Sunday, 8 March 2009
Inch Island through sunglasses
Sunglasses & rucksack, hiking boots & hats, we leave home at 10,55 a.m.
The city is desert.
We only see five men going to their car.
One of them hangs back, taking snapshots of the empty streets in a rather frantic way.
We are like in the film of yesterday: we don't talk, just walk.
It's me who is going to drive. She changes destination. Not anymore the Burt Castle.
I start the engine and then put the gear.
The car moves.
We are leaving.
We have parked the car: it's 11,35 a.m.
We start hiking.
On the right, black crows are flying and then land on a green field where there already are white geese.
The green field is separated from us by a stream whose water bubbles.
On the left side, a mound, taller than us, runs parallel to our path. On top of it, the wind blows amongst the row of trees.
Behind us, Grianan Aileach, from its height, watches our way.
In front of us, in line with Grianan Aileach, seems to wait for us another mountain.
We reach a little wood. When inside, we hear birds cheaping.
Once outside, we encounter a first bridge: it's accessible.
However, fallen branches and brambles block the access to a second bridge: seemingly, we have to go back.
Yet, there's a Tready Point Hide: we look for the bridge to Inch Island, our destination, but we can't find it. Walking down some steps, we just advance ahead, toward Louch Swilly. Now we see the bridge, but we don't know how to reach it.
Climbing back up, I help her taking her hand: for the first time this morning our bodies touch.
Unexpectedly, she finds a gate that gives on a road: we jump over it and decide to give it a try.
Faraway, on the right, grey clouds threaten rain. The light is rather orangish. We are strangers here and if we are wrong, the rain won't make it better.
This situation reminds me of a story from my childhood: it was winter when two foreign women got lost in the mountains; after the winter, only theirs bones were found.
Now I am scared.
But then I recall that the rain here is different: here the rain is usually thin. I feel a bit more optimistic..
Sheep standing on a hill turn their faces and stare at us.
We bleat at them, but they don't answer.
They look aggressive.
Our steps must have scared some ducks that suddenly fly away and, on their turn, scare us.
I make a joke: she laughs and even gives me a clap on my bum.
I interpret this fact as she's forgiven me.
We are walking for a long time...
..When I lift my head and the bridge to Inch Island reveals itself to us:
it is an epiphany and we are like in a dream.
It looks like an oasis and all is quiet.
There are a few swans floating on the water.
They are quiet too.
As crossing the bridge, two of them come toward us, stop and start fishing:
their bodies just flip, their heads drowning the whole necks into the blue water, the feathers of the round tail questioning the sky, blue as well.
Two men, binoculars on tripods, are watching them.
We watch the men.
Now we are on Inch Island.
She is getting already hungry. It's 12,25.
Greanan Aileach is in front of us: we are half the way.
The other mountain has lost its concern about us and is not waiting anymore.
Numerous sheep's offspring are playing together: otherwise than before, they are not aggressive and bleat back at us.
Pink laundry, hanging in front of a house, makes me think of happy girls' childhoods: long hair, running and laughing on these greenish meadows.
A yellow Donegal County Concil site note declaims "half storey abitable dwelling and detached domestic garage": eventually I have found somebody who parks the car in the garage.
On top of a hill, a roofless house is letting itself be swallowed by dark ivy. A black polished SUV pops out of the bend in front of the house and is heading at us.
It speeds up as it climbs down the hill.
The road is narrow.
It is going to swallow us forever.
In a desperate attempt, or rather already to forgive our careless killer like Jesus on the cross, I greet raising my hand.
The driver raises the forefinger from the steering wheel.
I perceive he's a good man and didn't come for war.
The SUV passes us and I have to admit that it's not a violent experience: in fact, after some seconds, we are still standing and I can easily recognize my perception was right.
Now we can see the bridge that should bring us back to the mainland.
Our map apparently states that it's not practicable, but we knew it from the beginning.
Now the moment of truth has come.
The water is grey. A gloomy darkish castle oversees the entrance to the open see.
The air is even darker.
Better to quicken the pace.
On the right side of the road, while walking I catch sight, via a little hole between thick olive-green bushes, of a house. There is a little square of light-green grass in front of it and the whole thing is sorrounded by the same thick olive-green bushes.
Damp white walls sorround a turquoise door.
I recognize The Master and Margherita live here. A feeling of repletion lets me beamingly keep this secret in my heart.
A lot of sheep, this time all shouting at us.
It's a concert.
We have intruded their intimacy. The intimacy of Inch Island.
I feel discovered. But, at the same time, I feel we have reached our destination.
Now we do have to go back.
We meet a slow cyclist. His slowness makes me aware of our fast pace.
My shirt is wet.
The beginning of the bridge to go back to the mainland should be at the base of the hill which we are on top of, but we still can't see it.
To approach it, we should enter a private property.
She wouldn't like to, but it's only sort of a barn without the house, which is set apart by a high enclosing hedge, so we enter.
We smell the stink of a dog, but no trace of it, so we go further.
We reach a metallic gate.
After that, a lunar landscape, made of brown earth with plenty of yellow plants cut at the base still prevents us from viewing the beginning of the bridge.
The solitude of the place suggests me just to go, but she's still reluctant.
We decide to look for someone to ask to.
Passing by the hedge, the snout of a white dog appears from a hole in it.
At first my instinct puts myself on the defensive, but soon we understand that it's a docile dog and then I try to appeal it to me to stroke it, but it's also a shy dog, and we are left with nothing else than searching for someone else.
However, we are shy too and, rather than to ask at the house, we prefer to go back on the road.
After a few steps, we find a stable and decide to try there.
The way is occupied by a huge resting tractor. The engine is off. Nevertheless, it's impressive even so, and we are compelled to sink our shoes into the mud.
Leaning our elbows on another metallic gate, we shout an inquiring "Hello?" trying to overwhelm the moo of invisible cows.
After some moments, the first human contact of the day: a farmer slowly comes out of the stable and stops at the right distance from us.
Raising his squinting eyes, he offers us a benevolent look.
His wrinkled skin tells us his dignity.
His words, that we have to overcome our shyness:
- "I wouldn't know how to reach the bridge, I'm not from here. Try to ask at that house".
After thanking and saying goodbye, as soon as we turn about toward the road, we see the white dog running away.
Only not seen, it had come next to us.
From a bigger hole in the hedge, we see two young brothers, half-hidden, doing something together.
I call them, but they don't answer.
Then, we understand why.
The father is coming: the second human contact of the day is going to take place.
I just say that we were hiking and that we wanted to cross the bridge to go back to the mainland.
It seems that we have just to jump over the former gate, the one that led to the moon, and then we'll find easily the passage to the bridge.
Consequently, I thank and say goodbye again.
She lets me note that the man is letting us pass by his property.
While we turn around the hedge to go to the main entrance of the property, I feel a bit ashamed.
He's a nice man.
His children rather diffident.
The white dog definitely happy!
Exchanging a few words, overall to describe the path to the bridge, the little crowd accompany us to the boundary of the property.
We thank once more and say goodbye.
This time it's the right time.
Walking on the moon is exciting as I had expected.
The land is a light slope.
After shortly we can locate the beginning of the bridge and then we quickly find the passage to it.
Before starting the crossing, unconsciously knowing that our prey can't run off any longer, we set down to gain some relief and start eating the sandwiches that we had prepared earlier in the morning.
We are about to say goodbye to Inch Island: as always before saying goodbye to something known, we look around trying to fix every little detail.
The water is still grey.
On the right, the gloomy castle still oversees the entrance to the open see but now appears to be at the limit of a little bay where the caw of the surviving black crows echoes bleak.
On the left, a few white swans on the still water seem to ignore the other half of the world.
In this point of the shore, the brownish grass is wet, sealing the closeness of the two emispheres.
While we cross the bridge, a very thin rain compels us to use the hoods of our anoraks.
Water is everywhere: on our sides, on our faces.
After a while that we are walking on the mainland, her legs start hurting.
Later on, my legs start hurting too.
I mull over whether the society will accept us back, or rather whether we will accept the society back. I come to the agreement of a new viewpoint of the society.
It's 14,05 when we are back to the car.
Back to home, I take my sunglesses off and put them on the table.
The world looks so different that I wonder if I have just been dreaming..