Buried in the Bog

So, now that we’re talking the language of dreams, I have to tell you my dream.

I dreamt we bought a house in St Lucia. Part of it was underground. As I went downstairs, I realised we were looking straight into the Caribbean Sea. The walls were windows facing the water. I could see hammerhead sharks and turtles cruising past. It was amazing! Then I was hit with sadness. This sadness was because I knew if I told anybody about it, this amazing underwater view in our new home, no one would believe me. I don’t know why – I could have just taken photos. But a dream is a dream. At least I didn’t have that ‘body buried up in the attic’ dream again.

Before he died, we used to have a lot of fun at my father-in-law’s house. Telling stories, eating dinner, enjoying time with the kids. They were simple pleasures. He’d say at the time it was the kind of fun you couldn’t tell people, because they wouldn’t believe you. The way he said it always got me.

My favourite book is Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck. In one chapter, the main character, Doc, describes walking through parts of North America. He recounts the people he met along the way asking him why he was walking. At first, he’d tell them the truth; that he simply wanted to. Everyone’s faces fell. No one wanted to hear it. They became openly hostile, so Doc started saying instead he was meeting someone or he was carrying out a specific purpose. This explanation was received much better, even though it wasn’t the truth.

I’m walking along the back of Borth right now. A boardwalk runs along the peat bog. The boardwalk is half-buried in the bog. Sometimes the dark bog water comes through the rickety planks. Except for me and Fin, there’s no one here. Fin keeps looking back at me to see if I’m giving out the treats yet. I bring them nowadays in case we meet another dog. Fin was attacked by the local dogs so many times on our travels she’s become unpredictable now. Hmmm. With this in mind, my friend Jo told me that dog treats go a long way to persuade a dog to be nice. Jo was right too – it’s working so far. But there are no dogs here and so Fin carries on. Her black shaggy knickers are waving at me.

Winter is gripping us. The wind is biting and the snakes are still sleeping. The nightjars haven’t started laying their eggs in the bog grass yet. The heather is dry; its purple flowers desiccated into white. The bog grass is brown. On this small, overcrowded island, I am completely alone. It’s hard to believe it. Anything could happen to me out here. I could slip, fall in the bog, disappear completely. But I’m not scared. This place is my home. I love the silence, the blunt, empty horizon. Numb fingers holding this phone.

 

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