Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Orkney No.629

Behind the protective sand hills, walking on flat, ragged, weather ravaged land. Gritty sand between my toes as my feet sink into their own footsteps. We go down to the bleached and swept shore. In the full push of the wind we take a trip in a blue wooden boat edged in bright red, with protective black eyes painted on it's bows. We are rowed by a giant of a man who peppers his monologues with words we understand, but he makes no sense to us - it's like he has his own private language that selects familiar words at random and mixes them with the rhythmic consonants of dolphins and strings of vowels from lullabies.

As soon as we step into the boat, water seeps in through the floor and our bare feet are stroked by the tiny waves of a captured tide as the boat gulps forward. With no time having taken place, we are drifting beside a huge sea wall looking down into the shallows. I see lots of little treasures and I dip my hands in the water to collect some - a piece of metal smoothed into a disc like a thin coin, Top shells like tiny jewelled mosaic hats, a piece of blue glass rubbed dull and speckled on one side but still clear like a bright eye on the other, a crumpled plastic label with a rubber rope thread intertwined with black crisp popping seaweed. In peeled and crackled lettering I can just about read that it says - Orkney No.629.