The tide is further out each morning now, as I do my Tai Chi by the sea. Rock pools have formed everywhere, as the sea's edge recedes.
A black oyster catcher stalks the edge, watched by a lone gull.
'Stagnant water no good for Tai Chi,' says Dr Wu of the Nine Palaces tradition.
'Does this count as stagnant?' I ask, and hear him say, 'Tide OK. Tide moving all the time, even though appears still.'
Ah- that's good.
Certainly the seabirds are gathering now that the water has drawn back. I can hear molluscs popping and imagine a wealth of tasty morsels just beneath the surface.
Prince Heron hears them too. He stalks elegantly across the rocks to a large pool, claiming it for himself. There he begins a graceful dance: one leg forward, stirring the mud;
second leg forward, stirring a little more,
then spearing downwards to retrieve his trophy.
I'm moving into 'Twisting waist and swing arms' as he does 'Lifting legs and stir mud', and it seems we are doing our Tai Chi together.
Then, who should appear from the right, but Princess Heron, proceeding with perfect deportment to her own pool. There she begins her own, 'Lifting legs, stir mud',
followed by 'Darting beak, find fish'.
Together the three of us do our movements, each in our own little pool of water or light. I am carried into timelessness, and the sky becomes extra wide.
'Flowing water cleanses and brings good fortune and opportunities to those who are nearby,' says Dr. Wu. I am reminded that receding tides expose new choices. Sometimes I complain when I'm not feeling at full surge, or when my writing process reveals snags, flotsam and jetsam, but just look at what is revealed when the flow pulls back.
The herons are harvesting their good fortune, and I am about to harvest mine, with a morning of creative work which, I am confident, will turn dissatisfaction into delight.