So, a friend of mine is part of the Distington Knitters and Crocheters and they posted pictures of their lovely wares on facebook. I innocently asked could they make ‘sea birds and anchors’. ‘You’re ‘avin’ a larff’, my friend told me. They speak plainly up north. But then, she wrote, ‘I’ll ask but you’d better come up and tell us their story.’ See birds and anchor…oh, and something to do with being frozen underneath…I think…and sunshine too, late in the afternoon…So, what is the story of the seabird and the anchor…where does it begin? Who’d like to start?
Once upon a time, in a cave to the west lived, and died, a colony of seabirds. The anchor saw the seabird circling above the boat, looking up and away. ‘If only it would look over here and notice me…’ Just then, the seabird swooped low towards the anchor. ‘It’s coming! Cripes, what do I do..?’ But the greywhite seabird dashed by and perched on the high sand dunes, looking towards the sunset.
‘I’m an anchor. I sit grounded, solid, dependable but do I feel restless? Do I want to be free like the bird to twist and turn, and soar with the wind? I sit stationery, safe, trusting, solid and dependable and I watch the ocean. Do I want to be like the ocean, ebbing and flowing, sometimes gently sometimes not but always moving? From this place of static dependability, I feel safe but stifled, trapped and my creativity longs to be free, to soar with the birds, to go with the ebb and flow of the tide, to experience the wind, the wild places. It longs to be free !!!’
‘Maybe tomorrow then, I’ll do something.’ It was trying to catch the eye of the bird. The last of the daylight bounced off the gleaming edge of the anchor, catching the bird’s eye. It took flight and settled on the upright. ‘I’d like to tell you something…’
The anchor waited in anticipation to hear what the bird had to say. The bird preened its feathers and called loudly, buffeted by the sea breeze, from the edge of the anchor. The anchor waited in excitement for the bird to speak. At last the bird opened his beak and…
…breathed in the salty air. The gusts of wind, trailing lines in the sand, almost picked the bird up. The beach was empty now save for the sea bird and the anchor. The tide had retreated, leaving wavy ridges rippling the sand. Pools of sea water squatted, abandoned. Away, far out, stood an island, its jagged rocks defying you to ascend. Lofty mountain peaks rose behind.
‘Anchor, you know I’m here, don’t you? It’s feels good, solid. I like it. I seem to spend so much of my time riding the winds, wherever they take me. Just sometimes it feels…I feel it would be nice just to stay in one place for a time. Take time to look at what’s going on around me. Even to look closely at that patch of rust forming on your side, follow its lines, sink into its reddish hollows…and yet, you see, the wind…how hard it is for me to stay in one place. I need….I mean, have been looking for someone like you, Anchor. I’m wondering will you be my anchor?’
The anchor looked surprise. ‘That’s a whole big question you’re asking me there. I don’t know. I’ve been here so long. This is me, where I am, who I am…Tell you what, why don’t you settle yourself down in the sand, behind my blade, out of the wind. Get some sleep. See how we feel in the morning. You might have flown off again by then!’
Sea bird snuggled down, as invited, for the night. Bird and anchor fell asleep to the music of the wind and the waves.
The wind and the waves soothed bird and anchor and anchor dreamt of what it must be like to soar above the ocean and, as he dreamt, he saw his long steel blades slowly being pulled from their base and, one by one, they rose and anchor felt as if he was slowly rising and as he rose he looked fearfully down at the hole he’d left behind and felt afraid.
Morning came. ‘It’s time to wake up’, called the bird. ‘Can I call on you? Can I take you with me?’
‘I’d like to but couldn’t we wait for some more time..? Come back in a decade or two, I’ll be ready then.’ ‘What’s the matter? It’s a chance to go and see more people and places.’
It was the dawn. The tide was rushing in. Life was stirring.
‘Lift you. I’m trying. You’re too heavy.’
‘Think light. You can do it. Think how light your anchor is now and we can go.’
Seabird tried to clear its mind and focus on raising the anchor beneath. ‘Think light yourself, anchor.’
And the sand budged. Grain by grain, the bird was able to lift up the old, tired anchor till it hovered a few feet over the shore. ‘You’re not that heavy, you know. You seem really light to me now.’
‘Well, now you got me up here, where we going? Just don’t drop me. Remember I’m more a depth’s person than a height’s.’
‘Ok, hang on, let’s go…’
(The Seabird and the Anchor Story 2 is a collaborative piece, written by Flo, Elspeth, Maureen P. and me, originally on facebook over a week or so. Thanks everyone, writers and readers/supporters. It was great fun, flying and anchoring with you all.)