I took the brave decision to extricate myself from the Brightonian beach yesterday in favour of attempting the countryside. (I am much more a fan of sea salty air and seagull watching than of creepy crawlies and buzzy bees, hence why I have never, and will never, go camping.) I have been intending to take myself to Devil’s Dyke since one of the tour operators sold me on the idea when I was here a few weekends ago. So after a lavish hotel breakfast and an hour’s lay in the sun on the pebbles, feeling like Uncle Travelling Matt, I donned my back pack and headed for the bus stop.
On a clear day the views from up there would be stunning; but I could make out the varying greens of patchwork England well enough, despite the low cloud cover. It was peace that I sought and I most definitely found it. I adore the beach, but my ten minutes of tranquility ran into trouble when the Carousel behind me fired up and the Pier to the left of me opened, pumping out chart tunes for the thrill riders. Up on the Downs this was far from an issue. I found a nice, quiet spot off the rambler’s track, beneath and betwixt two tall trees. The only sounds were nature’s rustling and chirping; the occasional panting dog and gravel crunching passer by. Finally, I was alone with my thoughts, of which are plentiful at present.
Scattered about me were wildly bright flowers in amongst tall blades of grass and short, stubby clover – though not a four leafed specimen to be seen, alas. It was a buttercup that grabbed my attention the most; so rich in colour; such a vibrant yellow and, for a moment, I wanted to pluck it to hold in my hands. I hesitated over it whilst it occurred to me that should I take it from its dwelling and claim it for my own, I take possession of it, but for what? To place beneath my chin and discover that I do indeed like butter as the yellow reflects onto my skin (as my Mum and Nan did when I was a child); to spin it rapidly, yet whimsically, between two fingers; simply to take a closer look; perhaps to be placed behind my ear for decoration? Ultimately, it would be cast aside, limp, useless, dead and wasted.
I’m sure this could be a metaphor for a multitude of things; but for this seemingly eternally single girl, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is a better way to exist; to be left to blossom alone. So many relationships I see, regardless of sexuality, are unhealthily codependent. The romantic notion of two individuals being so in love with each other that they wouldn’t want to walk this Earth with any other is perfectly beautiful in my eyes. This is totally different, however, from the couples who live in eachother’s pockets simply because they can’t bear to be alone…..and I won’t even broach the ridiculousness that is their idea of jealousy being a healthy component in a relationship….it really isn’t. Quite like the buttercup thieves, they pluck one another from where they stand and take ownership of eachother’s lives. When this happens pieces of what you once were slowly die until you are changed; unrecognisable. Having had a codependent partner I can fully identify with this. Before and after her I remain vibrant, free; I am that independent, thriving buttercup, left alone; I would say for all to enjoy but that would imply something potentially very rude and/or arrogant, and truly, promiscuity has never been my thing.
As far as relationships go, one must only hope to find the like of which enables us to thrive regardless, to be as powerful apart as we are together; to be able to stand alone and come together on equal footing; to be together in spirit, mind and heart, when not together in body, and cope perfectly well. Anything else seems pointless to me.
And as for the buttercup, I left it where it was, untouched, alive, hopefully for somebody else to enjoy it’s simple beauty after I’d gone, as another may have done before me; and I promptly returned to the beach.