thought and tells Ingrid to go out with him to look at the
sea, so that she will learn not to fear it, now while it was at
its most tempestuous, at its most instructive.
He doesn’t know why this idea comes to him.
She doesn’t, either. But he puts on her coat, with Martin
shaking his head, and ties a rope around her waist. They go
out beneath the foaming skies dragging themselves
southwards, wading against the stream in a torrent of wind
and water, struggling over three stone walls and crouching
down in the lee to catch their breath, clambering over
another, the father laughing at each obstacle while Ingrid
has to hold both hands in front of her face so as to breathe,
up to the low hill behind the Russian tree trunk which
constitutes the last bastion against the roar that comes to
meet them – raging walls of water towering up in the black
night and crashing down towards them, smashing against
rock and beach and cliffs, sand and shell and ice lashing at
them, for this is something nobody can behold, or
comprehend, or remember, the Lord’s trumpets of doom,
all you can do is immediately forget it.
‘No need to be afraid,’ Father screams in her ear.
But she doesn’t hear. Neither of them hears. He screams
she has to feel with her body that the island is not budging,
even though it is trembling and both the heavens and the
sea are in tumult, an island can withstand everything,