Cliff edge. How to write this one without being predictable? Memories of a real cliff edge came back to me. Let’s see how it goes.

My thanks as always to KL Caley at New2Writing.com for continuing the #writephoto prompt each week, with many reblogs and a round-up post as well. This is today’s photo, and my piece is around 400 words.

Edge of the World

They say it’s the last bit of land before you reach North America. The south-western tip of Ireland. Just take your car along the narrow roads past Bantry Bay, on the road to Kilkenny. Turn off towards Glengariff, and head down the long peninsula to the end of the old world.

I stop to paint at Glengariff Bay, then head out on the long long Beara Peninsula, ogling as the road provides glimpses of sea, cliffs, and a wonderful sandy bay. Tempted, I get out, climb over the small dune, and admire the sea from ground level. There are a surprising number of people there–more than five, from memory.

Carrying on to the end of the world, there is a car park. Visitors, and presumably the six residents, can cross to Dursey Island only by cable car.

Hmm, cable car. Maybe not.

Here the wind is making its presence felt. You’d think that after a couple of thousand miles of Atlantic Ocean the wind would want to rest as it reached land. No. It sweeps up angrily against the barrier and howls over the top. But I could go for a clifftop walk, couldn’t I?

I set out along the track. It’s well away from the edge. At a point that I judge to be the furthest southwest I walk over springy turf, white flowers bobbing on wiry stems, swishing apart as I pass them, reconvening behind me like a crowd letting an emergency helper though. The wind seems stronger. I struggle into it, approaching the cliff edge with caution. I have no idea whether it’s undercut, but there are birds wheeling far below, gannets probably, and maybe fulmar. If I can get closer to the cliff, I can identify them…

A little curved dip in the grass provides some sort of shelter. I kneel, reducing the buffeting on my body, which is taking quite a pounding. Will I lose my balance? Will it actually lift me off my feet?

I lean on my hands. I want to look over the edge. I shimmy forward, lying on my tummy, keeping my profile as low as possible to escape the force driving me back. A gull swoops up and jinks, seeing a person below it.

The blast is so strong I fear I’ll be tipped over.

I back away, on hands and knees. This must be the most dangerous situation I’ve ever put myself in. I fear for my safety if I stand. I fear for my sanity in coming this far.

It’s not until twenty yards back that I finally stand upright again.

If I never feel that raw power of nature again, I won’t mind.

© J M Pett 2021

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Cliff Edge | Flash Fiction #writephoto
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