When I was younger, I had an agreement with myself that every year at midwinter solstice I would go swimming at midnight at this, my most loved beach. I think I kept it up for more than a dozen years, although when I was out of country my swim might be a little late, a little early.
Since the children came along it hasn't happened, a combination of location, energy and will. An early morning walk is as close as I tend to get to that old exhilaration of sea and night and bitter cold.
There isn't the same passion to prove myself, to test boundaries and reach for something further. I miss that intensity, those moments of intoxication-by-nature, but three wild, wilful and wonderful sleeping children seem a worthwhile swap.
It's a different kind of magic, and there's always a gentler side of the sea to explore, a greater appreciation for the quiet moments of dawn, alone by the shore.