Summer Day At The Lake by Margaret Kiernan

The moody deep blue of the afternoon hangs heavy on the trees. Thundery clouds hover overhead. A summer afternoon at the lake.

 A boat idles without wind far out on the water, and some people are fishing on board. Dapping lines catch the silver light in a rhythmic style. They are perhaps hoping for a brown trout or even two. Later, the boat occupants will make their way ashore and light a fire. Smoky tea and freshly caught trout cooked on the coals. Afterwards, stretch on the warm grassy bank and have time for forty winks.

Quick shrieks and loud splashes tell me that another dip is happening. The fresh water of the lake is far from warm. This lake is a Glacial Spring and the water is always chilly.

Sail boats move slowly on the water, moribund without any wind. The deep orange colour of a sail adds vibrancy to the scene. A slow breeze from the South East fans my cheeks as I sit and watch children cavorting and diving into the water.

 Shrieks and pleading words add gaiety to their summertime play. Many different languages being spoken but the children’s actions all the same.

This is the stuff of a Midlands Irish summer day. The sailing boats lie stirring where the silver water appear to doze. Church Island is at right angles to the scene. The ancient ruins of a church stand, in ivy clad splendour. There are myths and legends attached to the place.  This Church was once the place where a Saint reportedly held sway in these parts. Other stories attached to the Lake tell of great giants having a battle to the death. Turghesis or some such one. What they fought over is unclear or, not disclosed. Elusive information and the prize now forgotten.

This swimming area and diving board has been a destination for families over the generations. A place of freedom and pleasure. Nearby, the rail line heralds the noise of an approaching train, Dublin or Sligo bound. The rail-line is below ground level here. It is not possible to see the travelling passengers. What a sight they are missing. Gaily coloured bathing suits and people with dogs and books. Boys jumping off the diving board to daring commands from each other. A scene of fun and play. Teenagers with boyfriends and girlfriends bring them to hang out here. First love and kisses.

Away out on a headland a flock of seagulls are creating a noisy raucous.  It looks as if a farmer is spreading something from his tractor and trailer and is the cause of all the noise. The gulls are interested. Dipping and diving, in a feeding frenzy. Between my viewing spot and the activity, a swimmer raises his arms rhythmically up and over as he cuts diagonally across the water. His neoprene suit glints in the sunlight. A single seagull approaches me from my right side, flying left and turning to encircle the swimming activity. He drops his poop down to the water and flies on out over the bay.

Time to gather up the rug and books and head away. Soon it will be tea-time.

About the contributor

Margaret Kiernan’s interests are writing fiction and poetry. She paints in watercolour and other media. Her love of landscape colours her words. Her background of Social Justice advocacy influences many of her poems and her hope to give voice to the marginalised. Entering competitions is her new gatekeeper.

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