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8
The Sea Is Another

At some time during the night Mywatt got up and looked out the window. "The sky is completely clear and full of stars," she said, "brighter than I have ever seen. You should get up and look at it."

"Oh, yes, I can see it from here," I replied from the bed, but she was not deceived. In any case, I got the point that there probably would be a boat the next day.

As I bounded down the stairs at breakfast time, sunshine was pouring in, and the sky was the very definition of blue.

"Looks like they'll be a boat today," I commented.

"I don't know," our hostess replied, "it's still pretty wild out there."

"Is it? The sky is clear."

She looked over her shoulder through a tiny window high in the wall. "Well it is," she replied, "but the sky is one thing and the sea is another."

Of course she was right. Before breakfast began, I ran down to the General Store, where they have a radio, and heard that the boat would not come at all that day.

During breakfast black clouds came gliding in, and rain came pouring down.

There were not many places we could choose from at that point, so we went back to bed. Mywatt slept, and I finished Tom Brown's Schooldays. Just as I turned the last page, the sun came out and Mywatt woke.

We Take the Grand Tour

We went out and walked over the whole island. We saw everything, I guess. Martello's Tower, O'Brien Castle (in whose ruins a gaggle of teenage girls were hiding out, rather than go to church), the prehistoric burial mound, St. Gobnait's Church, and the church of St. Kevin's brother.

We saw the island's three trees, and had a beer in each of the three pubs. In the last of these, there was a very active back room, which perhaps was just a lounge. In the front, some musical instruments were hanging on the walls. A few of the locals took them down and went into the back room to play. It was the only time we heard strictly traditional Irish music live, but it was hard to stay and listen. It was hard because the men started dancing in the peculiar way that Irish men do - something like the movements of a huge and unusual bird - but it was clear that they were drunk. Instead of being entertaining, it was very sad. It was sad because they were poor, and there is nothing to do on that island, especially in the rain. And I thought, here am I with more in my pocket than any of them probably see in a year.

We went out. It rained off and on again. We tried to be sure that we saw and did everything we could on the island, so that the island could have no reason to keep us. We studied the map and walked and walked.

We saw the airstrip, the factory, the nurse's office. We saw the schools, the camp site, and the post office. We found the ancient Church of the Seven Daughters.

At last, nothing remained but St. Enda's Well, "which never dries up and is supposed to have healing power." The sun was going down, and the well continued to elude us. The sunset did not promise any of the yesterday's spectacle. It would only be a standard sunset: the sun slips down, it gets dark, period.

As we asked ourselves whether Enda was a man or woman, a rainbow appeared on our right. It was remarkably clear. We continued to walk, and the rainbow completed its arc. It filled the sky, and all its colors were full and distinct. I had never seen a full rainbow before.

Moments later, a second, fainter rainbow, began to materialize just outside the first. In a few seconds it too became complete, and the two full rainbows filled the eastern sky. Then they grew more and more transparent until finally they were gone.


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