Carole Ann Smith
Mill Cove, a Moment in Time
Clouds are darkening out at sea, but in Mill Cove the water ripples gently around bright orange buoys, waiting for summer boats. At the head of the cove, two fishermen’s cottages are reflected in the water. The scene is reminiscent of a painting.
I sit on a patch of spongy grass, sheltered from the evening breeze by an outcrop of slate rock, and stare down at this haven in the Irish Sea.
‘Surround’ sound is supplied courtesy of various birds, tweeting and twittering. A blackbird, singing his sweet tune, sounds poignant in complete contrast to the raucous notes from a nearby crow. The lowing of cows is soothing as they communicate to one another across the hills. Two brown rabbits are playing in the field below, unaware of my presence. The intermittent sound of a tractor, still working in the fields, carries across the water.
Hiding under crisp, brown bracken, are clumps of violets, and, everywhere, bright yellow gorse in full bloom. I marvel at the way plants grow out of the rock. I touch a cushion of moss and feel smooth grey lichen and springy lilac-flowered heath.
From the steep track to the harbour on the opposite side of the cove, I watch a red car drive down and onto the stone pier. Muffled voices carry. Noisy children rush about, shouting and laughing; the exhilaration, perhaps, of having just arrived on holiday. I can hear their running footsteps. One child gallops up and down the pier like a horse.
A dog barks from the farm behind me. The tractor is going home. Soon the red car leaves. I watch its alien presence disappear back up the hill, taking its noisy occupants away.
The sun has now set amongst cloud. There are no street lights to spoil this natural place, no orange glare as soon as dusk falls. The sky will soon be full of stars in a huge vault of navy-blue. In the distance the Galley Head Lighthouse will warn ships at sea.
Despite the chill, I feel cloaked in warmth, not wishing to move from the security of my niche. I want to absorb every detail of this moment. Tomorrow night it will all seem like a dream as I sail on the Swansea Cork ferry, back to Wales and reality.
Published in Ireland’s Eye, issue 273, September 2003
6 Dominick Street, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland