There is sound before there is sight, and then, visions. The sea makes small noises on the beach, spitting out round stones at the tide line like cherry pits sucked clean and dribbled between lips. The hollow clack-crunch of footsteps among the stones presages bodies moving toward the water. A child’s exclamations, a mother’s soft remonstrations. The damp air collapses upon noise like a fire blanket cast upon an errant flame. I am waiting for the ferry to take me across the Kilbrannan Sound, from the Isle of Arran to the Kintyre Peninsula and then on to Islay. I look, finally, to see if my ears have lied to my eyes.
A mother leads her tiny, pink daughter to the tide. They stare across the gray expanse to hills with scarves of mist. Time slows. The child is quiet. She stares at the unknowable depths before her, at the obscured landscape beyond. There are small boats bouncing on the waves. Her journey is about to begin. What does she see? My own eyes deceive me for the arcs and angle of stories and metaphors dash across the horizon. As they always do. And I wonder at the infinite number of epics that must fail to live beyond a glance.