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Hope Cove
by Ian Curtress

I enjoy my coastal path walks and the weather has to be really rough to stop me.
Old habits die hard, although retired, still rise around seven.
Seldom meet anybody walking, too early for most.
I always stop above one particular cove. There’s a seat well placed for a lovely view of the Atlantic rollers breaking on the golden sand and although they can crash violently when weather is stormy, somehow it remains a peaceful scene.
I never cease to appreciate my good fortune at having completed my years of labour with satisfaction I now have time for me.
They say the best things in life are free. Sitting here with this remarkable view and gorgeous fresh air, I agree.
On this particular morning when comfortably seated ready to feast my eyes, I was startled to see a small figure seated on a rock down in the cove.
I took it to be a woman as she was wrapped in a heavy shawl.
Looked so lonely huddled up, black against the golden sand.
Somehow I couldn’t quite settle so continued my walk and as usual my mind became full of memories of a very full life.
Walking back later I glanced down into the cove and was very surprised to see the figure still there.
This concerned me as from her position I could see she was elderly and I felt uncomfortable. I could not continue without making sure she was alright.
I made my way down the rough path and cautiously approached her.
She looked tired, her face lined as if by sadness but she smiled.
Assured me she was alright and would be leaving soon and thanked me for my concern.
However, I couldn’t get her out of my mind.
Thought of the possibility of a fall and no one to find her until too late.
So instead of going straight home I called into the local police station.
I told them of my concern of an elderly woman in an isolated cove and that although she assured me she was alright I thought perhaps it should be followed up.
I became aware of the desk sergeant and others giving me strange looks.
He asked me to describe exactly what I saw and the conversation.
I immediately became embarrassed, wishing I hadn’t bothered but related the incident in detail. It was his turn to become embarrassed.
He said about five years ago a walker reported exactly what I had reported. They looked into it and found the woman had lost her husband at sea, in foreign waters but was sure he would return.
Social workers said they would keep an eye on her.
Following the report of the walker they decided to check on her the following morning.
She was not at home so they sent a policeman to the cove.
She was sitting on the rock looking out to sea. The constable climbed down and gently approached her. She was very still. Too still. In spite of her heavy shawl she had passed away in the cold night air.
It had been a very sad time for all those involved but perhaps it was the happiest for her.
I sit and look down on that cove now with mixed feelings but don’t dwell on things we don’t understand.