Somewhere along the belly of Arran I am kicking across sandy turf where boats are beached and a handful of world-weary buildings face the sea. The music in my headphones tethers me to a life in stasis. Cold winds dent my jacket, claw my hair. A mown ramp leads to a bench, a rocky crevice, and perspective. In the sea beyond Arran, Ailsa Craig rises, suspended on the horizon, like some abandoned, ley pyramid. I pluck headphones from my ears and let this scene rest in my sight like a butterfly in the hand. I’m waiting for it to disappear in the sea mist, for a blink to send it into memory. Moments of clarity are just those.
Fairy rock, refuge of Catholics, bastion against the spectre of invading Spanish, land for sale – Ailsa Craig has been all these things, still is those things. Who can say what it will be in the future? Ailsa Craig hovers between the rocky bookends. Once I believed this was a liminal time in my life, a metamorphosis that would lead me to a final state. I see now that I will always be on the sea, moving between two poles I can never reach, that I must wish not to reach, though I paddle like a man possessed.