Posted by: smithdavid | August 19, 2012


I’m sitting in The Gas Light Restaurant & B&B. Beyond the conservatory-style windows, down over the cliff, the light is finally fading on Rossnowlagh beach. There are lines of swell forming half a mile out to see. These aren’t the clean, sharp lines of an off-shore wind. These lines contain the same energy but it is fractured and it swirls without focus.

The two months that have passed since my last visit have been the same. London was different from what we thought. We underestimated it and I froze and everything swelled up and then broke on top of me before I could move. I feel I’m still being washed up in the aftermath.


This trip to Ireland was supposed to be my respite, my lull before the next set. I was asked six months ago, long before there was talk of London, if I could make Emmet & Annette’s big day. There was only one answer to give.

And so I was sitting in Heathrow, three days ago, the night before the wedding. I’d left the turmoil of London behind; I’d started to focus on the next day – there would be space to breathe. But then the call came in. The words were quiet and gentle: there’s no easy way to tell you this, so I’ll just come out with it – she got engaged… Everything started spinning and my chest became a clenched fist. All the logic that got me to end things became hazy and irrelevant and untrue. I walked though security dazed, thinking that I shouldn’t be reeling this way.

For a while, at the wedding, I rehashed it all – was I unfair, could it have been different? But when I was still for a time there was a sense of knowing, just like you know that one wave will follow the next.


gray skies, gray sea…

Someone is playing a guitar near me in the Gas Light. The music picks me up and carries me. Today’s surf was mediocre – the waves were frantic but gutless, it rained from time to time. When I looked up it was gray, when I looked at the water it was gray. It was like the elements had looked right into me and mirrored what they saw. Despite the bleakness though there was a sense of harmony, like things are one way now and they should be accepted as they are because there is nothing else you can do.

And now I think of all the times I was in the ocean and I saw a massive wall of water rise in front of me. And on each of these occasions if I were fitter or more skilful or more experienced, things might have turned out differently. But not much. The ocean is a vast, perpetual, unknowable force and I am entirely at its whim. All I can do in the face of its great mystery is let it take me.

…a rainbow on the gray canvas of the horizon

I look out over Donegal Bay again. The final rays of sun have painted a rainbow on the gray canvas of the horizon.

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