The soft sky, charcoal-scented, green-scented, perfumed with newness and soft memories of the past
Draws near us
Draws round us
The soft water, painted with stolen colours from the world above
Flows under us
Flows round us
Flows through us
The soft world wraps round us
And folds us in light.
What am I hungry for?
The clouds kiss the tops of the cliffs; the air is rich with mist. And I am filled with longing – for what, I’m not sure.
The shadow under the tree is dark now, its leaves too enclosing. I turn my face back to the road – but as I do, I see a cleft in the rocks, a corridor lined with grass and moss, winding back through the cliffs.
And I feel the hunger.
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.
The wind today makes me wish for wings. It roars around me like a lion playing, powerful and fierce and warm and so alive. The land is cloaked in haze, the sky in fragile cloud that doesn’t hide the sun so much as spread it thin, coating the world in a silver-gold softness. Distance is muted, all edges softened, and the wind smells warm and wild and sweet.
I wish for wings, but in my heart I’m already flying.
The earth is shallow
Even the sea is shallow
But the sky is deep.
So very deep.
It opens over me like an abyss so vast that my eye can’t comprehend it and my mind can’t accept it.
Perhaps that’s how we live; by cultivating our blindness so that the sky looks flat and near-at-hand. Because if we really saw it the way it is, every moment, if every glance upwards gave us such a sense of endless, endless empty depth, we’d hardly be able to live
for fear of falling.
Weary today. So weary. I’ve come too far to turn back, but I long to see a human face. Just another footprint would be something. But I seem to be alone here, alone in all the weary world.
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.