To Be a Working Man

There was an organic, welling silence there, standing in the sea. A quiet seemingly born from the piercing cold itself, to stretch and drift in the air and float outwards like ripples from a rock thrown into the depths. He broke the earthly silence, shaking the metal bag with a dull, rough rattle before tying the bag back to the trestle, still submerged. The Atlantic  waters wrapped around his ankles, his calves, his knees, and pulled gently around him. A slight stream trickled down to his soon-blue toes from a new and unknown tear in his waders. Hairs stood on end underneath the green neoprene material and shivers ran down his spine.
The man yearns for routine but the waters ensure that no two days are the same. The wind may mercilessly throw up sprays of saltwater or lull the sea to lap against the sandy coast. The tide may rise and fall, but the man is more determined than the sea is restless. If he can sort the shellfish in the grey steel shed with the wind whistling between the joints of its frame, he will.
The sea spat with every flutter of the foam, stinging his weathered face and reminding him of his turf-warmed sitting room only meters away. His mother, baking fresh, steaming pies and the two collie dogs sitting in the porch, awaited his arrival home. Their downy ears perked as they listened for the shallow crunching of his thick boots against the gravel lane.
The low sky crawled with fat grey clouds and a fresh new breath of wintry cool flowed down the boggy terrain of the Nephin mountains. Still, he stayed. The sun daring to kiss
the horizon, wavered and hesitated, casting long shadows and an orange glow across the glassy restless water. He shook each bag until he came to the last, tugging wrack seaweed from between the strips of rubber which held the bag to the raised trestle. He inspected the stony oysters, their coarse shells, their green and purple hues, and rattled it one last time. He hesitates before lowering the bag again, down into the waters that rush between the Americas and Achill Island.
Three years ago, he lay down the baby seed and today, he smiles as he picks a lost oyster from the sand. It fills the palm of his hand with its textured shell that ripples and rings like tree-bark on oak atop a grassy hill. He shucks the oyster. The satiny, briny, black-rimmed meat exposed.
The man throws the empty shell back into the deep.
The steam rises and dogs howl. Heavy boots crunch in the gravel lane.