There is something about Elberry Cove, well not only Elberry, there are several beaches where the magic happens, but you have to be there at just such a moment.
High tide is essential, then the sea runs in over the bright white tumbled limestone pebbles. Some reveal fossils of coral, the 400 million year old details frozen for an eternity amounting to nearly 2/3 of the time of complex life on earth.
Amongst the white limestone bright red sandstone fragments, a mere 200 million years old, from a time when the whole of the land surface of the Earth was joined into a single mass and this beach was landlocked, a vast desert under an equatorial sun.
And here and there you will find a rare granite pebble, washed here by flash floods from the crumbling mountains that stood over Dartmoor and into northern France, mountains as tall as the Alps.
The calm sea creeps and swills amongst this legacy of lost worlds and down amongst the pebbles a bed of golden sand, mountains ground down inexorably by the sea that was there long before the corals to which it gave birth. Seen this way it is tantamount to sacrilege to tread across the sand and pebbles to the sea.
The sky should be cloudy, but not just any sort of cloudy, the clouds should glower, the closer to the horizon the better. And then there should be sunshine. The ‘shine lights up the sea, reflecting from the submerged white pebbles and against the dark skies the sea glows aquamarine at the very least. That is the magic that I wade into now. Here and sometimes at Churston, but after that there is nowhere quite the same.
The sea is calm to an extent that seems impossible and even out from the beach, far out beyond the glowing pebbles the sea retains its magic, or magick, it is more than a colour, more than water, more than light and ‘shine and clouds or the sum of the separate parts.
Back on the pebbles there is a final burst of sunshine, 30 minutes in the eye of a storm and even now there is again the fleck of faint raindrops from those lowering clouds. there is a brief final flash of light which scoots over the water and then the scene is washed once more with greyness, pushing the reset button, to wait once more for that special, magickal combination of tide, cloud and sunshine.