Inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt
I followed the path, to the West, and toward the expanse of water visible on the horizon. The distance was deceptive, the path rose slowly, and, after a few hours walk, it became evident that I would not get to the shore much before sunset. The vegetation was sparse, and did not offer much shelter for the night. I tried to imagine what predators might roam those hills.
After another hour walking through coarse grass and bushes, I made it to the top of a small promontory, high above the sea. The sun was sinking fast on the horizon. It is then that I saw the bird: a wide-spanned eagle, I thought, almost immobile in the golden sunlight, expertly using the air currents to glide, observing, perhaps listening.
Although I was not alone, as the apparition of the eagle showed, I felt a deep loneliness: where was the rest of mankind? Was I still the person who had boarded that aircraft, not that long ago, together with her holiday mates? How long could I keep walking in this wilderness, without apparent hunger?
The view from the promontory was breathtaking, the colours almost surreal: I knew something was very different, in this world, from where I came from. Or was it me who had changed, in ways I could not begin to understand…
For us this is sacred land, soil enriched by the blood of our ancestors, in their endless fight against invaders.
As children we were told the stories, the lives of those heroes, alive today in the trees and our souls, and we were taught how to fight too.
So, when they came, huge, fat and white, full of water, we had no difficulty in recognising them: the thieves, the rapists, without honour or real courage, armoured and surrounded by their devilish machines.
The sun was high, the air hot, we could see them sweating under their armour, as their predecessors always did.
The eagle told us, their numbers, where they were, where their ammunition dump was; then the Son of the Eagle led us, it took only one small bomb to erase the thieves off the surface of our world.
I leave the village early, silent still, only older people attending mass at this hour. The sound of bells resonates like crystal up and down the narrow valley. I can hear the stream rushing all the way down to the river, far away: icy water polishing ancient rocks. Boots hit the shiny pebbles along the road, soon the climb. I walk past a few farms, beautiful wooden buildings that tell the story of the happy valley…
Now is the top of the valley, the stream is now narrow white water, past the wood-mill and up the narrow track towards the pass. The sky is blue with little white clouds… Such silence, as I leave the sound of the water behind me, and start the difficult climb, in the scree, between the two cliffs. It will take me one hour, and when I get to the pass the sun will already be high.
Suddenly I hear the cry of the eagle, hunting: the King of these mountains. The backpack is light carrying just a few clothes and lunch – sober. There is no one around, I will meet climbers later, on the plateau, people who have climbed the vertical way, the way I will come down, in three or four hours.
When I reach the pass, I look back, overwhelmed by the majesty of the mountain. This land is my inspiration, as writer and as lover. The place where I want my ashes to be thrown to the high winds, when I come to you Lord, in your kingdom.