A gannet flies past me on this cliff edge, so close that I can see the black ring around its eye.

The blackberries are not as ripe as those at home. I wonder why.

Kerry is all I expected: fresh, lush and vibrant.

I find the nearest beach, down away from the cliffs and rocks. It is a ‘Finding Beach’ with all kinds of things washing up with the tides. A rainbow of weathered plastics has been sorted into colours, presumably by a visiting artist, while dozens of buoys hang from the trees like Christmas baubles on a desert island. A spray-painted sheep lies at the tide line. The blue dye on her neck contrasts with the red, blood-stained area on her back where a hole has worn through flesh and bone to the cavern of her insides. The rest of the wool is perfect: pure, clean and white; inviting and attractive.

I get into the clear water but have to try to dodge the dozens of miniature jellyfish: tiny brown ones with streams of tentacles disguised as seaweed; inky, deep purple ones verging on black blobs; pale, almost transparent ones with purple lines etched along their fleshy bodies. I manage to find a spot in the idyllic bay which seems absent of the small, beautiful creatures I am so wary of, and I have a quick dip. The water is not as warm as I had hoped.

Exhilarated, I vacate the sea, my skin tingling after this Kerry baptism. Out of the water I enjoy the sun and warm breeze, walking along in the shallows. I lift a particularly inoffensive jellyfish which has been washed up, and hold it up to the sun.

It is like looking through a piece of old, irregularly-blown glass, its varying thicknesses of translucent jelly becoming a lens which distorts the world beyond.


I plan to return the next day to gather the abundant, dead jellyfish and incorporate them into a piece of artwork. But they are gone.

2 thoughts on “Medusozoa

  1. I love the photograph of the jellyfish; a very interesting ‘lens.’ When I first saw the image on my phone (I couldn’t read the text) I thought it was a piece of glass that you’d retrieved from the sea. That’s glass.

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