It was a day towards the end of February, mid-afternoon, and Miriam Black-Fore was sat at her chair in the garden. There was a low round table beside her on which there was a small glass of whiskey and a jar of water. She looked out over the bay and every so often she took the glass to her lips and then replenished it with the water.
She was thinking on the bad dog days of the month and how they had dragged again. Each year she was caught by surprise with the bleakness of it all, the grey unyielding wet of the hills, all colour washed out in the half light and the days when nothing could be done but to wait for the month to pass and for Spring to come.
This was the first day for three months that she had been able sit out. The wind had been stayed, the rain held back and the sky was a steel blue. The sun was low over the hills of the Mizen and it fell full on her face so she had to look down at the sea. She could feel that there was a warmth in it and her skin tightened in its light.
The water was flat across the bay and she could see two boats out beyond Owen Island. They were coming back now the – the first time they had been out since the end of December.
She took another drink and looked up at the sun. She could almost see the movement in it. She would wait until it started to edge down beyond the top of the hills before finishing her drink and going back inside.