Walking with an empty stomach out along the causeway at Aust. The end of the concrete path meets with the moonscape beach. Giants’ brains of molten, marbles boulders have tumbled near the river. The old Severn bridge sweeps high above us. Rattling and sounding so unsafe. Each car makes another dent; each lorry loosens another bolt. Once we came here and there was no traffic. The roaring wind had caused police to shut the 1966 route into Wales, as it often did. Hearing no sound but the lapping water and nibbling wind chipping pieces off the cliff made me shrink into the beach, subservient to nature. Years later, snow would bring all of London – apart from Boris on his bike – to a halt and Japan would crumble inwards from stirrings within the earth. Torn apart like paper dolls in the breath of Nature.
Back to the rubble of the beach. Maybe one other stranger with an enthusiastic dog. Something robust like a retriever. Only one other perverse soul encouraged to spend his growing darkness by the cold Severn. You go and walk at the top of the sands and rocks, right under the side of the cliff. Stumbling over the debris of previous landslides. The warm red of the rock contrasting with the Giants’ brains. I took a piece once and it crumbled red rock all over the window sill. The veins and pathways of the brains loosened and spat clay coloured sludge onto the white paint.
Afraid of landslides and attracted to water, I take my end of the invisible dog lead of the invisible dog we always walk (something less robust and more bouncy than a retriever) and step along like a penguin by the edge of the river, which always seems more like a sea shore.
In the descending dusk the little buildings of foreign Wales are twinkling on lights. I can hear voices calling out for dinner from across the river. Little pieces of warmth float towards us from the individual fire places and kettles being switched on for the peas.
The river is yawning and stretching, not feeling its own increasing coldness. Perhaps it enjoys growing more menacing and more significant as the sun disintegrates.
I hear you walking towards my back and wait for your approach to say it is time to chase the dying light back down towards the causeway and through the iron gate. There is one house sitting midway along the concrete strip. Like the lighthouse keeper’s perch, it presumably had a purpose to being built there. Against the harsh wind and my hollow body it looks like the most comfy hole in existence. The yellow glow emanating from the windows looks warmer than any pub. The occasional wafts of cooking smell as warm and peaceful as the lilies in the cathedral. A tiny hint of garlic heads towards the end of the decrepit ferry launch.
I am in my own little trance, made small by the great white whale of the bridge and the ravenous water taking bites from the shrapnel of the bank. We reach the car and dive out the air and back into the present.