The Loneliness of the Long Distance Kayaker

Jack Loved Dungarvan Harbour and the bay that linked with the ocean where the Celtic Sea mixed with the Atlantic. He loved to see the water wash the old quayside in the town, the spreading coast on the north side, that stretched off towards Hook Head and the corner of Ireland in one direction, and the changing shore on the south side towards Helvick Head and the busy little harbour.
Memories came back of how three generations of the family had gone to the Irish College in Rinn – Colaiste na Rinne -and how scaling the cliff down to the sea and sand had been one of the highlights of those years. He loved the constant changes of light that come with open sea and sky, and the birds that swooped in all directions. The bay could sparkle in the sun, or spit and spray in a storm. Looking across, there could be a picture of fishing trawlers, white sails, water-skiers, and a flicker of oars and paddles. He thought maybe no inland waterways had quite the drama of the open sea … wondered if rivers and lakes could get under your skin in the same way?
This was one of the sparkly blue days -perfect to launch the kayak and head across the bay.
Paddling hard, he passed half-way, rested, and looked around. Oh NO!! He forgot the tide was falling-and there, between him and home, stretched a vast expanse of sandy mud now looking grey and leaden. Somehow, the blue hills and green fields no longer looked appealing. (How had the shore got so far away?).
There was nothing for it but to step out, turn around, lift the kayak onto his head -and trudge back to the far bank. It was hot, he stepped on crushed shells, occasionally slipped and stumbled, and most of all he was SO annoyed with himself for overlooking a falling tide. He walked on, no longer interested in green hills or golden beaches -no longer dwelling on memories of sailing and swimming -until he could struggle up a bank near home.
He dumped the disappointed kayak, made his way to the kitchen door and collapsed into a chair after a morning that did not go to plan
“Please don’t tell anyone” he said to his mother.
“Of course not” she said -as his sister pressed the Video Send button and slipped out of the room.