Inside the Whale…

The sea was as soft as a bowl of milk and fused with the sky in a hazy distance that became an unreliable mirror of itself. The light filled the space so there was no air left to breathe that was not suffused with its strange luminescence. Nothing was moving, even the blood in our veins slowed to a halt, we were trapped in a singularity and time ceased to exist…


Back on dry land at last we cleaned, filled, sanded, and prepped and finally earned the pleasure of applying a feature colour to a wall beneath the herringbone beams in our sejour. The main beam spans from front to back. It is a huge thing, a dinosaur’s thigh bone, hewn from the trunk of a two hundred year oak felled over a century ago. It was an acorn back in the Ancien Régime and watched as the Republics came and went and now it holds its secrets over our heads.


The room is a rhomboid and the vertebrae that criss cross the ceiling follow their own path, not restricted or aligned by walls, guided by their own peculiar geometry. We are in the belly of the whale, safe and calm, cool in the heat, content that the vision of home is gradually coming into focus.

Because this is what it is all about, finding our home across the sea. We went to a jobs open day in the city at the weekend. I have translated my CV as best I can, summarising and simplifying as is the standard in France. Some things do not translate well, but I have found some enthusiasm from the local job services so I can only guess that it reads reasonably well. We imagined ourselves both working for the same business, doing the same hours, travelling in and out of town together every day, then returning to cosy up in our living room.


Most likely we would be chasing chores until sundown, but watching the sun set from our back garden is a show we never like to miss. The cows have been moved out of the orchard pasture so we lack their musical trumpeting company. Today we chased bright red moths and pale cream butterflies in the garden. Our daughter pointed out the burrows of the cicadas that dot our lawn. We saw a spider run down one of them, paying a house call, or visiting his larder? Who knows? (An entomologist, probably!)

Outside, it is incredibly hot, out paint rollers and brushes are drying on the lawn. Inside, inside the whale, it is marvellously cool…



About 14thcenturypoet

Author of The Legend of Zonza, an historical fantasy based on traditional Italian folk tales...
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