I’m running along a beach.
I’ve a partner, with me.
We’re running in sync, side-by-side. We’re loving every second.
Out at sea, five-foot waves curl and crash. They look ominous.
But by the time they reach the shore, the same waves are tamer. We turn towards the water, just ankle-deep. We’re now at one with both the sand and the sea.
I watch my partner’s face – running, splashing, in bright smile.
We keep on running.
Ahead, we hear cries.
My partner shows a sense of doubt. We stare far ahead, I talk through the sight before us.
First, I point out gulls. They sit on the sand, in their hundreds, on a pinnacle of sand.
This little beach is protected, so here they can nest safely on the untouched primary dune – safe from marauding humans, their dogs and even hungrier property developers.
This stretch of coastline is so safe, I tell my partner, it’s also home to visitors from the other side of the world.
To this specific place, flock Arctic terns – tiny avian bodies which somehow beat out the extraordinary journey from Siberia in northern Russia, to False Bay, for the summer. Astonishing tenacity.
As we run, my partner now understands how precious is this sanctuary, we have created, for both our “locals” and our global partners, so far away.
How crucial that we protect it. A duty, as custodians.
On the mists of the salt air, we hear another sound, high-pitched and shrill.
So I start telling my partner about commitment, and loyalty, about shared vision and hope.
For the call above us is the African black oyster-catcher, two of them.
So much to learn, for these birds’ relationships last their lifetimes
Their presence could also mean rocky outcrops on the coast ahead, I warn my partner.
Or sharp mussel-shells on the sand, from the oyster-catchers’ most recent munch.
I have so much to show my partner, about the world around us.
Already, on our short run, our relationship has been infused with new richness.
Shared experiences, wonder. Confidence, in our joint ability to face what we find ahead.
My partner, whom I ran with, whom I now write about, is only three years old.
She’s my baby girl. Her name is Beth.
And our abundant little exploration together, was only possible, because of a single magic ingredient:
A golden key, which has opened the door to a shared world.
To our lives, together.
(So much is possible, if we can broker just this: trust.)