11 January 2014

of the sea not of the sand

i'm walking along the strand line. i'm searching for driftwood but after these storms and wild seas there isn't much left. of anything. sea walls lie scattered like children's building blocks and sand has been devoured by ravenous waves revealing a barren rocky landscape. 

further down the coast more sand remains and i follow a vast bank of rotting kelp, uprooted like trees. dusk is approaching and i've walked 6 miles. i see black feathers which shimmer with dark green as my eyes wander and take in this dead bird at my feet. it's a shag and it has a striking golden yellow line along its beak. it's snaked neck lies limp in the curves of the sand. a few more paces and i come upon a guillemot, a deep intense velvety brown and white. a little further, a razorbill. it's beautiful beak is broad and feathered right down to it's shiny curved end. compared to the guillemot it looks like a little penguin sleeping softly on the sand. i have a strange feeling of anticipation about what type of bird i might find next but i don't want to find another bird. it is so sad. and with that thought i step around another shag. i decide i'm not going to look anymore. it's getting dark and i make my way towards the glow of the town in the distance.

only the day before we found a little auk. so tiny. so delicate. i've never seen one before. at first glance we thought it was something like a starling. but i fanned out it's teeny black webbed feet and saw it belonged to the sea.

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