We walked on the beach today, on the lovely sea and the sand and their meeting place at the edge of the air. The air was wild with wind, but gently so. Do you understand? And somewhere along our journey I realised that we were walking in a symphony.
First there was the wind and the waves rolling in at high tide, splashing across our feet in exuberance of the meeting. Withdrawing then and coming again, a mass of sound thundering and hissing and blowing, full of trumpets and drums.
There was a small flock of small birds, sand plovers maybe, flicking into the air (ping! ping!) like quaver notes plucked on a violin, although they made no sound that we could hear above the waves and wind.
The wind at our backs pushed us on, around the curve of beach where the river mouths. The wind swished and twanged and was silent. Where the waves could not reach into the river, the water lapped gently against the sand and it was another movement. Adagio for piano or harp, a calm and gurgling flow.
I was reminded of Elijah waiting for God. And He was not in the windstorm or the earthquake or the fire, but in the sound of a gentle whisper.
We left the water then and headed back through the bush and again the music changed. The sea was there still, but muted behind the bush, a rumbling background noise. The wind reached high up into the trees and blew, but it was a husky sound like a didgeridoo. At times the wind bent down low and swished through the dry grass and a leaf would fall, silently, dropping down at our feet. The crickets did their thing - they were the violins.
Here also the birds were quiet, but not quite. Some flute notes filtered through or maybe a piccolo; far off a storm bird’s clear cooee. I won’t write the crows into this song; they are like someone coughing in the audience, a crass noise drawn across the nerves.
Through the bush we circled back, a discordant sound of drought and crows and geckos geck-geck-gecking in the trees and the wind still blowing over the sea and into the leaves.
Then we stepped out at our starting point and there to end the music – dot, dot, dot – were three brush turkey chicks pecking in one spot…