Skull

Rainbow from Rathlin

Weekend trip to Ballycaste; windswept, spring showers, rainbow arch like a giant coloured bridge from Rathlin’s chalk cliffs to the smuggler’s caves on the other side of the water.

The suck and pull of the rush of water against beach of pebbles, the crash of pebble against pebble, rolling and smoothing, over and over.

The anticipation of the breaking of a wave. The turquoise moving wall broken by its own weight and push, spoiling the glass-like blues into white messy foam.

While foraging I firstly came across a half a sheep jaw. I was pleased enough with this treasure until I saw, to my delight, while looking down constantly scouring the ground, a pristine bird skull amoungst the pebbles.

Would I have missed it had I been walking a metre to the right or left, tramping a slightly altered route? What do we miss? What have I missed?

The sheep jaw was discarded and replaced by this superior find.

A great pleasure to come across a skull/beak on a beach where the sea and its inhabitants have so efficiently cleaned and polished this speciman to its perfect state. No boiling and burying and salting and bleaching necessary today.

Heron Skull, painted into sketchbook. Surface includes fragments of William Cathcart's school book, 1902.

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