Friday January 8th, 2021 Water Bog

The Wave

Our chemicals – reach even the most remote places


Liam O’Flaherty was born on the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, and this place of birth may be the most significant factor in his writing. His writing reflects the wildness  and harshness of life on these isolated, weathered and battered wonderful islands.

Reading Liam O’Flaherty’s short story, The Wave, I am wondering how those seabirds nesting in the “large slits between the slabs” of beautiful grey limestone, will escape the impact of chemicals in our water. To be honest, this lovely story is more like a lyrical poem to me. O’Flaherty always carries you to the landscape of his story, in this case the cliffs of the Aran Islands. The Aran Islands, is a bleak, isolated group of small islands just off the west coast of Ireland. O’Flaherty was raised on Inishmore, the largest of the Arans. But those nesting birds are likely to be exposed to anything that enters the water where their sources of food live. We know that seabirds eggs are good indicators of contamination from chemicals.  Looking back to DDT days and Rachel Carsons’s Silent Spring, she talked about egg shell thinning.  This is a real problem for reproduction of birds. It’s amazing how a beautiful short story written back in the 1920s, can stir up such thoughts.

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