The Intimate Sea

The Goat and the Maiden

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“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
― Isaac Newton

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When I was a child, during the Summer months, I would occasionally take my parents to the seaside for an adventure. There was so much to explore, to see and do. Such plenty to take in. The eye could wander very far, further than the body, but there was still lots for the body to enjoy even if it could not travel as far as the eyes. It could experience the rub of sand, the roughness of rocks, the salty embrace of water, the vitality of breezes, the slow cooking of the Sun and the deeply relaxing laziness of a day well spent.

Sometimes my parents would get tired, cranky, and would want to just sit under a sunshade nibbling fresh seafood fare to satisfy the hunger which the seaside inspires. Yet as satisfying as the nourishment might be, it always ran out and then they would be bored. So a game was devised for those too tired to wander, who could not swim on a full stomach, but who needed to be entertained, which simply involved painting pictures on rocks.

Of course if the beach was all sand and no rocks, then other games had to be invented. However even sandy beaches are generous with their treasures of play for bored adults. Seashells made quite intriguing canvases too, as did the sand itself though of a different sort.

Last year on a trip to a local beach many miles away from the beaches of my childhood, while wandering hither and thither snapping away randomly with my camera whose first visit to the sea this was, I came across a rock in the sand which looked as though it had been painted.

Had someone somewhere created art upon a rock and then left it for someone somewhere else to find? Had the sea carried this intimate portrait from coast to coast? Or was this a creative creation of nature?

It looks like a maiden petting a goat to me. Is the goat a seagoat with its swirling fish tail?

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The Goat and the Maiden - 2