4th August


You pull in to a passing place to let the van by. Impatient bastard. Sure, probably he has twenty more drops to make before he can knock off, and the distances between drops will be big around here and some of the addresses not that easy to find. No doubt he doesn’t need to be stuck behind you, but you certainly don’t need him tailgating you on this twisting single-track road. And wouldn’t you think, with the road, and the weather, and the views at every turn, he might just ease his foot off the pedal, think to himself, Well, these parcels will get where they’re going sooner or later, so why not make it later? No, it doesn’t work like that. You wish it did, for his sake if for nobody else’s. Nobody else would be the worse for it.

You are about to pull out again when you catch yourself about to pull out. Wait a minute. You apply the handbrake, lower the window, switch off the engine. The tide is in, the loch full, blue and beautiful. Two horses in a field to your left, cows and sheep dotted across the fields to your right, down to the sea, as if the hand of some celestial modeller had placed them just so on the green slopes. Across the loch, three or four low houses, stone-built, small-windowed, one at least with a corrugated-tin roof. They shimmer in the sun, floating just above the water, like ghosts of houses.

You sit and watch for as long as it takes to sit and watch. A bee drones by. You scribble down a few words, a net to catch the moment. You know that you won’t really catch it.

Sometimes a day cracks open like this. It reveals another day, as a rose opens to reveal another folded layer of rose. Those houses will never again haunt the loch like that. Those animals will never occupy the fields in that same patternless pattern. You will never pull into this passing place and let the window down to this particular moment. The van driver and his urgency are gone. Let them go further. Wait another minute. Wait.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Subscribe here for more stories & music