From Here To There

From here to there is a road up a hill. It begins in a tunnel of trees where crows live, past a fallen hollow oak, over a bubbling stream, under an echo bridge, through thickets of thorny brambles and past a row of shadowed wild cherry trees. It ends at a crossroads.

The mud gets stickier and colder the further up you climb. The amount of water in the air drenches in and oozes it like oil seeping into boots, trouser legs and socks.

Most days I walk the road it is windy. Head down I pass through the tunnel of trees where the crows flap and caw and occasionally lie dead. Blissful respite from the hammering force is found at the bend of the fallen tree.

Some days only animals seem to exist appearing in the in-betweens of everything. I startle rabbits, and sometimes hares. They stand still at first with ears expertly scanning, nose and whiskers twitching, then with a sudden panic of realisation race off down the road, zig zagging madly. Sometimes deer appear as if stepping out from other worlds. They lope and bound weightlessly through fields, bobbing white tails signalling their rapid flight. I saw a badger once. He was surprised to see me in the last few minutes of daylight. Snuffling about in the ground, his nose was caked in dirt and his bulky weight cracked little sticks and rustled piles of leaves. Our eyes met through the dim, sentience exchanged, then gone.

Rowan trees stand in a line at the crossroads. Ten or twelve I think, some with thin trunks, others thicker. In spring clouds of tiny cream flowers appear on leafy green branches. In summer scarlet berries pierce the blanket blue of sky. In autumn arms reach up with feather leaves that sway with the breeze in a gentle dance. In winter the bare ashen forms are silent figures beside needled firs and granite rocks.

The view from the top of the hill is a panopticon to the River Tay. Upriver to the west is a silver trail heading toward a weak sun painted pastel monochrome of mudflats and marshlands in which birds fly and wade. To the east the river is heavy blue, it buttresses iron structures of bygone oilrigs and resting tankers with its weight. Further out the widening channel mouth eventually disappears itself into a boundless sea. The breeze from the crossroads always seems to veer toward the west, its warmer gentler voice unable to compete with the unforgiving icy sweep of polar easterly winds.

On the opposite bank sits the city. Architecture is its riverfront face. Gabled houses and ribbon roads pattern the hillside behind. Distantly silent during day the span of the place transforms itself at night into a band of twinkling lights sandwiched between two types of immense black.

I stand staring out. Sweat beads trickle down my face. Hot breath condenses into mist. Thoughts seem clearer up here. So much time spent in one place. I see life lived out in fine miniature detail. I wonder what is coming next.

The Rowan trees whisper softly to the passing breeze.Edit

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