Thursday, 25 February 2016

The Windmill House

The sky has changed from this morning from a hazy grey to a brilliant, clear blue. White cumulus clouds float motionless above the roof of the house and the sun shines hot on the back of my neck and uncovered head.
I have crossed the causeway to the sounds of herring gulls screeching their familiar call. Now the sound has changed to the gentle chirruping of reed warblers as they dart in and out of the wet marram grass, which blankets this part of the island from the dunes on the sand to the gorse bushes around the pond. The old windmill still stands, tall and sail-less as it surveys the shore, watching the endless tides ebb and flow, day in day out, through all seasons.
  It was winter the first time I met you here. You stood on the turrets of the mill, waving and calling to me as the wind tried to blow you from the top. Your words sailed away and out on the tide leaving me not knowing what it was you’d said. The door of the house opens outwards into the heather-like patches of purple vetch and celandine. You said it was so that when the snow came you could push it away from the door and would never be trapped on the inside. But snow never stays long here - the salt in the air and the sea itself keep it from settling on the ground.
The stone floor of the kitchen felt icy even through my fur lined boots and you ushered me towards the open fire, crackling and sparking with driftwood picked from the beach. We warmed ourselves and drank hot coffee in large mugs, cupping our hands to keep in as much heat as possible.
We lay on a mattress on the floor of an upstairs room and looked out at the moon rising over the sea, round and white sending shafts of light sparkling onto the water. Real moon beams. We watched the sun set over the land in vertical rainbows in pink and purple splendorous skies.
In the morning the sun sent streams of light onto the cold stone floor and warmed us with it’s rays. You said that you would never leave this place and I knew that was true.

Today it is hard to imagine winter ever being here. There is a humming in the air, both from the temperature and the bees hovering around the honeysuckle crawling up and over the porch. I reach out and grasp the metal door handle, pulling it towards me. But the door is locked tight and I don’t have the key. The windows are covered with net curtains and though I peer through the glass, all I see is my own reflection looking back at me.
  Above my head a single Kite hovers and then swoops down over the water of the pond. It plucks something small from the reeds- a mouse or shrew, I can’t tell- and flies off with it’s catch. I feel the beat of it’s wings and then nothing, as the sun beats down causing the blood to race and my head to pound. In the distance the sea laps gently onto the half sand half mud beach as the tide begins to turn.

Some say they saw you on the beach that morning barefoot by the rockpools and then pacing that stretch of sand. You stood for a while staring towards the horizon. Then you walked. Straight out across the sand through the rivulets of water, into the shallow waves and then the breakers.

And the Kite soared in the sky, watching and knowing everything.