Posted by: smithdavid | February 24, 2013

The Only Thing

Killarney is not as I remember. Maybe it’s the fact that the sun is shining. Maybe it’s because my part-namesake, Dave Murray, was driving last time and all I saw was gray clouds despite our good humour. Maybe it’s just because that that was 11 years ago and so much has passed since then: I’ve almost settled permanently in Ireland but then left; Dave’s love of speed compelled him to take one knee-on-tarmac Wicklow hairpin too many; Jess, my niece, born on that day that Dave checked-out, is now nine.

I drop Helen on the main road so that she can meet friends. We’ve driven up from Clonakilty this morning. Last night, exhausted by my 3 hour surf in Incheydoney, I lay on one of the couches by the coal stove and she on the other. Each time the flames in the stove began to subside we added wood or turf. We talked about those things that almost had me settled in Dublin, the things that pushed her away from Dublin, and where all these things converge.  She spoke about her recently converted studio and how she wants, no needs, to paint more. I spoke about how I want to write more. And surf more.

some sun in inch strand

some sun in inch strand

I stop at Tesco to get a few things for later. I’m about to leave but then turn back. There is one last thing. I’ll be in the water for some time and there is just enough sun around to need sun cream.

Now I’m taking the R561. Every now and then I look to the map in my Stormrider guide to make sure I’m on track for Inch Strand. After a long stretch I see a bend in the road and a cluster of houses. To the left is a narrow lane that leads to a car park. Campers line the lane, there is just enough room to get by. There is an empty  parking bay near the beach itself. Soon I have my suit on and am walking to the sea. The wind is shifting sand along and I have to hold on tight to Matilda.

To my left the beach stretches out almost as far as I can see. The saying goes that only in Ireland is an inch a mile long.

It’s an easy paddle out back and the wave breaks over a long stretch so there is space for everyone. I turn and paddle for a wave. By rights it should drag Matilda along and I should be up, ready to take the drop again. But it leaves me behind. Quickly, I turn and paddle for another. Same result. Maybe it’ll be one of those days again, maybe the bliss of dropping down the face time and again yesterday will be diluted by a fruitless day today.

clean lines at inch strand

clean lines at inch strand

I sit on Matilda and watch as a wave goes through and breaks and as it does the wind throws some water from the lip into the air and there is a fine spray and in it a rainbow forms. For this moment the only thing I am aware of is the rainbow.

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