with a bang and steadily fizzled out. There was always a lot of attraction and fireworks and chemistry and “feelings”. But that had all perished surprisingly swiftly. Whereas with Matt, our relationship started magically, but slowly. In the middle of the night, in the dead of winter; it all came softly and with little sound. And with time and a lot of talking and a lot of tenderness, our lives were woven together into something stronger and more sublime than any kind of love I’d known before. Because as it turns out love is more like something we make with our hands, than something we dig up from the ground; more created than found; more worked for and tended to, than predetermined or meant to be.
Love is like fresh bread made new every morning. Like an ocean inside of you, it’s what flows forth, lapping up over the shore again and again. It’s what you give. That’s it. Unlike attachment or infatuation or lust or crushes (or whatever word you attribute to such feelings) love is not based in fear and dependency; finding worth in another and compensating for a lack of self-love. These feelings and states of being, have more to do with what one get’s, than what one gives; more to do with affection for oneself than another. Whereas love – real, gritty, raw, not-based-on-my-emotions-right-now love – isn’t about what others can give you because you’re empty; it’s what overflows to others because you’re already full.