By Tamara Levy
Harmann Broch once stated that “Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be a part”. The inexorable force of the ocean has the power to change one’s mentality, serve as the instigator to pursue one’s dreams and alter your reality to whatever you want it to be.
Being surrounded by nature’s beauty and in one of the most picturesque places in Europe, the ocean is all-consuming. From the pearlescent glows of sunsets on the beach, to the rich pigmentation of the undulating hilltops in the Cornish countryside. Every day becomes a cyclical meditative escape, a harmonious oasis amidst the worldwide crisis we are currently experiencing. The melodic reverberations of birds chirping, the trees’ wistful bristling in the wind and the warmth of the caressing sun are all priceless elements in life which give us hope, comfort, peace and joy.
Walking along the winding streets of Padstow, the village is peppered with rural beach house cottages, quaint colonial pubs, and local art galleries. From the mouthwatering smells of freshly-baked goods emanating from the shops prior to the lockdown, to the brazen comfort offered by a hot stone fireplace, every corner of this southern slice of heaven is a utopian fairytale. Sharing the precious moments of gazing out into the horizon and observing the spectacle of fluorescent orange and purple beams painted across the evening sky like a canvas, are moments of magic to be cherished for a lifetime.
Calentita and Bollo Hornazo are replaced with quintessential Cornish Pasties and Yarg.
With Nan’s ‘Taste of Trevone’ blueberry jams and homemade bread and butter pudding, the fight against this pandemic becomes all the more bearable! Drinking ‘Jammy Red Roo’, stargazing on a clear night, and photographing the moon’s craters at its brightest, every single day is a scenic escape; a dazzling haze of enchantment and allure. Brushing up on my stone skimming skills along the natural pools at Rocky Beach and breathing in the fresh unpolluted ocean breeze at Little Fistral, life has become an amalgamation of tempestuous calm and silence.
Amidst the worldwide psychological turmoil being endured by all with the coronavirus pandemic, this paradisiacal corner of the United Kingdom is a blessing. With tensions running high, an onrush of severe paranoia, panic-driven Tesco runs and strictly abiding by the two-meter distance rule, conversations with the locals may very well be had via megaphone through the window in the weeks to come! Despite the acute desolation of this magical place, its exuberant personality exudes optimistic pragmatism. While feelings of nostalgia begin to set in having replaced Gibraltar’s own Calentita and Bollo Hornazo with quintessential Cornish Pasties and Yarg, one can observe many parallels between both seaside locations.
As stated by Christopher Paolini, “The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t”. Sharing a natural omnipotent connection that is the ocean, there is very much a strong sense of community, solidarity, care and personal interest among the locals. With daily salutations and friendly passersby, the positive energy exuded by nature and all individuals is truly valued and overshadows all melancholy. What were once jovial and dynamically bustling places, are now deserted hubs of spectral solitude. From being deemed cosmopolitan meccas of tourism and agriculture, both Gibraltar and Cornwall endure a loss of joy.
With days merging into weeks and weeks drifting into months, life as we know it has certainly changed. One becomes emotionally vulnerable and can easily plummet into a negative state of mind. Finding myself conversing with the walls, munching on a constant stream of crumpets, laughing and crying for no apparent reason, becoming overly excited when spotting a tractor from afar and committing myself to adopting a pet rock and naming him Fred are certainly symptoms of unabating quotidian monotony!
Reflecting on this past month in quarantine, what permeates through the emotional ambiguity of these confusing times is the beauty and serenity of the ocean, the vibrant luminosity of the sunsets and the whimsical music of the natural surroundings. It is important to adopt a positive mindset despite these times of strenuous turmoil. To carry out a mental exercise and make a list of all the things one is grateful for. To write down one’s aims and goals for post quarantine life and mindfully instigate a conscious uplift of mental health and wellbeing. Making lifelong friendships with the seagulls, hugging the trees embedded in nature and showing our appreciation for Mother Earth is the perfect antidote to avoid a complete and utter descent into madness while living the quarantined life as a Gibraltarian in Cornwall!