Wednesday 30 April 2008

Devon Dreams

I am standing with my daughter on Baggy Point in the thin sunshine which comes after a squall. I grip her hand more tightly than usual as we look into the frothing water below, where the rock has fallen away from the cliff in dense slices. Gulls wheel and mewl and flap against the sheer edge. The scale is so unfamiliar it is hard to get into perspective. I gaze into the distance towards other land masses over silent seas. I remember when it was my hand that was held firmly and I felt and saw for the first time. Memories haunt me. It’s so long ago and I don’t know how that's happened. So suddenly. And now here I am, creating ghosts for my daughter.

She looks across the grassy space to the bay and gets out her little binoculars. She peers intently into them and squeals “Everything is so close!” and giggles. Squeal, giggle squeal, giggle. Looking towards where the boats are moored she says “Daddy…”


“Are those buoys or girls?”

I start to explain but I can’t make her understand the spellings and the pronunciation and anyway it doesn’t matter. “Buoys.” I say. “They’re all buoys.”

She thinks for a moment and then says. “What do you do if you want to have a cup of tea on a boat?”

“Well, some of them have tiny kitchens.” I reply.

“Are they as small as an ant?”

I smile. Perspective is a difficult thing up here in this strange rocky world. As the wind gets up I suggest we go and get some hot chocolate. My daughter’s eyes sparkle and a memory starts to form.