A North Wind over the Bay

They come down here every morning early, just after sunrise, and judge the mood of the sea; generous, hostile, selfish, placid, forgiving, it could be any of these.  When skies are cloudless and a pink glow rests along the eastern horizon, as the darkness shrinks away and the light grows to fill the arc of the bay, then the promise is made.  A sharp north wind nips the noses and freezes the feet but the sea still smiles and invites them in.  A fine day, it whispers, cloudless, sun soaked, yet white horses are already galloping across the surface of the sea and the promise has lost its gilt edge.  Instead, a rough ride is promised to anyone daring to step on board.  Nets are lying on the quay.  Pots are being loaded, chains unfastened and ropes unfurled.  Engines splutter and, choked with fumes, cough and leap into life as the white foam edges the tide.  Cats prowl along the quay tempted by the fishy aroma, content to settle and wait for the return of the boats.  At the end of a cloudless day, when the wind has turned to a stiff breeze, the fleet returns and pulls up on the shore, letting go of its slippery, shining catch.  Then the circling gulls swoop while the cats still wait patiently.

Then the holiday makers come, licking ice cream cones, braving the chill in summer vests and sandals, goose bumps popping up on their naked limbs.  The fruits of the sea add a pungency to the sickly sweetness of rum and raisin and eyes squint seawards, as the queues grow for the evening trip around the bay.  Sea shore smells of seaweed, fish offal, diesel and suntan cream mix with the aroma of frying chips and spilt beer, all adding their contribution to the atmosphere of this once peaceful haven.  Still the sun shines and still the wind blows.  The wary wrap robes around frozen shoulders and stand in the lea of the wind, grasping hungrily the welcome heat of the dying sun.  The pink glow on the western horizon flushes the white walled houses, as the last gleam sips into the sea and azure turns to navy.  Lights lie along the harbour wall and music streams from a dozen bar room doors.

1 thought on “A North Wind over the Bay

  1. I like the movement and rhythm in this. It starts slowly, as if the story is waking up, then the different characters (fisherman, cats, gulls …) pick up and move at their own pace. Finally it settles. Very nice. (Don’t like the smell though :P)

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