I’m still off the grid but, thanks to the wonders of technology, here’s something I wrote three days ago…
Yesterday Kelley and I spent some time in Carkeek Park.
It’s always lovely there, but this time it felt like a moment stolen from the dawn of time. No one was about. We drove through alders turning gold–and I imagined Lothlorien. When we got to the bluff, the tide was in. Gulls hung in a magnesium-bright sky over pewter-sheened water. Mist dripped from the trees. Everything was still and quiet, but intensely bright. It was like being in the centre of a pearl. Then the crows arrived.
We’ve been going to the park in all seasons for five years. Every autumn, adolescent crows gather in huge numbers and shout and show off and carry on, desperate to prove themselves and find their place in the hierarchy. They caw, and face off, and indulge in astonishing aerial acrobatrics. Every now and again, they caw in unison, and it sounds very like a fraternity-house of drinkers shouting Chug! Chug! Chug! Kelley and I looked at each other: kegger of crows.
As fast as they’d gathered and boasting and chugged, the crows flapped away, looking for the next party. We listened to another moment of stillness. The tide changed, and line after line of rollers roared and rushed up the beach, thumping driftwood logs together, then getting sucked back, gradually revealing wet sand, which smelled like the bottom of the sea. Foghorns hooted. Gulls wheeled on their wingtips.
We sat for a long time, just breathing and smiling, glad to be alive and part of all this.