Colin Watts; The Weight of Dunlins

A delightful story from Colin Watts, who was the first person to really encourage me to write through his Creative Writing class. He told me to take writing seriously, like a job…and now I am. Thanks, Colin!

Tales From The Forest

The Weight of Dunlins                                                      

I was on North Uist, walking the machair, that thin strip of fertile land between beach and peat bog that graces a few of our remote north-western shores. I didn’t really know why I was there. Just to get away, I suppose, though I wasn’t sure what I was getting away from.

On the ferry over, a local man had told me how the sea ground down shells over centuries to form the beach. How westerly winds spread sand over the peat. How calcium in the sand reacted with acid in the bog to form the machair: Gaelic for “the fertile land behind the dunes”. ‘Treat it gently,’ he’d said, ‘it’s a precious gift.’

It was one of those days…

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