Slow Light

Eyes open. Eyes shut. It makes no difference to the utter pitch blackness of the stormy night. Bryher is a dark place at night. The only potential sources of light are the moon and stars, but today they too are hidden behind thick cloud. Wind hurls and batters trees and house. Windows and doors squeak and rattle.

Squalls of rain lash as they swirl through.

In the inky black the red lights of the telegraph tower blink in the distance, the only give away of St Marys presence. I sit and wait for slow light, pale dawn.


It takes a while. The wind gives a break in the cloud and a pale, almost neon blue light is revealed. Slowly the dark shapes of hedges, hills and islands become visible to the straining eye. Tiny red and white lights of the freight boat drift like a ghost ship up a silver-grey channel of sea. The wind still howls.



Time to head out. I walk in the semi-darkness, along the sandy track, passing Veronica Farm and South Hill to Green Bay. A high tide rolls in to meet me, full of boisterous energy.



There is no beach, just path, hedge, sea. A mass of squelching, iron-scented weed is rolled high, littered with discarded limpet shells and bouncing sand flies. Foaming waves lick through the weed, pushing it slightly higher with each surge, rattling over the granite pebbles.


Only three little punts remain out at sea, rocking franticly upon the wind-driven waves, clinging tightly to their moorings.

Walking over the wet, unseen and uneven pebbles is slippery and tricky to do, especially as the wind and waves push at your body. The sooner I lay flat on my belly, suspended by the water the safer I feel.

I doggy paddle out into deeper water. In the murk I am unable to see the rocks and reaching clumps of bladder wrack that might entangle themselves about my legs, so I try to float on the surface. It doesn't feel cold, in fact warmer now than when I stood on the strandline with the wind pressing at my warm flesh.

Like a cork I am washed around. Risen up, spume-spat and let go again. Salt in the mouth. Steel-grey and alabaster-blue in the eyes. Its fun, breath-catching, invigorating.

I just have the clambering out to dry land to accomplish, not a glamorous sight I promise you.



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