Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Zed Bed Sled

Image Above: Bea And The Zed Bed Sled
Location: Isle Of Erraid
The Zed Bed Sled
Sunday 19th December

I chased Isaac out of the tool shed before dropping the mask’s visor and drawing an arc of molten light over the final joint in the steel. Isaac waited in the snow displaying his impatience with well timed questions as children do marooned on the back seat of the longest journey. Eventually I slid the bent steels out of the shed and let the welds hiss in snow. We found a seat sized piece of plywood amongst the remnants of the zed bed I had abandoned earlier on the pier. A little over an hour ago it had been silently rusting in the corner of the boat shed, with a little effort and a cutting disc its days of torturing spare room guests were finally over.

The rope came from the ‘rope trailer’; named cunningly because it holds the island’s collection of old rope in what could only be described as the world’s biggest knot, rather than pull at threads in search of an end I wisely took a knife. Celia fetched oil and a rag from the garden shed, old vegetable oil used to put a sheen on spades and a slickness on steel runners. We gathered on the street, kids, neighbours and trudged through walled in whiteness of grass gardens pausing at the gate to look out over the bay. The moon had risen out of Ben More and hung over the silence of the snow rimmed bay in ownership of the late afternoon like a benevolent soul.

I had forgotten about the simple pleasure of sliding down a hill and felt ashamed that somehow I had not devoted enough of my life to this pursuit. It was rumoured that a local shopkeeper who had displayed a sledge for the last six snowless winters had exaggerated its annual inflationary rise as the first few inches had begun to settle, never mind that he was dealing with a sacred object. All objects travel in space and time but few instantly transport what it is to be a child as seamlessly as a sledge . It is not the past that rushes up to meet me but a freedom in the moment and the pure joy of it . But I am not the first of my family to build time machines. My great uncle went to night school metal work classes and furnished my childhood winters’ with a sledge that seemed to run equally on air as snow. And then my father and his metal imagings, sledges crafted from junk that could hold a street full of kids and send them hurtling down the rolly polly field.

Once again It was my turn at the top of the hill and lifting my feet I let the world rush by. Later I wondered if the zed bed had ever imagined such an afterlife.

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