Friday, December 21, 2007

Visiting Briongloid, on Solstice Eve

It is late in the afternoon when I arrive at the cove; tomorrow will be the winter solstice, and a copper-gold sun is already sinking to meet the far shore. At the cove-mouth, a heavy swell is bursting against the cliffs, the huge eruptions of spray made brilliant by the sunset. Under a clear blue sky and a rising moon, the sea is cold, furious, and beautiful. Launching the dinghy, I open the throttle wide, and make a dash for Briongloid, taking a disconcertingly high swell on my beam as I cross the cove.

Coming among the moorings, our little yacht cuts a lonely figure, floating in a sea of empty buoys. Winter neglect shows only as a slightly greener waterline; weeks of storms have blown harmlessly past her. In the cabin, lights and radio snap to life; bright LEDs on the charging panel announce that the last of the sun is trickling to the battery. The cabin sole (under a foot and a half of water in my nightmares), pumps dry in seconds. Back on deck, Briongloid moans quietly as the near-gale strums her rigging- she misses the sea, and I too am suddenly hungry for open water; but the light is fading fast now. I tumble into the dinghy, and turn for home… and our little boat is alone again, waiting quietly for the turn of the year.

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