Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Right now

Right now in Scotland, far in the north where the light lies long and cool and no trees grow, there is an empty beach. Maybe gulls cry in the distance, maybe the brown moor is dotted with sheep droppings. The seawater is so clear that it's turquoise but Arctic-cold. The wind hauls in from the west and there is no land on the horizon.

On that beach, maybe, a waterfall drops from a cliff, spilling peaty water onto the sand. Maybe the waterfall has scoured a deep pool on the beach. Maybe at the back of that pool there is a dark fissure in the rock, little more than a cleft but reeking of seaweed and wet sand and the cold dank exhalation of underground.

And maybe in that cave is ... what? Who? An old man made of feathers? A gleaming cup? A floor spongy with dead fish? The smell of heather and sunlight? A doll made of bones?

Somewhere else there is no land to be seen, nor water, nothing but towering snowy clouds and the blue muscular edges of a thunderstorm. The air smells of rain and electricity, and whistles past your ears as you flutter like a dry leaf through darkness and light.

Or maybe it's a thin, thin, gleaming trickle of water across a verdant stretch of cropped grass, a bright meadow on a sunny day with a gurgling creek. Songbirds fill the trees and you shade your eyes with your hand to see ... what? Smoke behind the mountains? Something in the creek? Dark birds?

A whale dives and bends his dripping tail to follow the sinking curve of his body; a wooden ship drives up on shore with a rattling scrape; a tree bends in an autumn gale, pale with leaves in the rain.

I have no lesson; no Words of Wisdom® to impart about writing. Just scenes that flicker through my head and which I alternately -- depending on mood -- call inspirations or distractions. We do, after all, find various creative reasons not to write!

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