INTO THE MIST

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An Otherworldly Trek Through Mist-Wreathed Mountains

Submitted: November 05, 2007

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Submitted: November 05, 2007

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For the whole of an endless gray morning the rain has been whispering into the Glen. My face is slick with drizzle and the crowded waterdrops irrigate my throat like a river.

I squint up at the horizon. The desolate hills are hatted and cloaked with mist. The immensity presses in from all sides.
 I seem to feel them stare down at me.

Maybe this chartless walk will thicken the meagre thread of my latest life. I have grown weary of order, of life, of one thing following another.
 

Soon enough, a ghostly white world descends, blocking everything. Solid objects swirl into a milky sea of nothingness. Icy fingers slither under my clothes and touch my skin.

I walk onward, putting one foot in front of another, the solid ground pushing back and nothing but my breath troubles the air for miles around.

The muddy path is lined with weeping black walls and gurgling streams twist down from the hills like living threads.

I feel the eternal life of mountain and river and ancient stone. With each step I go back, until I cross the ancestral paths of giants, of long forgotten kingdoms, of people long departed.

The squelching path turns to water so I jump the stiff hummocks like a frog hopping lilies in a pond. Soon the path leads me across a primitive bridge that creaks high above the rush of a blue stream.
 
The water is everywhere: it plinks into eternal pools, oozes through the earth and reflects upside-down mountains in the face of crystal pools.

Just ahead, the hills creep along, walking slowly, re-mapping the earth and shifting its coordinates. The mist is playing tricks on me, giving motion to things which are by their very nature still and firm.

I scan the drunken horizon for coordinates. The first hill is right in front, the others are lost in the mist. The hill draws me like a magnet, itching to feel my feet.

A dull ray of light half-pierces the blanket of mist. Slowly, things regain their former shape. The hills peep out, the horizon regains its jagged line, the sun comes and goes like a broken bulb.

Solid objects feel like hard land after weeks on the tilting sea. Yet I hunger for that nothingness. I want to live alone and unknown, retreat from everything, lose my clarity and reason, things so prized yet things so useless.

I look back, along my path. Dark cloudprints creep across the undulating hills 
— a dragon, a dog, a witch — shifting and changing like a living soul.

High above, the lonely speck of a bird; black-faced sheep move like flames on a wick; the russet heather spreads across the hills, stretching into infinity, like some conjurer enchanted the landscape.

I ascend a steep ridge strewn with gray rockfall, labouring over the uneven ground. The splintered jags of Coire a Bhasteir cut the sky like a saw. Perfect weather for the summit.

I build my pace as I ascend. My lungs sear as I forge toward the heavens. I strip to the waist to feel the velvet air against my skin. I want to join the white fleece of the clouds, part the curtains of the twinkling vault.

If only I could inhale everything that graced my eyes this blessed day. One deep breath to draw it in 
 — the air, fizzing with life, the craggy peaks, the soughing wind, the blue lochs. All would perish inside the prison of me.

When I reach the summit I stand on a flat rock. The mountains touch the heavens. The skies have cleared and countless shafts of sunlight fill the air. How I wish I could abandon the world and lose myself.


© Copyright 2017 brinsley. All rights reserved.

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