Today was a blue day.
Sky, ocean blue, true reflection of our whole world… Sunset at Ninian Sands felt like fireworks.
And since man says life wakes again on Valentine’s Day, well, those precocious murmurs preceed the magic of our earthly revival. Ravens in aerial displays, gregarious sparrows and blackbirds… Starlings, my favourite garden birds, perch on Shetland Rose and willows.
And every trip down to the shore awakes my heart. Never mind the season, life has emerged from the water. In its great life circle, the sea is life.
So here is a short piece dedicated to this blue world.
There’s nothing new brought to the shore. The lazy tide sometimes returns empty handed. Not a sandal, or drifted wood left on the beach… Afar, sea haze, like an old shroud, obscures our world, infinity. Breakers wait for bliss in shallows to unveil anger on their path. Deserted life under my feet, ivory grains hide shells devoid of eyes and jaws. Timid lugworms race against time to gasp a bit of oxygen. Their fortresses, made with wet sand, they’re terrified at sanderlings! Those small waders want to stay dry – they always seem to run away from lacy surf like rewound toys. It’s in their genes, mechanical. As a headdress to the splash zone, piles of disjointed sugar kelp, cured by our star, sea breeze and spray attract a squadron of starlings. V-shaped to glide through the seasons, our tinsel birds just wish to feast.
On second sight, water unveils unusual shapes. Black dorsal fins slash gentle waves. My mind dictates a name, Orca – an illusion out of a dream. I know they flirt with the surface, to catch their breath; a furtive glimpse into my world, peeping onto sun-bathing seals… Teeth in a pod roam our oceans; they know each corner of our cliffs. To them the world swims in a cave, it’s just a game of hide-and-seek! In-between trees in kelp forests, I imagine a racing game where fish wander without helmets – where otters glide to harvest love and sea urchins. Starfish belong to the seabed. They’re hardly lifted off their floor. They share stories with the rest of the mollusc world, each word relayed through the grapevine… Tales of horror awake their wits – AC/DC, thrills and hurting, alternative, just like currents.
In mid-summer light reigns supreme on your blueness. This gigantic mass of water, larder of life, emerald-green, allows the Moon to stay asleep whilst terns and auks fish for their youngs. Life still at stakes hangs in their beaks; against the clock they take the plunge. Gannets slide low above the waves. They too belong to your offspring. Black-tipped white wings cut through airstreams before head butting, eyes open, the blue of your epidermis! Shoals of sand eels face this terror. In the tumult they want to scream – save their own scales from bills and jaws… They’re just small fry on the ladder, for there’s always a bigger fish – a bully boy ready to sneak right from above or just below. Patchwork of joys and cruelty, nature regulates our own fate. Who said our world was paved with gold? Moby Dick dreams inside my head.
Tide after tide, lazy or simply generous, I come to sit right at your edge, hear water whisper to pebbles, as if it wished to turn a page; I’m still looking for that sandal. Dolphins leap out across your waves like grasshoppers – they’re just playing with young mermaids, rubberband grace. Sometimes I wish I could join in their joyous game instead of lying on the sand… I hold my kite, this aerial apparatus might help me lift our whole spirit beyond the clouds – to me they look a barrier, something so light yet sinister, impalpable. I feel so small, here on my stone, a drop of life in this cosmos. I blend my tears with wind and rain to find solace between your arms. I need to share that with you, friend, mother of life – for all I know you are aware of my anger, sorrow and rage. I wish I could catapult them beyond the ridge of light and sound.
Nat Hall ,
Sandwick, Shetland Scotland