I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
I first heard the above poem at the funeral of a fisherman I knew, coincidently held in the church pictured. I was feeling emotional anyway, (if you can’t be at a funeral where can you be?) but this poem summed up exactly how I feel about living by the sea in Orkney. Growing up in the Midlands it was a far cry from the beloved shores which I dreamed of living near to. I got to see the sea once a year on our family holidays and I can still recapture the excitement I felt when I got a glimpse of it after several hours travelling in the back of a car with a brother and sister. Equally, I get the same ‘on holiday’ feel when I hear seagulls and don’t seem to tire of that either.
Yesterdays tantrum is over, as although still extremely cold, it was bright enough to take a walk this evening and photograph St. Peter’s church at Skaill. This is about a mile away from my home and I can see it from my sitting room window. There are many special places and views in Orkney and this is definitely one of them in my humble opinion. As someone said yesterday in response to my post ‘the minute the wind drops and the sun comes out, the love affair will be back on’ and she was right!
If I’m feeling stressed, worried, or just needing some quiet time on my own then I usually head to the beach. Just the sound of the waves is enough to make me feel calmer and happier and the waves rolling for ever and ever is memorizing. The skies are ever changing and stunning day after day. Even almost 8 years on I still feel a sense of enchantment living here and I hope the magic never leaves. Whether mill pond waters or waves that spray over the cliff tops, I love the sea and remain thankful that I was able to make the move to a place where I get to see it every day.
Poem taken from Poetry Foundation