And well you may forget
On brim of waving foam,
The mind and all its fret
Beyond the urge to roam
Like most of this island, the present lie of the land goes back to the last cold spell. A glacier’s bulk excavated valleys deep and shallow out of the earth, slowly heaving the soil asunder, with no planning permission or abstract design, slowly crawling onwards, a massive ignorant lumpen crunching icy ooze.
And then the melt, coming slow but sure: a minor rise of heat, and gradual gradual dribbles and puddles become a stream, which becomes a gush, and a torrent, a flood, heralding a brief age of meltwater and wild waters, retouching the gouged out mass.
Drumlins dot the passage of the ice. Erratics sit sentry in odd spots. The green returns, birch, oak, ash, scots pine, fern blade and unrolled leaf, along with the insects and the insect eaters. The full mindless rivers of biology, a multitude of experiments treading space and time, cram every livable space. Frogs, water skaters, trout, salmon, falcons. Did drinking moose and deer raise their horns in worry of wolf?
And then the first traces of us, language bearers, thumbed tool bearers, brainy tearaway apes, and our unwritten advance parties, seekers of prey, finding through the woods a lake going from sea waves to mountain feet, a fine domain to claim, to settle in, to fight over.
And to names when names are hewn, as old as Manannán mac Lir, soul ferryman of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and his pseudonym
We settle the drumlins and shores, the limestoned lowlands, the reeded river mouths, taming and claiming, going to battle in trunk dug canoes dug, living and dying along with the less versed creatures.
In later ages some retreat to the island of strangers to find a different grace, and others learn to fish by line and net, or later mine silver and lead, and build canals to the Atlantic through the city walls.
Now we may claim the waters as a postcard view from domestic window gazes, or wander the waves when weather allows, letting the pitch and roll calm the mind, and peer into the ice dug depths.