Thursday photo prompt
“We have been here before today, haven’t we?” The question was directed to me, yet I wondered who the “we” included. I guessed perhaps not me, or not just me. For I never was here, on my own or alone with her, but it might have been in a group, in the days “we” were travelling as a bunch of “tree-huggers”, as my son put it once.
Indeed I love trees, and cannot conceive life without them nearby. Trees are sensitive beings, they have their language, their signs, they love, suffer, and die, or rather they are killed. Like us.
I could not recall having been here with the lady, but it did not seem to bother her anyway. We talked about the strange way those trees seem to want to move higher, above the ground, to reach up, maybe for something we could not see. Their roots appear to be gliding, a little off the soil, still keeping contact, as if preparing to float. I had a vision of this part of the forest, resting on clouds, slowly moving, pushed by the wind…
“That would be something to see!” My companion must have had similar thoughts. Tolkien had written about slow moving trees. I looked again at the intricate pattern of roots, then at the magnificent crown of the trees.
We looked at each other, there was still time to explore deeper into those woods. I knew we were close to where fairies, and maybe even ancient dwarves, lived.
Thursday photo prompt
Often we walked in those woods, you and me, when the bluebells shone, and the sky reminded us that Easter was close by. Today, the air is clear, the ground soft to our feet, as it was then.
“What is the difference?” we could ask. But we don’t. We both know. Our bodies have no shadows, we meet no-one, or rather, no-one meets us. We are invisible, though we still love these woods, the valley below, the old Roman villa nearby, the memories of our lives.
We hear voices too, far, far away: are they people we once knew? Or are they the dreams of ancient ghosts, like us?
We stop at the top of the small hill, and look down at the road meandering away from us. The bikes lie on the short grass, next to tall poles that remind us that, here, the snow can erase everything, and level the landscape, but we are too early for it. The air is cold, the pale rays of the winter sun lit the distant crags. Soon the night will fall. We set the tent not far from here, and lit a fire. Tomorrow is another day.
The world is born anew. The air is clean, the path is untrodden. The sky is empty. There is no sound, no cloud. There is nothing. Is this the end?
Voices resonate here, voices from the present, but also voices from the past, maybe from a long gone past. Those who erected these pillars knew how to build, to last. Their footsteps, perhaps even the sound of their tools, chiselling the stone, can still be heard.
A little further, the sun shines in the courtyard. Did they hold councils here, did the walls hear judgements, or laughter, or even the sound of water rising? Where did they go? Did they leave their work behind, did they travel far, did they leave our world? Were they time-travellers?
The old mill stands still, in the frozen landscape; there, they worked, had fun, sometime loved. Now, there is only emptiness, silent stones, pale ghosts recounting long forgotten stories. All round lived once a multitude, poor but hopeful. Children were born, iron was cast, dreams were woven. Why they all left, what was their fate, did they lose faith? We dare not ask the ravens, and shall never know.
Weekly Writing Challenge #150
We lie on the meadow, a mid-summer dream,
High above the woods, a large bird soars to the deep blue sky:
we have seen the mark, the proof that she was there,
among us, our dearest ghost…
Photo: Medway valley, ©2014 Honoré Dupuis
The shallow, clear water runs lazily between the rocks,
and the little islands of green life.
Oft we crossed the old bridge,
On our many walks, through this blessed land,
Observing, and being observed,
by creatures far more ancient, and wiser, than us.
Oft, we looked at our reflections in the mirror below.
Only, now, we only see the light of the sky,
for our images have been erased.
We love the long walks, along the shore, the closeness of the sea, the flying birds, the wet land and the immense skies. I watch your steps, the wind blowing your hair, I see you as one with the earth, the waves, the clouds.
I know we will be tired at the end of the day, and yet, we stop and watch: the reeds spelling their ancient story, the cries of seagulls, the bright colours of sand poppies.
For we know: once, long ago, we came from the sea, and our footprints in the wet sand just remind us of that long love story.
For centuries the great abbaye had stood, in its majesty and glory, in the peaceful landscape. It was then a centre of faith and science, where wise men worked, and kept the flame of civilisation burning. They were frugal, up in the frosty mornings before dawn, ploughing the fields and teaching the children; their chants filled the vales and forests, rising to the sky.
Then the heretics had come, plundering, burning, torturing the faithful. A dark veil had fallen on the earth, the Dark Lord’s reign had begun.
But today, in the faint light of dawn, I can hear the monks’s voices, the soft footsteps of their sandals. I sense their presence, their curiosity, even, about this strange creature, this human being who survived the fall. Their anthem is but a light breeze through the icy air.
The arch stands, witness to a millennium of folly. And there, on the cold stones, I kneel, praying to the true God, in submission and piety, the last, shivering survivor of the war, that ended the evil empire.
Dedicated to the builders of the great abbayes of Yorkshire, and their defenders.