Grebe inspires optimistic song at my Low Ebb
IT is a rare privilege that I have always treasured being a writer, you have a platform, a voice, a medium to share with the world the things you love, but these delights come with a responsibility, not least to tell it as it is, and never try and pull the wool over your readers’ eyes.
Writing is like singing in front of an audience, something else I have been lucky enough to do for 40 years, and is another example of sharing your favourite things with others. Both mediums are heart on the sleeve stuff, and your head is well and truly above the parapet for stray shots from left of centre, and believe me in four decades there have been a few near misses and one or two direct hits.
In the meantime, I just wanted to say thanks to the readers who showed concern and asked after my wellbeing when I published the piece about 2017’s down sides, which culminated in the passing of the mighty Oaf just before Christmas.
I was very touched, but as grateful as I was the article was no bid for sympathy; as nothing is surer than there are many, many people much worse off than me.
It was more of a eulogy to life, a treatise, a gentle caress of the soul because in spite of relatively grim times, there are often rainbows and silver linings around the corner; in my case in the middle of the quite remarkable Blanket Bog of Carna in Connemara, Co Galway.
Half-a-mile away my son, Culain, was proposing to his Chloe on Moyrus Strand, while my darling granddaughter Orlaith built castles, my friends lit a driftwood fire and my daughter and her Sam were filming for their A-Levels.
I watched on, saw nothing and drove off before parking up and reflecting on the days long gone from Yesterday Land.
Wallowing will often get you nowhere, although having said that, ‘Low Ebb’, was written on the side of that country lane near a fast-flowing torrent between the Atlantic and a small lough; twice a day the fresh water combined with the salt to create a soup of brine whirlpools.
In spite of the watery turmoil, my little critter, a little grebe in fact, was always diving, always hopeful of another mouthful.
The bird, a tiny optimist, me, a 19-stone heavy treader with more in common than you might think.
‘Low Ebb’ will soon be a song and I hope you enjoy it, but if not go gentle on this rufty tufty propforward.
Hello little critter in the fast-flowing river, to the sea from the lake and back again. How deep can you dive? Not as deep as me I fear, sitting here as I do between the Devil and the blue. How deep can you dive? Is that all, dishevelled shallow fellow, to the first rock and back, and you with the caddis supper and me with my last. How deep do you dive? One fathom from the beach bonfire, first love and the Claddagh band bathed in gold across the strand. How deep you can dive? Not as deep as me little critter but, you made me smile on a dark day, threw me a line and I’ll be back as sure as the tide turns and sends you home beneath the two-way bridge.
Carna Bog, Connemara, main picture, and inset, a grebe
The Laughing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Padfield, Glossop