The sea mist has rolled in on the warm wind and we can feel her dampness under our paws. It hangs over the sand against the dunes and makes the beach look as if it is being swallowed up in time.
The gulls are quiet and the only sound we hear is the roll of the waves. Our companion throws the ball as far as she can see and Pearl is the first to catch it.
Silhouettes of other dogs and their humans appear from the fog. I recognise John’s lonely figure to the right, looking down as if his dog is still with him.
He waves at our companion and I trot over to greet him.
“How are you all today?” asks John.
“We’re doing grand,” says our companion. “I love it when the haar rolls in, it is so atmospheric!”
“I love it too,” says John. “When it’s like this it feels as if my Dougie is still with me. I have to stop in all the places where he used to cock his leg, especially by that large stone over there. We used to call that ‘the Christening Stone’ because all the dogs would pee on it!”
“That’s why I never sit down on that one!” says our companion.
I look straight into John’s eyes and drop my ball.
“Oh sorry Eivor, I forgot about your biscuit!”.
He reaches into his pocket. Pearl comes running over and gently takes her biscuit too.
Our companion throws the ball again and this time I get there first.
“I have been thinking about The Book lately,” says John. “You know, all this stuff going on, so many young lives being lost, people being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I cannot praise those men enough, those journalists and historians who put it all together.”
“I agree,” says our companion. “It is an amazing book and shows the human stories so few of us ever get to hear about. I wish people would stop themselves before they take another life, whichever side they are on.”
“They should all have a look at this book,” says John.
Our companion throws the ball again and I catch it before Pearl.
Her thoughts wander off to the Linen Hall Library in Belfast. She remembers the harp in the hallway, the wooden stairs, the sash windows and the warm smell of old writings.
A man with a cowboy hat carries The Book as if he is carrying each individual life and walks over to the blue chair beside the stairwell.
He opens The Book and turns the first page.
Our companion, the woman in the black coat and the poet in the corner all know the score and clear the floor to make room for the angels.
The mist begins to lift and John walks on along the shore. Every now and then he looks back as if he is waiting for the ghost of his dog to follow.
I am sending you all so much love,
Daily Post Discover Challenge: Connection
Daily Prompt: Praise
Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in windows photo editor.
Camera: Lumix Panasonic FZ38, settings: Outdoor Action and Landscape.
(‘haar’ is a Scottish word for sea mist)
‘The Book’ John is referring to is ‘Lost Lives – The stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles’ by David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton and David McVae (1999, Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd). It documents the deaths of the 3600 men, women and children killed as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles over a 34-year period.