My word. I love to make new words. I remember writing an article for BBC Wildlife magazine years ago. Lordy, the editor was a tough nut and a half. She picked and poked and corrected until I was back before the headmistress who expelled me mid A levels. My embers were stoked and, eventually, I burst into fire, my tether at its end. The loch, I wrote, describing a far north body of water in which, apparently, a minke whale was ‘trapped’, poppled with balls of ice. It, the whale, was no more trapped than I inside my polar suit whilst fighting to remain vaguely upright in a slanty gale on a freezing, sleet-blasted hillside, and in February. I had personally watched the whale slide easy as an eel through the narrows as the tide began to ebb, returning for a feast of trapped fish at the next flood. Not once, but four times. Nobody was listening. The fish farmer freaked out about his cages being damaged. I wanted to shake him, tell him we had observed and studied these whales for decades and any one of them would have considered any such bumping or damaging as plain foolish. Big brains, remember and way bigger than the ones we lug about inside our own small and limited confines. There was talk of ‘herding’ a single whale (hallo?) out with a flotilla of boats. There was talk of explosives. We sighed a lot during that week, I can tell you. But when you are up against fear and small community thinking, you are blowing against the wind, expecting it to say, Oh Sorry, I’ll just go the other way, shall I?
Back to ‘poppling’. There’s no such word, she said, the headmistress/editor said. By now I was busy hoping she got absolutely nothing off her Christmas list, ready to fire, to yell, to tell her many rampageous things, but instead I went quiet, deadly quiet, like the eye of a storm. Leave it in. I said, surprised at how commanding I sounded. She said nothing for a beat, then conceded, reluctantly with a lot of tuts and mouth blowing. Today, I find that very word in the dictionary, so ha, ha, ha.
I digress. Today was super wet, wet like a complete soak just going out to feed the birds. I did not walk the dog who is still puzzling up at me as if I have finally lost the plot. Instead, I lit candles, the fire, and watched a movie. Now this is a rare thing for me, to watch tv during an afternoon. In fact, it is rare for me to settle comfortably in the evening to watch a movie. Watching tv is a sharing thing. My African son said that to me this very day as he watched the same movie and he is right. Perhaps this is why I, to date, have not been able to settle by the fire to enjoy a damn good story, beautifully presented, to get lost in someone else’s world just for an hour or two. When the movie is over and I flick the room into silence, there is nobody there to talk to about the experience. What do you think? What did you feel about this bit, or that; him or her; that happening, that twist? Since the bodach is gone, even though, latterly, he was engaged with some soap series whilst I watched a movie, there was no silence when the light of the moving pictures were turned off. There was some sort of conversation, even at the very end when barely a sentence came from his mouth. I had plenty to say, of course and now I say nothing and to nobody. It is a strange time indeed. A time of turmish.