On Dunkery Beacon

The wind whips the heather heads, turning them from a glorious purple to a barren bleakness in preparation for winter.  The sky scuds above the whaleback of the beacon, diminishing the scale of the landscape by its immensity.  Clouds rush across the blue arc, blotting out the sun and staining the land with splashes of darkness, when the wind rushes the weather onwards in the teeth of the late lost hurricane. This is Welsh weather, grey misted, the land hovering above the sea is still shrouded in the remnants of last night’s storm.  The trees bend to the east, broken branches littering the ground.  The journey becomes hazardous, yet exhilarating.

The land is laid out as a patchwork, a tapestry of sea and sky, the hills and valleys a folded cloth of contours, layer upon later stretching out before me, beside me, behind me.  On this beacon spot, where long ago fires were lit as a warning when strangers threatened the security of its territory, the fortress now stands solid against the gale which ripples its heather blanket, and the lights and shades of late summer draw contours around its hidden history.  A text book is laid out before me, a story book, to be read and enjoyed.  Here a human life shrinks to that of an ant, pursuing its destiny, anxiously energetic, ignorant of the stories which are written here in geological time.

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