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Celtic Sea

Updated: Apr 15, 2018

There’s an island few have heard of.


It sits always in a deep, vast fog. One ship can reach it; it leaves and returns once a day. A roundtrip ticket will cost you brief musical performance, a collage of found objects super-glued with care to a piece of driftwood, or the recitation of three poems about friendship.


It takes some time to get to the island, if the weather is calm and the wind favorable. The ship is wooden and creaks pleasantly. Golden lights are wrapped around the mast and strung back and forth across the high railing that runs the perimeter of the bow. They emit a warm glow in the eerie fog of morning.


There is one room on the boat. It is large and full of armchairs of all colors and sizes. Floral fabric on the one with the high back, stripes on the one that reclines. Framed paintings of the sea cover nearly every inch of the walls. They are all askew; it’s hard to keep paintings straight on a ship. All of the chairs are bolted to the floor, in case of high seas, and arranged in a permanent semi-circle. In the center of this circle is a table and on this table is hot tea, fresh biscuits with jam, and a dozen elaborately iced cakes. Chipped porcelain plates are stacked neatly to one side.


Just beyond the table, a man is seated on the floor. He hums whale songs, his beard wild and white as salt, his eyes the deepest green. When you’ve taken your cake and your seats, he begins to tell you tales. Beautiful tales of adventure and shipwreck, monsters and faeries. You sit enraptured for the entirety of the journey and when you land, the biscuits and cakes are gone, but for a few crumbs. The teapots are empty and cool.


With satisfied appetites and warmed imaginations, you exit the ship.


The fog has not lifted and you follow more strings of bobbing light across the wooden dock. The town glows just beyond. When you arrive, you find that the book shop is the only place open. Music trickles out beneath the door. You enter and discover a live string quartet playing the most glorious music. You can listen, or read, or some combination of the two.


For just about three hours in the afternoon, the fog recedes from the land and sits in a haze off of the shore. Now is the time to get outside. There is plenty to do.


Pay attention to the grass that practically glows, it is so brilliantly green. Consider lying down on it for at least fifteen minutes.


If you walk along the single path that runs out of town you’ll pass the sheep. Pick some clover on your way (the purple flowers, mind you) and feed them to these jolly creatures that will come jostling and bleating up to you as you approach. You’re likely to squint at them curiously for a moment — it often takes visitors a moment to realize that these sheep are not covered in wool, but in wildflowers. If one gets close enough to allow you to run a hand over its back, do. A single daisy will then rest between your fingers. You may stick it behind your ear. It will smell of your grandmother’s favorite sweater.

Walk down to the beach and skip stones. Don’t be discouraged. Like all things, it takes practice. The best skipping stones are found where the waves break against the sand. They’ve been worn down for thousands of years and their surface will be smooth and pleasant against your palm.


Take off your shoes, sit on the sand, and watch the ocean. The ocean here is unlike the ocean anywhere else. It is constantly awash with color. It is turquoise one moment, grey the next. In one instant green and blue and purple. But you have to watch. Don’t bother trying to photograph it. Do bother pulling out the two pastels and the single sheet of folded paper that were placed in your pocket when you weren’t looking. It is always worth trying to capture such things with art.


When the fog starts to blow in, it’s time to make your way back to the ship.


You will not find the island again, tourists are only allowed to visit once in their lifetimes.


But it is certainly worth a visit.