Friday, July 25, 2008
in which a fish rescues a dragon
A fragile day, today. We all have them don't we?
Having said to the sea that I didn’t miss it whilst in the kingdom of ice,
It flipped me onto my head in an unkind way.
I heard my breath rebound in all my inner chasms though I didn’t cry out loud.
Shouldn’t tell fibs, even if you wish them to be true.
I felt disturbed that the tideline today
was littered with earth-detritus: sticks, leaves, twigs. Not silt: that would have slipped straight down to the bottom in the storm.
Other things: a small flock of tiny blue-legged, blue-beaked seabirds, tumbled and washed up, silent and drowned. Those floating fish, small round and striped.
As I approached the northern headland by foot, I wondered vaguely,
given the silt and the storm, if I could expect the presence of a dragon.
They suffer hugely in the presence of earth in their aquatic lair, dragons. It suffocates them.
Simultaneously, as this thought formed in my head, I saw it lying draped with weed beneath the cliffs. Right on the wet edge of the sand, its rainbow hues so perfect and intact. Even the violet streaks on its flanks, the bright yellow of its spotting and the ruby of its eyes unclouded.
Ah, only just dead, I say, place it along the inside of my forearm, and put my face close. I study its long nose when suddenly
It opens its triangular yawp wide and gasps! I almost drop it in shock: alive?
How could this be?
The sea is roiling and heaving nastily, I wade in and place the sea dragon into the lively green of the sea. The twin frills at its ears begin to wave, but it floats to the surface. They hate disturbance of any kind: this one has been plucked from its tranquil lair by the stormy fingers of the sea. The waves try to duck it, and throw it again, but I retrieve it.
Hunchbacked and soaking, I wade and stumble through the water, with my half -dead dragon under the surface, until I am between rocks beneath the cliffs. Still it is too rough. I pick up the dragon and hold it near my face. Could it be living, after all that time on land? It floats motionless when I lay it in the sea.
But deep inside its red eye I see something. It twitches, it opens its dainty mouth again, like a shout. I cannot leave it here, there is no pool! It will wash onto the rocks!
What to do?
At least in the surf it will be familiar with the ways of the water, and will die in a familiar place. I look close. Its frills pulsate. Its eyes are clear, its violet flanks soft and fresh, the spines along its back are sharp. I cannot cast it to the waves. It is too fine and noble to be tossed.
My clothes are heavy and wet as I wade out into the only deep spot, and let the sea dragon go where the current might take it out. It lies on the surface as if dead, drifting slowly on the surface, floating on its side. I can see its rainbow hue a bright splash amongst the green gray.
And as I watch, to my immense surprise
It flips its tail,
and swims away.