“In the fields, she stopped and took a deep breath of the flower scented air. It was dearer to her than her kin, better than a lover, wiser than a book. And for a moment she rediscovered the purpose of her life. She was here on earth to absorb its wild enchantment.”
— Boris Pasternak
She drew in a deep breath, savouring the freshness around her. The familiar sting of salt air was not present in the fields and hills, and it was more than exciting to see the expanse of grass that spread out before her. There was no one, not a single soul, roaming the area within her vision – she was alone, and for the first time in quite a while, she felt at ease with the solitude.
She set out the thin blanket she had packed, along with her paints and canvases. There were four of them, their white surfaces begging for colour to be splashed over them. She had never feared the stark whiteness of a blank canvas – to be honest, Cora felt that it was more inspiring to imagine what could be, rather than what should be.
She went about squeezing a small amount of paint from each of her green tubes, then from her browns, and finally from the blues and her white. She had packed two small jars of clean water, which were now sitting in front of her, nestled in the damp dirt and beside them sat her paintbrushes, neatly assorted by size.
She had traded one sea for another, and as she painted, Cora imagined there were beings similar to Kallan that swam through the tall grasses and lurked just beneath the green surface of the fields. She could almost feel them, could almost see them through the haze of the inland afternoon. There, off at the other end of the field, she could just imagine being watched with curiosity by moss green eyes – or there, in that copse of trees to her left, down the hill, there could be a watchful stare boring into her, wondering what her purpose was for being in the secluded vale.
What was her purpose? Why did she feel the clawing need in the pit of her stomach to be far from the sea? She knew that her mother had noticed the small jumps and shrieks at the sounds of crashing waves, how Cora had shied away from the daily pilgrimages to their sacred beach, and how she had been less than welcoming of the salt air that permeated the house.
She couldn’t hide her aversion to the sea, not from Wilfred, not from Vivian, and definitely not from her mother. But, for all that she knew her mother could see, Nerissa hadn’t pried, which Cora was thankful for. She would come around, she knew that about herself – she never could stay far from the sea for long. But for now, she needed the quietness of the hills, the soft, tickling breezes that bent the grasses and rustled the leaves, and the sweet scent of wild-flowers that seemed to come from every direction.
chapter 11 // aequoris