It was cold today, a flat, dispirited grey day by the Atlantic Ocean. The Island was deserted. Christmas is less than a week away and nobody wants to leave home. But that didn’t stop me. After my usual elongated breakfast ceremony I wasn’t about the forgo a breath of sea air. I bicycled under the gloomy canopy of trees along the paths against the wind to my destination. I had of course checked the weather and the tides before I left so I knew I would have my reward upon my return. It was a solitary outing. The Tennis courts were empty. There was no one else on the paths.
I was thankful to have had a silk scarf about my neck and a heavy woollen cardigan on top of my light pullover. The sharp cold pierced the loose weave of the cardigan. I had no gloves. But I enjoy the sensation of feeling thin when I am cold, shrinking fingers, hollow cheeks. It is invigorating. It made me want to heat myself up by peddling faster, harder.
When I reached Coligny Park the place was abandoned except for a young couple straining to take a photograph of themselves together on the boardwalk leading to the beach. I sat on a weathered bench and stretched my legs. There was no reason to linger, no one to watch, just the grey sky and the dull Ocean in the distance, waves pushed along by the northerly wind. Two young people – I couldn’t see their faces under their hoodies and I wasn’t even certain they were boys or girls, white or black – patted along the boardwalk to the beach where the seagulls thought they came bearing food but instead the boys – black boys – just teased the foolish birds and tried to photograph them flying.
As I cycled on the beach from Coligny Park towards Tower Beach with the brisk north wind at my back, racing like the scurrying wisps of sand, I sailed by one other person, an indistinguishable older gentleman walking, bent into the irreligious wind. We didn’t even acknowledge one another. The tide was far out and there was a wide swath of sand between us, a gulf of anonymity. The mournful day did not promote fraternity. Christmas can be a doleful time of year.