Saturday, September 18, 2010

Seal Music

You can hear them long before you see them, on a still morning like this where the air whispers with butterfly wings. Swallows are gathering over fields of gold stubble, gathering to pull the summer away on their wings as they head for Africa. The sea breathes in shallow breath, as though sleeping, its surface, a mirror for the sky. It is warm, and there again, on the edge of the slightest breeze, is a cry that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
I thought it was a lullaby as I walked towards the cove. 
Flocks of jackdaws tumbles over cliff edge where small rockpools held the light, like moonstones in the dark rocks. A lazy buzzard lifted heavily into the blue.
Closer, and louder, closer and louder, and mournful and beautiful. Then, there in the water, two seals. It was a love song, not a lullaby.
And on the beach, on a hard bed of stones smoothed by the sea, a pup.

This year there were two pups, and in the sea two seals, perhaps mother and daughter and a bull seal courting. They say that seals return to the beach where they were pupped.
The sun was warm as I sat for a while and watched. Still so calm. I could hear the seals calling across Ramsey Sound from the stone beaches there. 
In the sky the blackest ravens circled and called and somewhere a chough joined in the song.

Above the cove a small herd of ponies basked in the morning sunshine, calm on their cliff top perch, some coloured like the bracken, others like the white lichen that grows on the rocks.

On days like this it is so hard to go home and into the studio to work, but I have things to do for my publisher for Frankfurt Book Fair, and I will come back, with a long lens. Now it is time to draw cats.


  1. Jackie -I am moved by this post: the wild beauty - imagining seal songs, hearing ravens, and the lovely shots of the ponies. This morning as I drank my coffee on the porch, a raven shrieked from the shadows of the forest, I am grateful there is much wildness here. Some day I will venture to the wilds of Wales in search of seal songs! For now, I will imagine them, thank you.

  2. Your photos and commentary are magickal. I would never get any work done there. Now, what does a jackdaw look like?

  3. Wow, how beautiful . . . I love taking these walks with you, you describe them in such amazing detail. What a huge inspiration the area you live must be.

  4. Jackdaws are naughty black birds with slate blue heads and blue eye. They love to fly, and dance in teh sky. Like pocket sized ravens and just as badly behaved.

  5. Thank you for sharing your walks. I don't blame you for not wanting to go inside and work. The sands are falling in the hourglass - The wheel of the year is turning. The cliffs, the sea, the seals, the ponies, the birds, the green fields -- I don't see how you ever get any work done!

  6. Your words are beautiful, Jackie! The line about the swallows pulling summer away on their wings is amazing. I feel you and the dogs are my walking partners... maybe someday.