Posted by: smithdavid | July 22, 2012


All is peaceful as I walk along Rossnowlagh. The only light comes from the Sandhouse up ahead. Behind me, the winding road that leads to Smuggler’s. I’ve eaten well and there was wine. The aches in my body from the earlier surf bring a sense of satisfaction – a good shift was put in. I hear the waves rolling in. Looking to my left the spotlight just reaches them, lights up the white froth. I’m looking forward to lying my head down, allowing sleep to overwhelm me.

‘Take your pick, you’re the only one staying,’ Neil from Finn McCool’s said earlier when I arrived. The lodge has just opened for the summer. A night alone will suit me, I thought, I’m used to it in my apartment. Now I lie down on one of the bunks – in a minute or two peace will descend on me.

the road to smugglers’

By my body twitches and my mind races from one thing to the next. I try just to breathe, I know the score here, I’ve been there before. Where I not alone the impasse of the situation back in Dublin a few years ago would not be so vivid. But even though it’s been a while, I’ve yet to fully accept it. So the loop begins, logic followed by counter-argument, followed by more logic. It’s endless.

I turn the lights on and read my book. Yesterday it was riveting, now it’s laboured and grating. I keep going for a while and then turn the lights off. There is a hammering from the radiator, the heating is just on after a long layoff, water is pulsing against the airlocks.

I change bunks and try to settle. This surf trip was supposed to be about warm dusks out  back and wave after wave of weightlessness – I’ve almost forgotten the earlier pleasure.

If the future brings the reward of someone new, or perfect waves tomorrow or this experience is recorded in a bestselling book, then this night will be worth it. My mind continues to flicker.

At last, when my attention has skipped of somewhere else, I drift into sleep.

When I wake I can feel it’s been a short, light sleep. I go through eating and suiting up and getting out in a daze.

But now I’m out. I should feel exhausted but I don’t; I should be thinking bitterly of a poor night’s sleep but I’m not; I should be resentful that despite the forecasts it’s grey and flat but I’m not.

grey and flat

My mind flickers back to the dusk and the camera and the presence on Friday night. Then that one clean wave from yesterday. I think what I would be doing if I wasn’t surfing. A small swell forms and I turn and paddle and I catch it and it’s a short, insipid ride. But it’s enough.



  1. “But it’s enough.”

    Your writing puts me there. In that moment.

    Thank you.

    • thanks for your continued reading tom.

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