Wild Thing (Public)
When I sit with the island at night a feeling comes over me that’s hard to explain.
As the New Year’s celebrations have waned over the last couple of days, so have my blind, isolation-fed attractions for Clare. Re-reading the last few days, it’s not my malformed psyche that bothers me as much as the eagerness with which I place others on pedestals to idolize them, to covet their time for myself. Besides that, her “boyfriend bullet” had my name on it. It was a clean shot and I should have taken it like a man.
I also realize with regret that I sometimes soak up more positive energy than I create. Last night as everyone across the road was leaving and saying their goodbyes, I said, “Have a good trip,” instead of, “It’s been so much fun meeting you.” Today Oliver came by to see if I wanted to join them on a walk and my reply was “I’ve just drawn a bath, thanks anyway,” instead of, “I’d really like to, thanks, but I was about to jump in the tub.” The differences may seem minor, but the cumulative effects, taken over generations, could prove disastrous. I must make efforts to be aware of this.
Last night before joining the pub and people, I found myself again at Long Point. It’s been a while since I’ve taken a good late night stroll. I wanted to do it without a flashlight but the sky was too dark, the grass too slick and my eyes too small. It was drizzling. I cast the shadows of water droplets from the lens of my light far across fields and onto towering stones.
On the edge of the island, the little man made of pink granite stones was still there, resting as he has been for the past month. This evening, however, there was something new. As I pointed my beam towards the sea I saw a small tower of maybe twelve round beach stones balanced one on top of the other. I panned across and found another, then another, and another. There must have been ten or so standing on the shore, an elegant, if eerie, surprise.
Further on I climbed down into the bowl of Long Point, leaned against a familiar rock, turned off my light, and let my eyes adjust. Fuzzy dark gray: the sky. Massive: the brownstone-sized crag in front of me, silhouetted to black, twice every minute, by the double beam of the Bishop’s Rock lighthouse. The white water that charged the rocks as always, tonight appeared ghostly, gray, and determined.
When I sit with the island at night a feeling comes over me that’s hard to explain. It tugs at my heart. It cradles and shelters me. I’m touched that it allows me to see it; that it shows me its shadows, and whispers to me when no one else is around, while its phosphorescent waters twinkle in the thick, flickering blackness.
I slid slowly down over dark boulders and inched toward to the sea, sinking my boots deep into tide pools as I crept. Then I sat for a while: quiet, quiet, and still, only ocean, only wind, only blurred stars, and winking water, drizzle, still drizzle, then rain. Then nothing.
When I climbed out of the bowl, still without light, it was on intimate terms. Gingerly, blindly, I felt for every rock, asked for every step, until it was granted. On level soil I did the same, one foot in front of the other, trusting the island, trusting the darker, dark, and less dark shapes in front of me. As I left the cove I sensed a bright light blazing behind me, constant, in the periphery of my vision. What was it? I dared not turn around, moving only forward, in measured steps, past the little stone towers, past the pink granite man, still lying in repose.
As I neared one of the more massive granite outcroppings, the double flash of my shadow appeared briefly on its side. Up the muddy track I went, stepping solidly now as the skies had cleared a little allowing stars to illuminate the way.
Here the island sees me walking the land on two feet. In London I scurry underground between tube stations like a mouse, nose to the ground. Here the grass is vitally different from the moss, the moss from the stone, the stone from the sea and the bird. Here buildings crumble, reminding us of our fate and the landscape remembers. There, endless shops are transparent cells in the fused city-structure which constantly regenerates itself hard, shiny, and new. There, forgetful architecture speaks of immortality and exhaust pipes exhale carcinogens with confidence. There, the super-monster pushes forward, ever forward, in league with the clocks, greasing its joints with the nostalgias of the past.
In the field I spotted a firefly flashing a fuzzy, blue-white light in regular intervals. The cable from an electric fence had been tied in a knot precisely where I expected the little bug to be. Current arced across the wires. I tried to cup my hands around it but got a jolt instead. “Ugh!” I jumped and left it alone.
Walking up towards the houses, I had to shelter my eyes against the light like a wild thing until I was upon them and reintegrated.
Regarding her “boyfriend bullet”: as I offered the other day, you could have teased, you could have had some fun with her, while gauging and respecting her boundaries, of course. But I don’t believe you have to take everything, or anything, as it comes.
And regarding things you “must” do: I invite you to do the things that you desire, so long as you don’t infringe on another’s free will. You may find more flow and ease when an action doesn’t feel forced upon you, by you, or anyone else.
I wish you well on this journey, young self, young wild thing.
I’ll be here if you need me.