Posted by: smithdavid | March 10, 2013

Away from all that is fixed

There is a different feel to this Easter Sunday morning than there has been to most in the past. I’m in a steel post bed which is sitting on a sanded and varnished timber floor. Beyond the timber framed window, a farm house sits on a rolling, vivid green hill that rises up towards the gray sky. You would be forgiven for thinking I’m in a country guest house. But I’m not. It’s Maire and Sean’s (friends of Helen) near Beaufort, County Kerry (a 20 min drive from Inch Strand). They’ve added to and renovated the place themselves. It’s easily the best Irish country house I’ve stayed in.

Downstairs, Maire is busy at a double doored, enameled cream gas cooker. Sean has baby Aebhean (pronounced Eveen) on his knee. He bounces her and teases her gently. His accent is possibly the strangest I’ve heard – deep Kerry lilt mixed with casual Kiwi drawl. Behind him is the meticulously crafted stone wall of the dining room. Sean built it himself after attending a stone mason’s course when things went quiet in landscaping.

a rolling, vivid green hill...

a rolling, vivid green hill…

It’s almost like the care they’ve taken in renovating their house radiates a pervasive calm. Despite this, something within is uneasy. It’s not the sodden, gray, low-ceilinged unease I’ve felt before in Ireland. It’s ethereal and light and it’s urging me to move.

My wetsuit is in the washing room behind the kitchen. It’s still damp but I expected that and it’s not a cold day.

Now I’m back in Inch car park. The surf report for today is not great and I can see why. Yesterday’s cross wind has angled southwards and is now just about on-shore. As a result the waves are being flattened and there are few dark figures bobbing out back. Perhaps it’s (relative) beginner’s enthusiasm, perhaps it’s stubbornness, perhaps it’s the fact that I get to surf so rarely but something makes me put the suit on and head out.

I pick the fisherman that I walked past on the way to the ocean as a marker now that I’m out back. Every now and then I look up for him to make sure I haven’t drifted too far down the strand. The waves are no better now that I’m in their range. But every now and then there is just enough in one to make me turn and paddle. And on some of those occasions, I actually get up and ride for a while.

there are few dark figures paddling out back...

there are few dark figures paddling out back…

There is the vital feel of salt water on my skin and the weary satisfaction after I catch my breath after a wave. I stay out for a long time but I know somewhere back in the country house near Beaufort, back in reality, Maire is preparing a meal.

Nicky walks past when I’m back in the car park changing. ‘Come to the camper for a cup of tea when you’re done,’ he says.

So now we sit and talk about work and how it really gets in the way of surfing and what jobs you could potentially do that would allow for more surf time. My earlier surf and now this talk of surfing resonates that part of me that earlier felt uneasy. The feeling has a different quality now. It’s expansive and universal and it’s nudging me away from all that is fixed and rigid.



  1. I love this.

    • thanks for reading and the great comment. dave

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