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Animals

Not one rock.

A ring of rocks.

Looming and vanishing through the sweeping cloud.

In the centre, the world grows briefly still. The sun shafts down.Everything shines.

And suddenly,

sheep

dance across the open ring, wiggling absurdly, their fleeces wet with dew.

They’re everywhere, bleating, and then they’re gone.

And they leave me laughing.

I think about that fishing boat. I think about it often. Sometimes I catch myself watching for it, eyes fixed on the distant headland in case it should appear. It never does.

The birds flock and swoop, crying their loneliness one to another. As for me, my only companion is the road.

Far below me, on the waves, a boat passes. Slowly, over hours, it steams along the coastline and out of view behind an outstretched arm of land.

It’s a fishing boat, an old boat with a heavy wooden hull, painted red. A small wheelhouse gleams white amid the clutter of the deck. It labours through the water, raising a hill of foam at bow and stern and carving a hollow of slick water between, deep enough to show its belly, stained green with stripes of weed. A scattering of gulls follows it, but languidly, as it’s trailing no gear.

I peer at it intently, trying to see who is sharing my lonely journey, albeit at a distance. But however hard I stare, no figure appears.