This side of the embrace

(Photo by Neil and Cathy Carey)
(Photo by Neil and Cathy Carey)

We’re here on this shore of the Atlantic, after driving through sleet and slush and rain, and spending a night in our sister’s cozy home. We tried to sleep, but the dog was restless all night (there was a cat to meet), and made a pathetic whining sound for hours. We arrived on the Cape in cloud and cold, grateful to be at our home-away-from-home.

After lunch, and after the car was unloaded and the beds made and the groceries put away… we napped. As you do when you are content, and chilled, and knowing that the ocean is scouring the shore just a short walk away.

Some years ago–a lifetime ago–I took a nap on the other shore of the Atlantic, in the sheltering crook of a wall at Dún Dúchathair, to the tune of the wind and the waves.

Now we’re awake, and the evening is waiting, and Seamus Heaney, who knows something about cold rocks, windswept shores, and putting a few words together, is celebrating his birthday on that other shore (or so I imagine; he could be sitting in a coffee shop in Indianapolis, for all I know).

Lovers on Aran

The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,
Came dazzling around, into the rocks,
Came glinting, sifting from the Americas

To posess Aran. Or did Aran rush
to throw wide arms of rock around a tide
That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash?

Did sea define the land or land the sea?
Each drew new meaning from the waves’ collision.
Sea broke on land to full identity.

–Seamus Heaney