Footprints on Keel Strand

There’s nothing as refreshing as the nose-watering gust that lifts in over Keel Strand, steals into your ears and blocks out everything else. You’ll look out at the retreating tide and feel your worries wash away with it. Oneness is what some call this. Mindfulness, others. There’s truth in both, for it is a special place that inspires a sense of the present.

Feet rooted to the damp sand, fringe twirling in the wind, you breathe in Achill air and exhale calm. Not even the Guinness of last nights knees up by the turf fire seeps into the scene to distract you. You’re in flying form, fresh and full of good intentions for the day. And you haven’t thought about him once. Not as much as an ‘almost thought’, which is great.

You’ve come here to think about your writing and your other projects so giving over good headspace to unrequited love would be a waste of time. Although, now that you think about not having thought of him, you’re defeating the purpose.

And so you breathe in a little deeper and can’t help but think of him running along beside you down the beach towards Minaun. You imagine the pair of you gorging on the beauty of the place in a silent, reverential run. You’d have done your talking before you left the cottage, in your own Sunday morning paralanguage. Together you’d run, sand flecks spattering your calves, sea mist moistening your faces. His breathing heavy, as it had been earlier, though faster now, hungry for the breeze blowing in from Clare Island.

Unspoken contentment between you as you run in step with each other towards the cliffs and the turnaround point, then back to the cottage where the day spools out before you in uncomplicated finery. A blank canvas to be filled with hours in bed and on a bar stool. The warmth of a blazing fire. Conversation over creamy pints.

The wind whips your hair as you tread the sand alone. Eyes water for the footprints that are not beside you.