The night sky was full of more stars than he had ever seen and the sand glittered like they were stars themselves. While the place was not dead in itself, he knew that if he stayed here, this place of beauty would kill him. There was nothing to sustain his body, no food, no water and though he knew he must, he was reluctant to leave.
He sat for a while and then regarded the boat that was waiting half way down the beach. Eventually he got up and and walked toward it. He read the name. Every boat should have a name he remembered, it keeps you alive and carries you from one place to the next. A boat for survival, travel and for pleasure. A boat to explore and to escape. He read the name:
A strange name for such a small scull but a good name and with that thought he stepped on board and cast off the rope. He was sad to leave the island, it had given him many beautiful views and he had seen magic and wonders that he had only dreamed of before. He had heard the music of the universe here but he had to leave. He did not want to die and he felt as if the journey was not meant to end here in this place at this time. He began to row and he noticed that the tide was with him, he was making good headway and with a bouyant heart he rowed with gusto. With every stroke, the water swirled around his oars and he could see the glowing forms of the creatures from the sea trailing behind him. They swirled and moved in the eddies and seemed to be forming the words of a story. He noticed with every stroke, the words swirled around his oars and seamlessly flowed together to leave a trail of sentences behind him. He delighted in this and rowed harder and read the words sometimes as they appeared on each oar, and sometimes together as they flowed as one to create the sentences. The oar on his right was carved with the motif of a great firebird and the oar on his left, with the motif of an owl; together the words they created flowed together. The firebird oar created words that he did not even recognise sometimes, strange words in different languages, often rhyming and appearing with speed. The oar carved with an owl created longer words and words that combined and linked. He noticed that without the left oar, nothing would make sense but the right oar was the oar that made the story come alive. As he rowed he was truly enjoying the story unfurling in the wash behind him.
After what seemed like hours, he began to tire. His shoulders and his back ached. He was thirsty and his rowing had slowed down and so too, the story that had started so quickly was slowing down and he realised that he no longer had the tide with him. He decided to stop and rest for a while. He was a good way from the island, he had made good ground. He would rest.
He woke up with a start! How long had he been asleep?
Getting his bearings he saw that he was mere metres from the island again. After a half day of rowing how was this possible? He cried the tears of frustration and crashed the oars into the sea around him, any words that could have formed were deformed and damaged, his anger created nothing he could read. He sat again more tired than ever and wondered at his fate and then he noticed the tide was lapping and rolling his little boat closer to the beach. The tide must have turned as he rested and washed the boat all the way back to the island again…but he had made such good progress with the tide on the way out!
He must have rested too long, too long.
He had no food nor water but with this realization came a renewed vigour. With the understanding of the tides beneath his boat, came a plan of action that gave him energy enough to smile and excitement enough for him to be impatient for the tide to turn again. He would work with the tide and also rest a little with it, he would let it take him far. He would be wary for the change in the feel of the great ocean below him. In it’s change he would rest briefly and then, when the tide had changed, he would work hard. He would work hardest to maintain his position. When the tide changed, he would row with teeth gritted and brow knit. He would not go backwards! He would stay his ground and wait out the great tide until it changed again and then he would let the ocean carry him far away.
Copyright Faramond Frie © 2016