Sometimes, the days on this island are so unutterably perfect that I am loathe to let them go; but, not unlike grasping a handful of fine sand and watching it run through your fingers, let them go I surely must. Nonetheless, I do so with reluctance, and that is why, despite it being well past ten in the evening, I am walking along the beach at the north end; I am determined to squeeze the last drops from this day before darkness finally falls. This is shell sand I am walking on; each step produces a faint gravel crunch, adding percussion to the sound of the waves washing gently over the rocks. Oyster catchers, barely visible now, sweep past; their loud call flutey and haunting. There isn’t much else around at this late hour, save the ringed plovers at the water’s edge; otherwise just a host of shadows, suggestive of otters, or seals, but nothing more than the play of light and dark on the shifting swell.

It hasn’t been a perfect weather day by any means – the gusts of wind and rain may have eased but there is still a persistent mizzle. It is too overcast for a repeat of last night’s astounding sunset although, away over towards Tiree in the west, I can see a burning sliver of deep orange between cloud and sea; the final grains of the day are slipping away.

This short piece was written as a response to the Museum of Walking’s Sound Walk September festival Shorelines anthology.

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