The clouds are curved like greying lips, white mountains frothing up at their backs. Light, always strong, pushes through in slits and slants and sudden glories, whole and holding the sky for just a few moments. Further back the blue is stern and cold, sullen and persistent. To my right, seaward, the grey carpet threatens. More hail? More soggy snow that lumps to the ground only to melt into an unattractive slosh? But it is all fur coat and no nickers and comes to nothing. A comment unheard or ignored by most, like a swagger. I watch the sky, gulls white against the grey, lifting, luffing, tilting the breeze above the sea-loch, now calming down from the full moon rise and diminish. Must be restful for the saltwater, the times in between new and full moons, when the snitchy witchy fingers rile the waters up, rile us up.
My walk today was soggy. I notice big paw prints in the mud and remember the wolf prints I saw from the cable car in the Alps. I almost laugh. Big here is not big there. Wolf prints are huge and pronounced. Captured in the snow, they show me every part of the pad, the claws sinking deep, clear and almost musical. I think about this. Do the individual ‘fingers’ lower at different times……the outside first, then the next and so on or is it a solid and uniform punch to the ground? As I walk, I consider my own toes inside my own boots. For me, it is a rounding from little toe to big, but almost instantaneous, happening in a few seconds and without my conscious connection. It kind of changes how I walk, thinking this way. The dog prints are slurry, slipped and shifted by the bog and the mud, slewed and stretched into unreality.
The bracken still talls copper aside the track. It is amazing how strong those stalks are. I remember gathering them with a friend, every day, in the cold and snow-wet, as bedding for her dairy cow, their only source of milk, living as they did a great distance from help, or milk. We gathered in armfuls and tramped the hill ground to the stall that was the cow’s nightlay, laying out the bracken until the layer was thick enough for a bed. It took both of us a daylight. As I left I wondered how she managed it on her own. But she was tough and determined and loved her cow so I guess she managed. No lorry would deliver straw or hay, not down that precipitous fall of a track, the length of it, the fall away just there and the drop over 60 feet. When they moved, the furniture van came so far and then stopped. No chance, they said. So, they shifted their lovely furniture from van to tractor bed and had to hump and shift and position each piece by themselves. As I already said, my friend was tough. There was a light in her that no arrogant grey could snuff out. Salut Jenny.
Light thinks me. It is a constant. It is there when it chooses. No dark can ever defeat it. Once light is cast, darkness defers and retreats. It is the same in a person, in a nightmare, in the dark reaches of a night. Light will always win. Always. However, we can seek light in things that are not of us. In various and ‘ya-di-ya’ instant lifts, like buying more stuff. We can find it, momentarily in a new relationship, in the trust of it, in a something or a someone and that could well be real. Or it could be the dark, kidding us. Because we, as humans, and particularly now in this covid restraint, are hungry for light, any lights we can make a mistake. I tell myself this….remember who you are, who you have invested in, whom you have learned to be and when that lightcast comes at you, in whatever form, pause and then pause again.