As I stepped out into the mist on those harbour walls at Bude,I felt sure I spied a mermaid,nestled in the rocks beyond the spit.But my imagination had,in previous visits,been vivid,lucid to the point of annoyance to those in my party,so my reticence seemed to annoy her.
“Did you see her”,I bellowed to them on that trip to the Atlantic,and they all said ,”Your crazy,there’s nothing’s no there,yu spent too much time dreaming and listening to music and now your gone crazy,your maze you are”,that was said by Tommy Hawken,but it could have been said by Pete,Rob,or Mike,they all had that one impression,I was a dreamer.Now,on this occasion,I looked up into the sea,as the Atlantic roared ,as the white foam engulfed my dogs as it rushed in.You change,you see,when you visit there,when you accept that you can approach the sea there without any visible clues because the mist descends into the sight lines ,obscuring us ,or our visible ,objective clues.So,when the mist descends on the Hrbour,artistic types get their already overactive imaginations fuelled wth legend and mermaids and sea monsters and a whole treasure chest of wrecks that come to life once again.
As the dogs barked at the waves,they roared back at them,as if to say,”hold your fire little guys,and get back into your kennels or you will regret those barks .”Never had I seen the sea so mystical as on that day,and she beckoned me to come forward .At first,I hesitated,then as if you i d received an injection of courage,and I moved forward to try to get a closer look.As I did,I tethered the dogs to the bench at the base of the observation Tower-they happily stayed there ,as this was less of a fear to them now.As the mist appeared to rise,I still hesitated,and my fear was alarming.As I did,my mind asked me questions:”What could I do for her,what did she want with me,and finally,why did I see her and my mates as a child didn’t,and now,why did I still see her,and everyone else on the seashore didn’t.?
Things are often observed at the same time by the same people,but their subjective response is often at variance as I’ve often felt.For example,we all see homeless people in our large towns,we observe them in shops doorways.However,our subjective response will be different.As someone who has sofa surfed in life,I know just how close we can be to being homeless.and I know that objectively and not subjectively.However,it might be that we observe the homeless person and we have never been in that place.Initially,we might just not think about it,judging the person who is homeless as someone who has made bad choices.However,if that person had lived in an area where unemployment was extremely high,then he or she might have a different opinion of the reasons why someone is sleeping in a shop window.
That stark example isn’t the whole story of course,but it does shed a little light into what we see,how we react to it,and why some don’t see unless a life change affects them.So,in my imagination on that day,I really saw that mermaid,and I heard those waves protecting her and I saw her beckoning to me to come and see the sea monster .
As the mist lifted that day,she had gone and I looked on and thought that I had been privileged on two occasions .Some of us aren’t so lucky,you see,we don’t have an imagination ,we don’t have much hope.Yes,we might have all the materials goods that you could shake a stick at and our security ,if,indeed it is based on that,will always block out imagination.As I ,many decades ago,slept on the sofa,going from one friends flat to another,I still had my imagination intact.To many,that might seem a risk in life,but I made that choice ,and I was happy in it.
Life ,as I see it,is a wonderful thing,but an artistic vent is not the lot of everyone,and I know that ,so,I still loved Tommy,Mike,and Rob,as they are good men who saw the world in their way did.Sometimes,we have to celebrate our differences in life.Artists don’t want to get a passive audience,they want a reactive one.
Thank you to “The Mermaid of Bude”.If your ever in Bude when it’s really misty,maybe you will see her as I did,beckoning to you.