by Kevin Nelson
Dangling feet off the Emerald Coast.
|The Atlantic breeze aided the brisk waves against the sheer jagged stone wall; both taking the weaker fragments of sediment in their wake. My left heel rested at the shoe’s corner, my right foot was crossed over my left shin. My nylon sweatpants blanketed my legs so the ridge that separated the fine hairs of green between the layered rocks was not so apparent. I laid upon one of many, as my small bag and rolled up sweatshirt served as a comfortable pillow. The clouds checkered across the sky. The wind was barred by a nearby stonewall, not allowing it to skate across the entire tundra. I still had a few hours before the sun set, so I closed my eyes and listened to the gulls’ screeching cry.
I sat up to get my CD player from my bag—then pressed play and once again collapsed onto my back. I thought of the last four days—the roads and dirt paths these shoes have walked and rode. The unique relationships that were briefly but intimately developed. If they weren’t, no stories from the trip would be worth being told in the future—and I knew this could not be the case. Luck has graced my steps and there was no other than my way. My cheeks began to swell in pain as I vainly fought a smile. I have done well with my time, and was proud of myself.
“She says, ‘Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.’” Lou Reed told me.
So I rose, tied my gray sweatshirt around my waist and put my arms through the pack’s straps. My legs were fresh from the bus ride—I was happy and fortunate to have found a bus that could bring me to the small town of Doolin, Ireland. I was also comforted that I already found where and when there was a bus ride back to Dublin later in the week, just in time for my flight. Until then, I would explore as much of the coast, without sight or concern of any crowds during the day—from the outskirts of the Barren to the Cliffs of Moher. Time was of essence and I had plenty of it. My money situation was comfortable enough to dine on steak and potatoes while I had two days to see what I could in this small port town.
“You should of seen him go, go, go.”
I picked up a large stone to contribute to a section of the wall that had been fractured. The rocks clucked perfectly into place. I raised my eyes to catch a black splotch quickly making its way in my direction. I see the “it” was in fact a small bird that flew much like a swift—only inches away from the top of the stone barrier. Another flew by from the opposite direction—I barely caught a glimpse of that bird in the trail of the other. To my right I saw an Irish setter, with long red locks, he was free and chased after these birds—the dog’s enthusiasm ceased to fade. I now saw why the birds were so acrobatic and low to the earth—they were having fun teasing this dumb dog. My feet stood still so I could admire the dog’s chase. Quick he was in his motions, but he seemed apathetic of the birds. Sure he would chase them originally, but if he ever got close enough to make a move he would veer off with no bird in mouth. Maybe this was a daily thing. The birds and the dog: together they play.
“Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo.”
After I climbed over a gap in the wall I glanced to my left and stopped. The sunset was too beautiful to not sit and savor. So I did just that. Looking left a little, wondering if that was the direction of my home in Miami. This was only chance that I would witness this very calendar worthy moment, and decided to get closer to the edge. I could afford as much time as the sun offered, and made my way to the furthest, lowest slab of limestone. I sat on my rear, dangling my feet over the edge. My leg hairs caught the mist of the sea. The sun’s reflection shone bright off the Atlantic waves—being so bright that seeing the horizon would be impossible if it weren’t for the three sharp, misty, black forelands that were the Aran Islands—cutting clean through the middle of blue—the rest of the sky peeled back to reveal whites blended with yellows and oranges.
I know that even now, as I sit and write this in a chair, no table to rest my elbows or rest my hand as it carves into the paper. Heaps of dirty laundry surrounds me, and the neighbors are yelling very loudly with rolling tongues. My cat is biting my foot yet I don’t even need to close my eyes to be there—everything; from my cold shaved scalp to the Irish milk and cookies I digested on the edge of the Emerald. I can taste, see, smell, feel, and hear everything as if it were that moment.
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