Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstice Duck

The sun rose at 8:04 this morning, but the sky was already pink like the surface of lacerated flesh for a good half an hour before the lowest clouds reflected a tinge of gold. Winter solstice holds a special place in my life, even after almost six hundred years.

Felicia and I shared a shot of single malt with the Forest King at the stone at the top of Laver’s Leap, the 120-foot waterfall on the edge of the Manor grounds. He was gracious enough to give us a couple of hares he’d caught in exchange and pointed out the boundary of the goblin king’s territory. Quite why he did that when goblins have been extinct for the last 300 years is beyond me but we thanked him anyway. The old boundary stones have long since vanished into the undergrowth.

We made out way down again, though the path is exceptionally muddy at this time of year. At the bottom, where the water has carved out a pool Felicia often swims in the summer, there was a flash of yellow in the foaming waters. I sent her in – far easier for a werewolf to get soaked than a demon* though I had to stand well back when she shook herself afterward.

It was a rubber duck, faded from exposure to the elements but still with a plastic tag attached to its neck. The tag begged me to e-mail NASA with the findings, since the duck was one of ninety released into Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier – the same one that released the fatal Titanic iceberg – in an effort to understand why glaciers move faster in the summer and why sea levels change.

I was tempted to just throw it back but then thought of the problems the researchers would face trying to work out how a rubber duck released on a glacier wound up traveling downstream in Hertfordshire. When we got back to the house I took the tag off to send back to NASA and wrapped the duck in gay paper.

Happy birthday, Harold.

*A goodly amount of the water evaporates, but at this time of year I can’t compete with the falls. You really want my suit ruined?


SandyCarlson said...

So that AWOL duck will have a lot to answer for. Probably his lover was behind a rock but wasn't coming out.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I suspect migrating swallows, personally. Or eagles.


To Ms. Rachel Green

You create the feel of an atomosphere well within the spell of the first para of your writing. I love to read and re-read such sentences.

In a good and meaningful writing the emotional reactions and internal states of the characters are influenced by and in turn trigger external events in a meaningful ways.

Naval Langa

Leatherdykeuk said...

How nice it is of you to visit, Mr. Langa. Thank you for your kindness.

Stinking Billy said...

jasfoup, I love the duck from that old record where the 'singer' intones stuff like "Got your ears on, rubber duck?" Over and out. ;-)

Leatherdykeuk said...

d that be the soundtrack to 'Convoy', old chap?

stephanie said...

So, a two-for-one? Well done, Jasfoup!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Always a pleasure, m'dear

Quillers said...

So sorry I wasn't paying proper attention the other day, Rachel. Blame Christmas (or booze or something ...)

This is wonderfully atmospheric, and poetic.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks Sally - This blog is really one very, very long, ad-libbed story.