Hydra stasis

The sea is back to being full of serious boogywoogy. Under winds intent on taking us all some place else, we strive to stay in place. No change. The crashing music of the breezes and currents. The waves’ white topped feathers run in too many directions for rhythm. Indigo and agitation contrasts with the bone white and milk of the sea a few days ago. On one of those days we powerboated across the blue churned waves to small coves for swimming and around empty islands for peering into caves, timid to get too close and risk the rocks. The excitement of it, unceasing adrenalin all day long, left us hung over and swaying. In the evening after our long climb up the many slopes, steps and ragged paths, I had to hold onto the kitchen counter to keep my balance. The lilt and drift was still there in the morning after wild water dreams and exhaustion only slightly less taut.

Hydra is known for its many cats and a programme of neutering keeps the numbers in the port down. But here in Kamini there appears to be no such plan and we have frequent and regular visits from a small family: mother (not much more than a kitten herself), aunty (we reckon) and four tiny elastic kittens. They arrive whenever there’s a whisper of food scents, plaintive voices and tiny little pink mouths opening to show off white teeth like needles, lining their little pink jaws. One, Fledermouse (yes, mouse not maus), has ears larger than his mother’s and a coat of hillside shades, except the hillsides are the greys and drear of a cold climated place rather than the ambers and terracottas of this island. They’re all in similar garb, some stripey like tabbies and some grey and black blends, and all with spotty tummies and striped stockings on their dainty legs. The kittens steal food from each others’ mouths and their mother washes them violently to compensate for rejecting them when they try to feed. Sometimes they play fight, sometimes she brings them a mouse to share. They play writhing twisting games and fall to rest without realising it. Like us.

From atop the final steps we watch the sunsets, always so sudden here. There is no lingering, just a solid martial descent below scar strewn clouds towards shimmering distance. The sea melts into coppers and aubergine stripes soft and dragging. They melt across the sky slowly expanding into night. The sea we still hear now hushes to the land, bringing us all slowly to sleep.

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