I was shelled with brick bits and the fragments of mortar. I was turned about and the hills roared to break like waves in the darkness. Wet wraps of black plastic slapped on the windows, and always on with the moaning pound of heavy seas. Now and then a moon loomed smiling above the wreckage, no friend of mine as the tin roof became a sail and departed, trailing my cash and time like petrels in the spume.
It was the worst storm I’ve ever heard. But if This House Had Been Far Out At Sea All Night, the morning made landfall in perfect peace. Sheep rose from the rushes. Cattle stood and trod the bellows. Stepping round the busted hull of my shed, I watched gulls streaming out to the Firth below me; gulls above the boneyard and the kirk steeple. And down in the town in the porter brown water, salmon lay headwards to the leaves and the hill solution. Trust me – I saw them from the stone bridge; even as the storm raged, they’d sipped at the ripples and slept like kennelled dogs.
It’s only now with two days of snow behind me that I can feel the settlement. Two days of cold weather and now a snipe lies in the lump of every cundy. I’ve never seen them in such numbers, and the haws are raked and hammered by thrushes. Then in the backless spray of Sunday’s failing, I watched woodcock teem from the carrs and the river’s edge in turns of ten and twelve. You’d have liked to’ve seen them go, man; flying to the snow and the sloe-back sludge where the beasts were feeding in the stars.
You’d have said That was fine, and perhaps it made you feel alive.