Wednesday, 13 March 2013


The little bay

I took the dogs to the headland this morning.
The tide was right out, the little bay awash with seaweed, the water thick with seagulls.
The smell of the sea was so intense, it caught me in the back of the throat and sent me spinning through the years, to other days, other beaches, other dogs. Memories of another lifetime, it seemed, way back when time wasn't measured because it didn't matter.
Those days didn't feel like thirty years ago, but they did feel as if they'd slipped beyond reach.

Time changes as you get older. It is no longer a haphazard, generously proportioned patchwork, a kaleidoscope of shifting possibilities, an empty frame in which you are creating the picture.
It becomes mean and sly and penny-pinching. It stands at your side, licking the end of its pencil and noting everything down. Nothing slips by unremarked, and one way or another, everything must be paid for - even though the hours it measures out to you slip through your fingers like water.
But it's only when the past comes swooping back to grab you, that you realise how much everything has changed.

I found myself walking through the rough grass aching for days and people - for eras - that will never be again.

But it was a blue morning, calm and quiet, the sun warm on my back.
The headland horses came to say hello as we passed on our way to the lumpy dunes where the dogs love to race, or lie in the grass and ambush each other.

The headland horses come to say hello

It's probably the miniature hills and dells that make the headland so exciting for them. Whoever is playing the hare can never quite tell if she's about to be caught.
And it was only when I got to the top of the highest lump and looked back, I saw that one of the mares has had her foal. The tiny, dark creature was standing close to her, still wide-eyed at this world of mornings and evenings, of sunlight and starlight - too young to realise that all these things are just marking the passage of time.

Later, the tanker-man came to deliver heating oil. We stood in the sunshine and exchanged news. He always knows far more of what is going on than I do.
He was looking pensive as well, despite the spring weather.
'Someone up the road killed himself, this morning,' he told me.
I'd seen an ambulance, going past our gate - a rare sight in this quiet place.
Shocked, silenced, I didn't know what to say.
Tragically - in this quiet place - it seems to happen more and more these days.
'You never know how it is with people,' he said, eventually.

You never do.


  1. That's a very sad blog post :( Hope you are OK

  2. Ach, Lorely, this hit home hard. For too many months, I have been in the midst of noticing my life gone by... it is a rite of passage, also a right, to mourn the losses and never-mores.

    Lovely post, Lorely....


  3. It is a very strange thing that you should have encountered that today. There is something going on with the world, something in the air these days.
    What is point!
    I'm glad you have your two dogs Lol. x

  4. Your words almost brought me to tears. You have eloquently written what I have been feeling. Life is slipping by and the world is changing out of recognition. There are huge changes ahead and yet the future remains unknown. It is such a beautiful yet so scary a place. I woke early this morning and my mind was spinning with a multitude of thoughts. Perhaps when we are young the changes are exciting but as one gets older and the bounce in our step has lost some of its spring those changes seem much more challenging. I finally got up, made myself some tea and found your blog. It is comforting to know others are feeling the same way.

  5. I nave been so caught up in my own problems and just getting but I would dearly love to touch base in the present with you and Rob and make it not times gone by but friends together again...

  6. I'm not sure how I came across your blog but it's serendipidous(sp?)...I am 51 and have been going through many of these thoughts since my sister died suddenly 2 years ago. She was only 52. So I suppose it's the awareness of our own mortality that brings these ideas about. I look at younger people and only hope they can follow their hearts and live life to the fullest.
    It's so sad to hear whats going on in Ireland. When I worked for the Post Office, the Union's motto was "The Struggle Continues". I always thought that appropriate for Ireland as well. Where on the coast do you live? I travelled around the country with my dad a few years ago and felt very connected to our long ago ancestors.

  7. Very sad, the passing of your neighbour.
    We must live each moment to its fullest as life is so short for all of us.
    We must also enjoy the beauty that surrounds us (as you do of course).

  8. So true Lorely. You never do.
    I felt those memories of another lifetime today.
    I would like to go back thirty years and try again. Get it right.
    Gorgeous words Lorely.

  9. WE never do is what I was thinking Lorely. You got me thinking.
    Also I couldn't help but wonder about the little gray mare in the second picture. Was it her you were talking about that had her foal?

  10. Another beautifully written post. The longer we live, the more we have to remember and sometimes mourn. I think there is also something about realising that the end of one's life is no longer impossibly distant that throws all one's memories and experiences into a different light. As for the man who killed himself, who knows what private griefs he faced. I don't think I could kill myself, so I find it shocking when someone else takes the decision to end his or her own life. I fear to imagine how the decision was reached.

  11. Thank you all for your comments. I have been without the internet for a week, so haven't been able to reply to you all, or even see the comments you left!
    I'm glad this touched a chord for so many people. It is difficult looking back - such happy memories, but such a sad feeling that so many things have gone and won't be again.
    In answer to your question Kerry, we live in Sligo on the west coast. I'm so glad you like my blog. I hope you will come back again sometime!
    And in answer to you Pix, yes, it was the grey mare who had the first foal!


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