Words ©2017 Barbara Renel                              Images ©2017 Paul Taylor

Landmarks

Leftwise round the circle. Maybe this was an enclosure, for the cattle perhaps? Step on pale grey limestone, step, step on dark grey slate, step on green, almost black volcanic rock. See the feldspar crystals catching in the sunlight. Step, connect with stories that reach back to the beginning of the universe.

 

She jumps off the last stone and heads for the summit. Wind and skylarks accompany her. She notices rabbit warrens, badger setts, a curlew nest, a tiny hole – for a shrew? She hears a meadow pippet. Her footsteps keep time with the pulse of the earth. She steps over molehills, squelches through marsh, clambers over ancient rocks. She sings her song.

 

She stands at the summit and looks out. A ridged landscape of lava flows and hollows, erratic rocks, rectangular cuts – peat digging, a glimpse of human activity. A landscape leaving the marks of its journey through time – the weight of sea water, continental shift, volcanic eruptions, an ice age, ice melting, glaciers flowing – her own journey a mere light tread on the surface of this landscape.

 

A buzzard overhead. She shields her eyes from the glare of the sun and tracks the bird’s flight.  It soars high on an updraft. Circling. Circling. Spiraling further and further away until it is lost in the shadow of the far-off fells. But she keeps looking. And she sees herself. She’s there, on that distant fell. And she’s digging. Digging with her hands.