Family, Island life

Today the world lost a friend and the island mourns.

I’m at my island home. There’s a storm outside. The wind is strong and vocal, its intensity tossing the sea into a sky kneeling so low it is swallowing salty water hungrily; head back, gaping throat open, the effervescent foam gushing down its impossibly long neck.

The peat is burning, its heavy hue hitching an easy ride on the fertile surf that is racing up the hill, its moisture softening the blackness of the turf as it journeys somewhere into the distance, its bleakness scouring at the seeming ferocity of winter.

The landscape it devours en-route is swaying intently, pockets of flowering whin inching up the hillside in the race to climb beyond scattering clouds disrupting the peaceful isolation. The yellow and green bushes form shadows, figments of imagination that will manifest as folktales, intense narratives to be gorged on lonely, candlelit nights.

Up on the hill, like a sentry, I watch the ocean waves pitch and roll. I am tiny amidst the vastness of the lurching, growling swagger commanding the tone and direction of the enormous beast of a day.

Even from this distance I can taste the sea in my mouth, its saltiness thick with the smoky turf cut from earth that rises and falls; giving in to the darkness of winter before unfurling its soft colours beyond the whistling wind, the spring harvest uncoiling and stretching towards a scented freedom.

As small as I am I can escape the merciless wind and yet its lashing weather soils my heart. This morning I learned of the death of Ally Gourlay and this silver-grey world I inhabit is shaking. We all cease to exist, we can only encroach upon this wind-battered land for so long but sometimes the fragility of our presence is all-consuming. This morning, Ally’s family weep and their tears will be swallowed by peat-bogs and cul-de-sacs and all the while we sit idly by and wait for that scene to encompass us. You, me, all of us. There’s so little time to be everything we can be.

As the sun pushes beyond the bleaching clouds I watch its journey. Finally it stops, its yellow wings hovering, its bright light burning the blackness of the static earth. I can hear the sound of the wind clearly now.

Live, laugh and love. That’s what the storm is saying. Listen if you can.

Here’s an earlier post about Ally. The True Meaning of Life…

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2 thoughts on “Today the world lost a friend and the island mourns.”

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