Fried

There’s a surge of momentum to write in the moment and pin down the smallest details of each new experience. It’s compelling, but sometimes the impetus founders and the mist comes down. You might have work to do; meetings to attend. You can’t always reach for a pen, and I start to think that growing up is busy work. I worry that by the time that I’m an adult, each day will be full as a berry, with no space left to think or write things down.

And I’ve learned that if you haven’t seized the second, be prepared to see it fade and no amount of twitching revision can recapture it. I sometimes think I’d like to write about things which happened twenty years ago, but when I try, I see that recording and recovering are two different things. I like them both, but would you fry your steak or make a stew?

Two things have happened in the last month which cannot go unrecorded, even if they’re finally run ground in the context of a note about missing the moment.

The first was found in the headlights of my truck on a forest track between Laggan and Roy Bridge. It was a wildcat, or at least a creature so close to that ancient designation that it served as a fair stand-in. It stood for a moment in the electric beams, looking across me in profile with a face as flat as a pug and a tail so thick you’d call it a brush. Then it was gone, and I hardly know how to feel at having seen the unseeable.

The second was more myself, and perhaps it struck me harder to be out on the hills of home, walking on the table-top flats of an old red mountain. Stags roared in the corries, and then a shoal of golden plover coursing past within the range of a horn-tipped crook. Looking up for an explanation, I watched an eagle turn and go back upon itself towards the bay and the bright coils of the Cree, hardly hunting but enough to spread panic in the small birds.

And that’s all I can do with them for now; two moments in the current. Ten years ago, I had time to spin lovely tales from the dags of a sheep’s fleece. Now I count myself lucky if I’m able to throw the occasional placeholder in the purring pages of a book which runs through my fingers like a rising wind.

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