It started with a raindrop and ended in a tangle of mud and unconquerable trees pushed over, their leaves green and dripping, shaken and thrown down. The mud slicked across the mountain face, connected with yards and yards of forest. Even in the caves of Killarney they feel a tremble in the ground, it is the fallen, and it is the sleep of giants.
After the tremble the wind in the Killarney caves brushes softly over faces, hand and leaves. Like a father, gentle with his first babe, afraid to use his strength, her fingers are like the tiny shells that she will later pick up off the sea shore and leave in the back of the car. When she has forgotten them her brothers will crush them when they stomp into the car, and she will learn how sand is made. She will find the destruction just as beautiful as the unbroken beginning. The sand will never come out of the carpet no matter how her mother vacuums and Dad will take her hand and say that’s just how life goes. His fingers are still so big and rough compared to hers.
When they sell the car, the young couple that buys it won’t even notice the stray sand caught in the grey carpet fibres in the back, they’re too busy holding hands in the front. She takes the wheel and steers around the corner while he takes his jumper off from under the seatbelt and drives at a slow 60 kilometres. Watching the road is their favourite time of day, a grey-blue snake overhung by grey-green trees, they never worry about what’s coming further. When they can see 100 meters down the road, it’s enough to make them feel at home. They don’t think about the fire that they’ve heard of from passers-by, little grey haired ladies standing beside an orange selling cart weeping as they think of the ashes, old men with large noses in white singlet tops grouching about choking in the thick smoke, and artists in splotched aprons, painting the echoes of a landslide that no one else could see.
The road tells none of that of course, it is selfish and content to be safe and restful. It doesn’t know where it is leading to, no signposts. You can travel the grey tarmac for years before you notice it start to fray around the edges. Then eventually some trees show up a little ragged round the edges where the wind blows. That is your first warning to stop, turn back or take another route. But you probably haven’t noticed yet, you’ve become complacent with the perfect. The next clue is charcoal, you kick a piece off the road and it leaves a smudge on your shoe. The next piece you will pick up and start to mark the trees softly. There is no rhythm to your strokes at first, till you notice the torn leaves of some of the trees so you start to mark the perfect ones. Soon you’re marking none, and the charcoal falls from your sooted hand. Eventually you see your first fallen tree.
Standing beside its carcass, tears fall and you wonder how long you’ve been alone. You’ve been cast down here by the side of the fallen giant and you have to mourn for a while. This is your first sight of death and the mourning lasts longer here than it will later. But you’ll cry again before this journeys out. This is where the decision needs to happen. There are three paths you could take on this straight road. Listen to the trees whispering if you like, they know the answers, and the grey sky is a fitting background. Your knees are wet with dirt. Your fist leaves a hard imprint on the ground as you look up at the sky kneeling. You know there is really only one choice and after many hours you stand and take one step forward, looking a little grubbier than this morning. The shine’s worn off, but the grime suits you. And in the distance a faint crash unsettles the birds. You think it might be drums.
A bit of a long one, apologies! But following tangents will do that to you… Many thanks to any who got through it all!
Linked to dVerse open link