I sat and watched a group of children walk up these steps that led to the summit of a mountain. A girl at the tail end stopped and stared at the steps. A man in black was perched, like a raven wearing shades, on a rock a little further up. He tried to tempt the girl up the steps, to ascend and reach the peak, the pinnacle of her life. But she just stood and waited and watched as people came down the steps. She looked closely at them and a look of trepidation came over her face. The people coming down were not the friends she knew but were old people.
The man in black tempted her again saying,
‘You can see the whole world from up there, the whole of life, everything you could wish for, it’s just up there.’
She kept standing and watched as more old people came down, now she was puzzled and became confused, her friends had not come back down.
‘Go and see the world.’ The man-raven said.
The girl just stood and put her hands together and thought, then said back,
‘I don’t want to see the whole world or my whole life now because when I come back down I’ll be old too.’
I walked up there today, to the site of the great Battle of Arbour. I looked across the land and saw the stumps all overgrown like tombstones. They’d sent them there when young, to grow, acclimatise and fill the land with life and habitat.
Then one day the invaders came in trucks, shouting and buzzing the machinery of war. The defenders stood their ground all dressed in green and were cut down in swathes, cut down in their prime, stripped of their green and piled high up to the sky.
Here now at the end of today, at the setting of the sun, I look across the cold snow covered land and remember them. I shivered and remembered them again and rushed home to light the wood burner.
The wind whipped up great dark clouds, blowing them over the hills. They spread and stretch over the low tide, sky reflecting beach. Rain drops fell heavy, sparse, with splat on my face and I rushed running across the shore. I looked back to see following footprints in that storm brew sky, then pushed on and came across a painter sat on a box.
He worked paint, slash and stoke, curling oil hairs over the scene. He wore a hat on his head and a wet proof boiler suit with wellies on his feet. I knew the beach and the look of the sky and recognised the colour of storm.
‘There’s bad weather coming in.’ I told him, ‘it’s going to lash it down.’
‘I know.’ He said. Then looked at me and recognise surprise, turned back and began painting again, having to catch now and then the easel and canvas, acting like sail. The wind got stronger and he raised his head into it, full face, feeling the cold wet fresh of the rain.
Then he held that look, filled the brush with oil and painted, transfering what he felt.
Then said. ‘Without the feeling, you just can’t, can’t find the heart of a thing.’
I captured, then left him there.
When it’s all going wrong and you’re losing focus just step back and look at life from a different angle.
He appeared on the road searching for stars but was stopped by the weight of his baggage. He took down the bag and opened the zip, the ground started to rumble. A cold wind blew and swirled up the mist as he pulled out the head of a man. He looked through the eyes of that head and there he saw himself but he was someone else.
A great cracking, splitting sound came from the re-emerging minds. The memories flowed and poured out revealing the world within………….
Then that road, that long, long road, that brought us here, to now.
The mist was gone and the sharp edged sound ‘krrark, krrark’ of ravens circled down and across from where they ate the dead man holding his head. The baggage had disappeared.
Now I stand here with a lens for an eye and took this image from time, a time when the road broke. It shattered the world.
Now I can dream of stars and floating in space, that dream before birth.