Wonders of the deep and life’s whirlygig

Basking sharkOut within the sound between the islands, a basking shark takes his ease, pootling about, mouth open, as the summer calm and warmth persist unseasonably. Andrew took this photo from his boat, incredulous at the sight of such an infrequent visitor to our normally cold coastal waters. Our gentle, gigantic friend has been lurking around for a couple of weeks now, delighted with the tranquility no doubt and the prolific plankton. We are all thrilled to welcome him and enjoy his company; stay as long as you like, we call to him.

20140921_073201Within the horrid pool two crabs are feasting on limpets, the empty shells of their prey cast aside like so much litter. Their antics catch my attention in the dim morning light and I in turn catch Kemo Sabe’s with my focused pondering : anything lurking there is notable, so weird and harrowing an atmosphere pertains. The mutability of the horrid pool fascinates us both.  The residual water is refreshed by most high tides but, despite this, its depths change colour disturbingly:  sometimes an oily blue, mysterious as the night; sometimes a purple; occasionally clear and clean – as today – revealing the little monsters at their meal. An exciting homely diversion and rare sign of life in what is otherwise a deadly, despondent reservoir.  Then, on our afternoon tramp, we see that the whirligig of time has brought in his revenges. Instead of limpet shells, the crabs’ carcases are now detritus, the backs torn from the bodies, the flesh eaten, probably by one of the many herons hunting round the rocks these days. Such is life. Short and sweet. Sad, nevertheless.

A fatally injured cat, white, pale grey and perfect, lies dead in the middle of the road near the dunes as we drive down to begin our morning run. Its expression is peaceful once it is moved, as though sleeping, to the pavement. Nine lives lived. On the beach, not far from the horrid pool, a young puffin, left over from the exodus which has stripped him of his friends, hobbles disconsolately into the safety of the sea, where nature intended him to thrive. He could not leave with the others and he will not survive long, injured as he is. We pass by, without upsetting him, commending his little soul to the Great Spirit. The geese are returning, croaking maniacally, heralding crispness in the air which must perforce arrive some time soon. Life and death, big and small. On and on, round and round we go. Ordinary and extraordinary.

 

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