end of day

 At the other end of November’s spectrum comes indigo. Saturday shone till it majestically vanished inside headlights. If starlings own most of the day, together with curlews, common gulls, blackbirds and sparrows, dusk and night belong to the geese. At such a time of year, I love to drive into the night from the very edge of my world, Ninian.

As I was tidying the boot of my car – then filled with sandgrains, bruck (trash) and poetics from the beach, together with old verse left in an A4 envelope and  hiking boots – I noticed clouds had turned the pale colours of flamingoes. My eyes focused on in the SW direction. Time to catch today’s sunset! On a nearby fencepost, a starling performed a fabulous solo, as an alto apprentice. So I left my township, armed with my lens and best fleeces. Under fifteen minutes, I reached a perfect orange glow from the top of Bigton Farm. If Dragon Head looked was already engulfed inside a dusky blue, Ninian’s holms silhouetted like polished gem stones, backlit by a daring evening sun. Black fleecy hat and mitts were de rigueur.

 A first glance  from the top kerb, all began to show the magic of Arcania.

The tide was high and its magic synchronised rollers engulfed the very sandbridge that leads to the island. From the distance, I imagined the sheer power of rollers engulfing the dragon that sleeps near the edge at the north side… So I wandered down at slow pace. And reached the edge of evening at the edge of the sand. Walking the shore that felt like very soft – as soft as descending winter light itself. Now and again, the Atlantic leaves traces of delicate lace at your feet, and come to drape sand as a shawl or a petticoat.

 The mighty North Atlantic leaps without shame to the centre of the sandbridge, like wild fire would engulf desert bushes, leaping over ditches. I know I cannot fully walk across, so wet the sand & restless tide… Before my eye, the turtle-shaped island lies inside blue that we call dusk. It’s not yet 4, but Arcania slides into shades that will gradually unveil Venus and later the whole of our Milky Way. I am not racing against time, and merely listen to water. I paused and turned like a wind rose, as waves offered a spectacle that never fails to marvel at. Spray flies very high in the wind. It wanders like scores of mayflies above a river or lake infested with summer evening. Mesmerised by the this whole moment, I stopped and listened to evening. Redshanks and ringed plovers made themselves scarce, although a trio of waders flew through the spray to reach the edge of the island. Somebody asked, “what’s an island?” I once answered in a poem the many faces of the word. 

Now, we reached the point of no turning back. Our closest star has retreated below this Nordic horizon.   A darker hue of indigo begins to fill this winter sky. I need  to walk back to the side of the biggest island.On my way back to the dunes, a woman walked to the widest part of the beach with an infant. I caught their silhouettes and smiled. I take they too wished to see the end of day by the sky- and waterline. And by the time I reached the top of my sandbridge, the time in between  the end & beginning – or the ticking & the talking clock, as Kate would put it –  tolled in my sky. Soon, too soon now, time to drive back to the warmth of my own hearth.

Until a new dawn takes over, we’ll have to make do with the mystery of darkness – time of earth spirits, magical creatures of the cairns, water horses inside surf. Every fencepost along my road turned a saluting soldier on parade. On the eve of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, my thoughts remember their bravery & sacrifice. Inside night, geese call in their flight. They too need to find their own way to live and survive through the mystic of nocturne.

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Filed under 2012, Arcania, atlantic, colours, geopoetics, home, images, island, magazine, ninian, north, shetland, shore, spirit, winter, writing

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