21 July 2011

That Which We Told Ourselves Was True

Of all the things under the sun, worn seashells always made Paddy think of what it meant to live a good life.  Walking the strand in the morning, mug of coffee spiked with a little cognac, he always picked up shells no matter how full his pockets.  Morrigan, his grizzled and faithful Irish setter, had learned to spot them and often would bring him prizes she had found in the sand and seaweed along the tideline.  The rough textures and nacreous innards were yin and yang, Paddy thought. And who knows what they once held.

The wind was sharp this morning.  The sky was fading indigo tinged with a silver that dappled the breakers rolling in off the Atlantic.  Paddy ambled slowly along the scalloped edge of the wrack, Morrigan looping back and forth in front like a horizontal sine wave.  Or half-infinities, the man imagined and smiled at the thought.  Briefly he considered that his dog was tracing out runes and sigils like a four-legged shaman divining his fate.  If only he could decipher the symbols, maybe he would discover that path he seemed to have missed.  For a heartbeat or two, he considered asking the dog what she thought.  The absurdity made him laugh, the sound ringing in the salt air like iron bells after a long rest.

"What say ye, Morrigan?  Is this the way, lass?" he called out to the dog.

Morrigan lifted her snout from the small but intriguing pile of shells and bones through which she had been rooting.  She cocked her head at the sound of her master's voice.  Her deep brown eyes held his gaze, her nose twitching and she began to wag her tail.  The expression on her face seemed to say "I have no idea what you mean, but I'm happy to not have an idea!"  Paddy laughed at the sweet goofiness of it.  He grew quiet and turned to gaze out over the syrupy emerald sea.  On the horizon a freighter disappeared into the sky.

"I suppose your right, girl", Paddy said to himself, "Guess we'll keep looking."

Their shadows lean in the morning sun, dog and man reflecting each other, picking up shells as their footprints slowly melted into the sea.


  1. Yin and yang, indigo and silver. a goofy dog...it's all here.

  2. Great post, can't wait for the book.

  3. Brilliant! I could see familiarity's here! One of the best pieces I read in ages...

  4. its cool how you can so easily paint a picture for us to explore. The mark of a great writer is all over this


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...