Will Vigar

a writer of sorts

Ullapool – Remembrance Sunday 2019 (Hebrides)

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1

The sun absent;

the moon a papercut.

Hibernal lowery.

An unexpected crunching woke me. Footsteps on gravel. A faint gruffling noise as something brushed against the chalet door; a light clack-and-scrape against the mullions. Contented grunts sounding as it reached to steal a mossy treat from beneath the step.

Across an asphalt scar,

indifferent to our presence,

prickets came to dine.

On leaving, we marvelled at the stillness of the lake.  It had frozen so quickly that a wavelet could still be seen, threatening to break, but caught; apprehended by weather. The air so cold, so tight a well-placed pin could prick it; bursting the atmosphere into shards of brittle oxygen.

Dew frozen to its surface,

A small private jetty reflects

nervously in quivering water.

The road to Ullapool winds through The Lonely Lands. Singletrack roads flanked by quartzite whorls; muricate gorse and pervious moss. A slinky polecat flashes its ermine underbelly as it runs from a large unidentified hawk, silhouetted against whetted blue skies, the only signs of life.

2

We arrived to silence and ate breakfast at a waterside café. We watched the loch breathing through condensation that shimmering on silicate walls. The streets filled with well-dressed and solemn people, all drawn towards the harbour, once a hub of the national fishing industry.

Klondykes  – long gone –

have returned the harbour

to hushed sound.

We watched as the crowd grew, blocking the roads and the harbour front.  To the west, the focus. A cenotaph. A solemn finger, pointing to the heavens. Ullapool exhaled and a Pipe Band punctuated the breathless silence. The harshness of the pipes filtered by numbed air; softened by frozen breath. The mountains by the loch providing sublime reverberation.

The dulcet brume-filtered

drone whispers its lament

over black, rigored waters.

As the service concluded, I glanced toward the Brigadoon hills. Mist slow-raced to the loch – urgent but languid – before being absorbed into its waters. The reconnection of mist and loch, a reunion of mother and child. A metaphor, perhaps?

In the mists of life…

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