Wednesday, 29 August 2007


It was full moon last night and one of those skies packed with clouds, so the moon had to jostle and elbow her way out between them. Whenever she did, she left the clouds around her the colour of bruises. Each time, they soon ganged up on her again and shut out the light. Today, they have taken their revenge and it has rained all day.

Big moon means big tides and with low pressure they are even bigger. Yesterday evening I watched the tide come in, up, up, up over the top of the seaweed, up over the rock where we light bonfires, up almost onto the grass.

The water level began to fall again as night fell, as if the tide was taking the light away as well as the sea. Night ebbed in. Why do we say night falls? Darkness rises. Shadows deepen at low levels first, under trees. The earth breathes blackness out and up into the sky, which is the last place to go dark.

As the water dropped, the bows and skerries re-emerged and the seals wriggled onto them to snooze. Low tide was sometime in the middle of the night. I slept long and woke to it right back in, almost lapping at the feet of the caravan. Tonight it will be even higher. I've never understood why the highest tide should be two days after the full and new moons, rather than on the same night. Why the time-lag?

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