This year, The Big Music decided to give Ireland a summer. Swimming this evening was like writing a momentary poem – walking down to the beach under the leafy arch of the trees, with the brimming tide and dipping sky merging gracefully in the view ahead. Children on the rocks, a couple of guys talking as they looked out over the rails at a distant speedboat, resting silently some distance out … People lighting up Thai lanterns and watching them rise up into the sky, where the moon was also rising.
Everything still and velvet, indigo and gold. The sea is calm like a blue, rippling lawn. I leave my stuff on the rocks. A bunch of kids nearby are talking in Portuguese. Stepping down into water – three splashes over face, shoulders, back – and then forward into the the sea, which closes over me like a velvet evening cloak. A lone rock peeps up over high tide.
Swimming North – the cliffs above me with each blade of tall grass crisp against an apricot sky. Swimming is like riding a motorcycle – you and nature – wind and sky on a bike, water and sky in the ocean. And you there in the middle – far from everything else except the simple now. Ahead – the sweep of Killiney beach, over to the Sorrento Terrace, punctuated by Dalkey Island.
Swimming South, or perhaps to the “sunny south-east” which is now living up to its name, there is Bray head and the moon in the sky. A cluster of fishermen have lit a small fire down the beach, two dogs are wag-tailing around it, the rods lean out as the lines pull into the calm water. Calm, but sounds of people talking, laughing. Humans being happy – what an inspiration. Another lantern floats up …
The air is still warm, the stones remembering the truly awe-inspiring heat of the day. How is it that we are getting Mediterranean weather? Have God’s Google maps got cross-pixelated?
Time to get out of the water – the encroaching darkness seems strangely gentle, not like the terrifying dark of winter. We could be in Northern California. We could be in Turkey. But the woman contemplating the bay from the overlook as I leave the beach gets it right. When the weather is good, there is no other place to be but Ireland. There – it has to be said.