I’m not a believer in ghosts. But I’m a big fan of haunting, in the wider sense; things that stay with you or make you feel a very precise way. I am a fan of art, but I’d say my taste is rather sporadic. A favourite artist of mine is Anthony Gormley; not for everything he’s done but for much of it, I really enjoy the concept, the story and the simplicity.
It’s none of those things that captured me at CrosbyBay though. As the dunes at the back of the beach shrunk beneath my feet, the rain plummeting down and the wind catching in my coat and ballooning it outwards I looked to the beach and was surprised by how crowded it was on such a beautifully bleak day. Not everyone thinks the way I do about bleak days you see. It took a good minute before my heart gave a gentle downward jolt of shock- the statues, from this distance they were so life like I hadn’t even noticed they were all facing the same way. They are buried at different heights, some up to their knees, some stood proudly on their bare feet, and at this low tide none were completely submerged. They draw me from one to the other, no sooner am I at the elbow of the first than I find my feet lured closer and closer to the nearing tide, the biting waves, in search of the next figure. They are a rich rust colour against the steely grey backdrop, darkened by the pounding sheets of rain they’ve been enduring for hours, staring resolutely into the distance. They appear to be waiting for something, they don’t care about the beautiful beach behind them, or the water sport centre to their right, they don’t care about the coast guards cottages and abandoned beach resort just metres away; they are waiting. I stand by one, midway between the sea and the safety and I peer over his shoulder, he’s just the right height for me to only see the waves ahead, no sand. I watch with him, I’m soaked through, and I wonder if I could wait too; if I could sit with him and quietly think until I felt what it was like to feel the waves swallow me, hear the silence of the water, the odd faraway sound it would make as it whispered through the metal next to me and then feel it desert me slowly and leave me stood on solid ground once more.