To Blue

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A life affirming tale from the west coast of Ireland about the power and mystery of nature.

Submitted: August 01, 2007

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Submitted: August 01, 2007



Down below the ancient tumbling walls of the open fields, below the grass that lay on its side to escape the roaring wind, below the crumbling soil that flew off the cliff edge in search of a more welcome bed. Down again through the wind-etched cracks and weather beaten wrinkles of the cliff face, down to where the rushing waves broke their rolling swells. There lay the tiny cove. It was one of the great storms that carved this sanctuary. On a fine day, a day when the sea spent its energies on coastlines hundreds of miles away, the seals would roll on to the sand and bask in the sun. On a dark day, a day when the sea’s roar and the wind’s bite met to battle, that was a day when the cove became a wild place, white troubled water scratching the gnarled roots of the cliff.

It was a fine day when the old man guided his currach through the playful breakers. A grey seal, his back scarred and gouged like the face of the boats occupant, cast a lazy eye upon his approach. There was no fear. He knew the old man. The currach crunched sand and was hauled up past the breakwater. The old man, black bucket in hand, clambered slowly over the rocks to search the little pools left behind by the tide. He stooped occasionally, his shadow darkening the surface of these microcosms and the tiny crabs within scuttled for cover, cowering under the slender boughs of seaweed. The crabs were no match for the ancient hands that darted into to the water and out, pinching the pincher, extracting them with ease. He worked his way up the rocks towards the cliff face, bending and adding to his bucket. It was there he found the tiny bird.

Broken and shivering the tiny bird lay on its back amongst the bubbled seaweed, one of its black tipped wings tucked underneath it, crushed by the fall. The tiny bird’s cries ceased as the old man bent down and fixed his deep azure gaze on it. They were the eyes of the sea. Cupping the tiny bird in his weathered hand’s the old man held it to his lips. The wind fell and the sea became a mirror to the sky. A moment passed, a silent moment when the earth became still and the only movement was those lips, lips that had spoken millennia. Then, after an age that was forgotten as soon as it ended, the wind resumed its blowing and the waves rolled again on to the shore and the grey seal gave a bark and dived into the sea. The old man stood and held his hands above his head and the tiny bird flew up, up above the old man, up past the dark cliff, up above the flattened fields and the tumbling walls and away, away into the blue.

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